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Our Noticias, 5/20/20: Limited baseball activities begin; Cooper’s potential; COVID-19 aftermath

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A Marlins player...playing baseball?! Despite numerous complications, MLB is determined to move forward with 2020 season preparations.

Original footage courtesy of WPLG Local 10

Individual workouts begin at Marlins complex

Beautiful sight—albeit a fuzzy one—at Marlins camp on Tuesday. As had been reported the day before, 40-man roster players may now use the facilities in Jupiter for individual workouts like batting practice and throwing off a mound. Media wasn’t technically permitted, but WPLG Local 10 filmed right-hander Jordan Holloway from the adjacent property. Complying with public health recommendations, everybody wore facial coverings (except for Holloway when he was in the middle of his throwing session).

MLB insider Jon Heyman reports that there were “more than a few mystery players” there in addition to Holloway.

Coop’s got more pop than you realize

Pitcher List

As a Marlin, first baseman/outfielder Garrett Cooper owns a .275/.342/.430 slash line with 15 HR, 107 wRC+ and 1.3 fWAR in 459 PA. Based on that alone, you’d think he is expendable for a club stocked with elite prospects who play the same positions.

But Pitcher List’s Matt Wallach demonstrates that the 29-year-old still has the potential to emerge as a legitimate impact bat.

Last season, before Marlins Park reduced its outfield dimensions, Cooper had a huge discrepancy between his home and road power-hitting. His fly ball distance was near the very top of league leaderboards, but he fell victim to some bad luck and restricted his own production by frequently keeping the ball on the ground.

Cooper would be a big beneficiary of Major League Baseball adopting the universal designated hitter for 2020, ensuring that he gets semi-regular playing time.

“Less a baseball season than a military-style operation”

There is extensive new reporting from ESPN expressing concerns from players, independent health experts and numerous other parties about beginning the MLB season this summer. The league is attempting to walk a razor-thin line between keeping everybody COVID-19-free without restricting all personal freedoms and straining relationships that the players’ have with their loved ones.

It is emphasized that although most game participants would be minimally affected by the virus, there are some with pre-existing health conditions, plus non-players whose age puts them at increased risk.

ESPN explains how baseball’s cozy relationship with U.S. politicians is largely to thank for even making this a possibility as the country overall continues to struggle with testing shortages.

Walk-off links

  • Sixto Sánchez game-used jersey giveaway! The official Twitter account for the High-A Jupiter Hammerheads is on the verge of reaching 10,000 followers. Enter ASAP for your chance to win Sixto’s jersey from the only start he’s ever made at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium.
  • Is Ichiro Suzuki really the best bench player in Marlins history? Joe Frisaro of MLB.com thinks so.
  • FOX Sports Florida checks in with catcher/chef Francisco Cervelli.
  • You’ve heard about the dozens of minor league teams who are at risk of losing their affiliations. For Sports Illustrated, Robert Sanchez finds that even the “safe” ones have been decimated by COVID-19 and worry about how they will recover financially.
  • Tim Healey, formerly of the Sun Sentinel, remembers the “crazy” experience of covering the first Marlins-Mets game after the tragic passing of José Fernández.
  • First baseman Derrek Lee had six productive seasons with the Fish—.264/.353/.469, 129 HR, 116 wRC+, 10.6 fWAR—and helped them to the 2003 World Series title. Get signed up for the Home Run Rewards program to take part in Lee’s Q&A this Thursday at 12:30 p.m. ET.