Rule 5 ripple effects
It’s been 3 1⁄2 months since the Marlins acquired right-handers Paul Campbell (from the Rays) and Zach Pop (from the Diamondbacks by way of the Orioles) and I still don’t know what to make of them. Such is usually the case with Rule 5 draft selections, players whose original teams were not confident enough in their major league readiness to protect them on their 40-man rosters. But there are extra layers of uncertainty in the process this year following a canceled 2020 minor league season and without the benefit of a full-length spring training schedule.
Campbell has allowed three walks and two solo home runs in his five innings of exhibition game action but nothing else. He mainly worked as a starting pitcher in the Tampa Bay organization during 2018 and 2019. Pop possesses the kind of premium pure stuff that generates excitement despite a reliever-only profile. He has tossed four scoreless spring innings thanks to a fastball which combines mid-90s velocity and sharp vertical and horizontal movement.
The Marlins have a good problem on their hands because—knock on wood—all of their experienced major leaguers are injury-free entering the final Grapefruit League off day. While it appears probable that Campbell and especially Pop will remain with the Fish for Opening Day, their presences would force the club to either option more experienced players to the minors, place somebody on the IL with a “phantom injury” or explore trades.
Projecting the precise 26-man active roster under these circumstances is a thankless exercise, but Ethan Budowsky and I will attempt it anyway this coming Monday.
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- In the aftermath of last week’s mass shooting in Atlanta, Marlins CEO Derek Jeter released a statement condemning anti-Asian hate incidents in the U.S.
- This will be the final week of our 2021 Marlins Season Preview series. Keep that link bookmarked as the Fish Stripes staff continues to publish player profiles.
- A reminder that SimBull, The Stock Market of Sports, has recently partnered with the Fish Stripes podcast! Use promo code fishstripes to receive a $10 bonus when making your first deposit.
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- Fish Bytes (from the Miami Herald) puts the focus on Sandy Alcantara, Adam Duvall and more.
- Check out Duvall’s new custom cleats.
- MLB.com makes the cases for Pablo López and Sixto Sánchez as sleeper NL Cy Young candidates. Christina De Nicola has the breakdown of López’s 83-pitch outing against the Astros on the Jupiter backfields.
- Former Marlins prospect and presumptive Diamondbacks ace Zac Gallen (right forearm stress fracture) will begin the regular season on the injured list, a setback caused by him swinging a bat. Don Mattingly reiterated on Tuesday why he’s disappointed to see MLB abandon the universal DH.
- The day has come for the Phillies to add Old Friend Brandon Kintzler to their 40-man roster, otherwise Kintzler can opt out of his minor league contract. The veteran reliever has been busy this spring, appearing in nine games and allowing four runs—but only one earned run—in his 8 2⁄3 innings of work.
- Low-A Jupiter players must adjust to the automated ball-strike system in 2021. Baseball America has the specifics on how the strike zone is calibrated for batters of all shapes and sizes.
- Sports Illustrated goes deep on Kim Ng’s pre-Marlins career and the experiences that prepared her to lead a team’s front office.