Miami, it’s been a while since I’ve written a prediction piece, but hearing the rumors of a possible 29-man MLB active roster size, I had to make my predictions.
When I began making this list, I first had to establish why the league is considering the expansion. An abbreviated 2020 season would include a lot of scheduled doubleheaders to play as many games as possible. Also, once health officials clear MLB teams to begin ramping up for the new Opening Day, they may rush through the preseason prep, preventing starting pitchers from getting their arms fully stretched out.
I think they will most likely carry six starters (instead of the usual five). To protect the health of traditional everyday players, it’s important to have trustworthy utility men to step into larger roles and allow everybody to get adequate rest.
This Marlins team hopes to be competitive this season as ownership has pushed that agenda, and I believe they will be. They may not contend for a playoff spot, but opponents will not be able to count on them as automatic wins anymore. This is the start of a new a decade and a new Marlins team that the city and fanbase can get behind.
With that being said, let’s dive on in!
I will start it off with my 26 locks for the roster...
Isan Diaz—A lot of concern for Diaz and I am not for certain why. He cracks the Opening Day roster and if he struggled through the first quarter, then I could see him being sent down.
Jon Berti—You need a utility guy like Berti if you want to give the infield some rest. He is a better Sean Rodriguez who I see as his backup this season.
Lewis Brinson—If he fails, he fails, but you have to let him try.
Harold Ramirez—He mashes baseballs. Harold Ramirez deserves to be on the Opening Day roster.
"Right on top of the roof!!"— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) February 22, 2020
Homerin' Harold pic.twitter.com/gb4ozPGIIV
José Ureña—I started 2020 not believing in him. I sit here on March 28 rooting for the best and I think he will perform well for Miami.
Marlins P Jose Ureña was quietly one of the biggest success stories of the spring. A completely revamped approach, windup and slider. Less predictable. They were itching to see more.— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) March 18, 2020
Jordan Yamamoto—Wins the fifth starter spot. He performed well this spring and I believe he fixed his mechanics this offseason that made him struggle in the second half.
Elieser Hernandez—It throws a wrinkle in my projections if the Marlins decide to give him a rotation spot.
Stephen Tarpley—The newly acquired lefty performed well in Spring Training. I think he starts the year, but I am not convinced he doesn’t spend some time at Triple-A.
Brad Boxberger—He performed well enough in the Spring to earn the chance. He provides the Marlins zero value at Triple-A so get him in the big league and work up his value for trade.
Magneuris Sierra—As with Conley, I wish Sierra the best of luck, but I don’t believe anyone is betting on him to remain a Marlin for the full 2020 season. I think he has a career in baseball I just don’t think the Marlins have been able to figure him out and help his career. A change of scenery can be beneficial for the player sometimes.
Chad Wallach—Everyone is rooting for Chad Wallach, but I highly doubt the Marlins want to carry three catchers going into Opening Day. The 28-year-old had 10 RBI in 12 games this Spring Training and showed flashes.
But with Alfaro and Cervelli ahead of him. I believe he’ll be waiting for an injury to get his call to The Show.
Adam Conley—Not all roads lead to a happy story. I will never wish Adam Conley ill-will, but I just don’t know if the Marlins are in his future. He could crack the roster, but it is highly unlikely. I think he is waived assuming that the delayed season allows Brigham to heal from his biceps injury.
Aaron Northcraft—On January 10, long before Spring Training began, I said three relievers have a chance at surpassing the usual suspects to crack the Opening Day roster: Alex Vesia, Aaron Northcraft, and Drew Steckenrider. Of those three, unfortunately, I think Northcraft is on the outside looking in. He will most definitely be the first man called up to support the pen if injuries occur and I think he could be there to stay the remainder of the year. The lack of 40-man roster space is the biggest obstacle here. If everything falls in place, I think he has the potential to make the team.
The 27th/28th/29th men predictions
When the roster expands, I feel like these players are the best ones to add for the performance of the 2020 Marlins:
Robert Dugger—I believe his future is in the middle relief role similar to the role Sterling Sharp will be serving in this year. I do however think his present role is going to be a starter and the team will have him as the “6th man” in the rotation to support doubleheaders. He performed excellent this Spring Training and I really enjoyed watching all of his appearances.
Monte Harrison—I mean what can I say he hit .364/.481/.500 in 15 games with six stolen bases. The guy is talented and honestly deserves an Opening Day spot, but I think the current structure of the 26 man roster makes it difficult. I think this is an a no doubt selection if the roster expands. He is waiting for the potential collapse of Lewis Brinson or the move to CF if something happens to Jonathan Villar. He is a stud and I think all Marlins fans should be excited to see him. Along with Nick Neidert, Harrison was optioned on Saturday to Triple-A Wichita, but the Marlins have plenty of time to reverse course on that before the season ultimately arrives.
Alex Vesia—His current 40-inning scoreless streak across several levels of competition shows that Vesia has nothing left to prove in the minors. I think he is going to win the spot if he is unable to crack the 26-man roster. He is a great pitcher with a good mix of pitches that he continues to work on. I think Mattingly already likes him and it’s hard not to like the young lefty with his passion and abilities. The only concern I have here is they put Robert Dugger as a middle relief pitcher and bring up Neidert, which I could see as a potential move.
The obstacles of service time (which is currently undecided on how that will work this year) and the maneuverability of the 26/40 man roster has made this excerise very difficult. I do believe though the fact that this exercise was difficult should give you high hopes of the current roster of the Miami Marlins.