The first Spring Training game of the season is always an interesting one. You don’t usually see the starters out there, substitutions are made quickly, and you begin to see what some of the youngsters have in store.
Miami sent Braxton Garrett out to the mound in Port St. Lucie on Saturday to face off against Mets right-hander José Butto. The Marlins lineup featured the young talents of Bryan De La Cruz, Jesús Sánchez, Peyton Burdick, Xavier Edwards, and Jordan Groshans.
The Marlins lost, but especially so early in the spring, the results are not important. Instead, we will focus on player-centric moments and team takeaways from game one.
Marlins NRIs make big plays
In 2022, Joe Rizzo slashed .277/.343/.467/.810 with 21 homers and 69 RBIs. The Marlins signed him to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training.
Rizzo got the start at first base and made the most out of his debut, going 2-for-2 with an RBI double in his first at-bat and a single his second time up (both times making hard contact).
Joe Rizzo MASHES an RBI double to give the Marlins a 1-0 lead pic.twitter.com/a8tDZE33Gv— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) February 25, 2023
During the middle innings, we saw every member of the original Marlins starting lineup replaced. Substitutions included 2022 first-round draft pick Jacob Berry, top 30 prospect Troy Johnston, and a couple of the other NRIs.
Outfielder Jake Mangum—acquired in a trade from the Mets during the offseason—made the Marlins’ best defensive play of the game, a diving catch in center field. Mangum covered 40 feet in 3.5 seconds and had to leave his feet to rob Hayden Senger of a hit (and likely another run).
The Marlins are taking a close look at Braxton Garrett this spring as he competes for the final spot in a stacked starting rotation. He just had his most productive big league season in 2022.
In his two innings of work on Saturday, Garrett was all over the zone. He used his slider and sinker as his two main pitches. His only strikeout of the night came on the slider and Pete Alonso homered against his sinker. Overall, Garrett didn’t look great, but his velocity was normal and he seemed healthy, which is something to be happy about.
After Garrett, we saw one of the new Marlins, JT Chargois. Pitching one inning and allowing one earned run was not an encouraging sight from the former Tampa Bay Ray. He didn’t have much command. Chargois showed the highest velo of any Marlins pitcher, sitting at 94-95 mph throughout his appearance.
After Chargois, Miami brought in Chi Chi González. He impressed earlier this week during a live BP session, but struggled in this outing, going 1 2⁄3 innings and allowing two earned runs and two walks. Anthony Maldonado came in to get him out of the jam in the bottom of the fifth inning.
The Marlins’ best performance on the mound came from Daniel Castano, who pitched a perfect two innings. He didn’t allow a hit and struck out two hitters while doing so. Great to see Castano back out in a live game, especially after a concussion interrupted his 2022 season.
- This was the first organized game that the Marlins have played with MLB’s new pitch clock. There were no violations by either team and the game was completed in two hours and 35 minutes.
- The second Marlins run of the game was thanks to an RBI single from Jesús Sánchez. He started in the cleanup spot.
- Here are the other players not mentioned above who made their debuts with the Marlins organization on Saturday: Jacob Amaya, Alex De Goti, Garrett Hampson and C.J. Hinojosa.
The Marlins head back to Jupiter, FL, on Sunday to take on the St. Louis Cardinals in what will be their Spring Training home opener. The pitching matchup will be Johnny Cueto against Miles Mikolas.
Yes, we will see Jazz Chisholm Jr. in center field along with the other hitters who are projected to start on Opening Day. Manager Skip Schumaker announced that we will be seeing Marlins top prospect Eury Pérez pitch in relief of Cueto. He is expected to go two innings. Other pitchers expected to be available in the bullpen are Enmanuel De Jesús, A.J. Puk, Eli Villalobos and Sean Reynolds.
The game begins at 1:10 pm. Noah Berger and Alex Krutchik will be covering it on site for Fish Stripes. You will be able to watch the game on Bally Sports Florida or listen to Kyle Sielaff call play-by-play on the radio.