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Our Noticias, 9/14/20: Marlins peaking at perfect time; player usage hot takes

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With an influx of highly regarded prospects, the Marlins are rounding into a complete team.

Photo by @dsosaphotography/Instagram

Nine notables for week of Sept. 14

Every Monday morning, I’ll be leading off these Our Noticias pieces with a roundup of Marlins players who—for better or worse—are top of mind:

Fish Stripes original GIF
  • Sixto Sánchez—Sánchez makes this list every week. After an exciting major league debut, he has stacked one great outing on top of another on top of another on top of another. It’s becoming hard to deny that he’s already the ace of the Marlins starting rotation. The rookie ranks top 10 among all MLB pitchers in walk rate and ground ball rate (min. 20 IP).
  • Braxton Garrett—Thrilling as it was to see the former first-round draft pick come up on Sunday, I was concerned about his ability to have success the second time through the Phillies lineup. Don Mattingly had him on a longer leash, though, and it paid off. Garrett only allowed three “hard hit” balls—95-plus mph exit velocity—en route to earning the win. We will almost certainly be seeing him again over these final couple weeks of the season.
  • Brian Anderson—His home run rate hasn’t budged from 2019, he’s striking out a lot and has been charged with the most errors in the National League. But looking at the complete picture, Anderson is better than ever. There are a lot of creative ways that the Marlins can improve this winter to construct a championship-caliber roster. Changing Andy’s role in any way shouldn’t be under consideration.
  • Yimi García—I’d make the case that García is currently the most trustworthy reliever in the NL East. He spent nearly half of this shortened season on the injured list and has still completely validated his contract.
  • Jesús Aguilar—Quietly posting the highest on-base percentage of his career in addition to bringing those all-important “intangibles” to the Marlins clubhouse.
  • Miguel Rojas and Corey Dickerson—I’m lumping these two together because I don’t understand who they aren’t switching places in the batting order? Rojas has been extraordinarily consistent at reaching base and trustworthy in high-leverage situations; Dickerson, not so much. The captain should be getting as many plate appearances as possible.
  • Isan Díaz—The former Marlins Minor League Player of the Year will have at least one more week of partial playing time before Jon Berti is eligible to return from the injured list. He hasn’t shown enough so far, in my opinion, to merit an active roster spot over a healthy Berti.
  • Pablo López—An umpiring gaffe screwed over López in his previous start, but that doesn’t fully excuse how shaky his performance was both before and after it happened. Big opportunity for him to get back on track Monday and restore everybody’s faith in him as a legitimately great major league starter.

MPCS finale preview

Probable starters: RHP Vince Velasquez (5.85 ERA, 4.85 FIP in 20.0 IP) vs. RHP Pablo López (4.50 ERA, 3.15 FIP in 40.0 IP)

Previous games: The Marlins have defeated the Phillies in four of the first six games, though they have been outscored, 34-28.

Injury concerns: J.T. Realmuto (hip discomfort) and Rhys Hoskins (forearm soreness) are both getting MRIs on Monday. Even if both of those come back clean, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll be available for the full game. After catching seven straight days, Jorge Alfaro should be getting at least a partial day off, too. Every Marlins reliever on the active roster has adequate rest.

Walk-off links

  • Current 2020 Marlins playoff odds according to FanGraphs: 70.5%.
  • Former Winter Olympian Eddy Alvarez is currently in DFA limbo. I predict that he’ll go unclaimed, at which point the Marlins can outright him to the alternate training site.
  • Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald explains how Lewis Brinson has turned the corner after years of struggles at the plate.
  • Congrats to Peter Pratt of the @MiamiMarlins_UK Twitter account on his Fish Picks victory! As usual, point totals have been reset for the new week, and I hope to see all of you playing along (it’s free and you can win real prizes).
  • Left-hander Caleb Smith went three innings for the Diamondbacks in his return from the COVID IL (and his first appearance since the trade, obviously).
  • Tune in Tuesday afternoon for the final Marlins BP Live show of the season, hosted by Mike Biana.
  • Photos below captured by Danis Sosa during Saturday’s Phillies/Marlins game.