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2021 Marlins Season Preview: Jon Berti

After a strong second half last season, Miami’s super utility man will look to make an impact anywhere he can.

Miami Marlins vs New York Yankees Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

UTIL Jon Berti

Opening Day age: 31 | Bats: right | Throws: right | Listed at 5-10, 190 lbs.

Acquired by Marlins via free agency (December 3, 2018).

Marlins super-utility player Jon Berti will be going into his third season with the Fish. He will once again be tasked with the role he knows so well.

Berti was a big piece for Don Mattingly during the 2019 season. Over 73 games, he played six different defensive positions. He does an adequate job no matter where you put him on the diamond, so that helps balance out some of his drawbacks like poor quality of contact and lack of power. Also, Berti possesses elite speed—98th percentile among MLB players in Sprint Speed in 2019, 97th percentile in 2020—and uses it to steal bases efficiently.

Miami Marlns vs. Chicago Cubs
Miami Marlins second baseman Jon Berti (5) makes a diving catch to retire Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant and end the first inning Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020 in Game 1 of the wild-card playoff round at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

Last August, Jon Berti briefly became the regular Marlins second baseman after the club traded Jonathan Villar to the Blue Jays. After finally finding some stability at second, his numbers started to greatly improve. From our 2020 Marlins Season Review:

The difference between his first half and second half slash line was pretty significant:

· Berti increased his batting average by .042

· Berti increased his on-base percentage by .123

· Berti increased his slugging percentage by .121

The momentum was building for Berti before a finger injury slowed him down in September. His 2020 numbers were nothing to brag about, but his second-half improvement cannot be understated. Jazz Chisholm Jr. received an opportunity to make most of the starts when he was sidelined, but Chisholm’s production was inconsistent. Berti recovered in time to play every inning of every game for the Marlins in the postseason.

Spring Training

Coming into spring, we knew Jon Berti was a virtual lock for the 2021 Opening Day roster. However, it would mean going back to his old utility role (at least initially). Chisholm and Isan Díaz are in a battle for the second base spot, and most of the right field playing time will go to Adam Duvall and Garrett Cooper.

Berti has compiled 15 at-bats so far and he’s been very impressive. Offensively, it’s shaping up to be the best Grapefruit League showing of his professional career (never previously had an OPS above .800).

2021 Spring Training
2021 MIA 31 11 22 15 5 5 2 0 0 0 2 1 7 6 .333 .545 .467 1.012 7
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 3/20/2021.

What’s next?

2021 ZiPS projection: .238/.333/.337, 85 wRC+, 1.2 fWAR

2021 PECOTA projection (50th percentile): .237/.330/.371, 96 DRC+, 1.2 WARP

The projected numbers do not show much change from last year. I think with the season—fingers crossed—returning to normal and more games to go around, that will help Berti stay in a rhythm.

Miami has a young and exciting team. Berti brings the speed and flexibility to help keep the Fish afloat this season.