Much remains to be seen out of these young Marlins
While the season has been dominated by the impressive rookie campaign of Brian Anderson, the emergence of Derek Dietrich and the evolution of the young pitching staff, there are still plenty of other young Marlins that leave much to be desired in terms of time.
By the end of the season, the outfield of Lewis Brinson, Magneuris Sierra and top prospect Monte Harrison is closely taking shape, with Brinson and Sierra already on the Marlins. Brinson made the Opening Day roster and had a very cold start to the season at the plate even though he demonstrated his glove work. Before going on the disabled list on July 4 with a right hip bone bruise, he batted .186, 10 homers and 30 RBI.
He seemed to have turned the corner in June with an .848 OPS and there’s hope that he will continue that progression once he returns from his injury. Brinson is currently progressing and a minor league rehab assignment is around the corner. Marlins manager Don Mattingly said on Wednesday that the goal by the end of the season is to get 100 more at-bats from Brinson to get a larger sample size out of him.
“With [Lewis Brinson], hope to get him 100 at bats or so before this season ends to see if the progress we felt like we were making takes a little more hold,” Mattingly said. “We felt like he was swinging the bat better [before the injury] and his at-bats were getting better, swings were getting shorter, takes were better. Not necessarily that he was getting a ton more hits but you could see he was making progress in terms of his at-bats and he’s just come right back and his [rehab] work looks good.”
Outfielder/first baseman Garrett Cooper is another young player is currently on the disabled list with a similar September goal. Cooper missed substantial time with a sprained right wrist but could return by late August.
“Garrett is another guy I would like to get 100 at bats hopefully and see what he can do,” Mattingly said. “He’s the one guy we seen a little bit in spring, got hurt so early. We haven’t really seen him get any kind of rhythm. He’s the one guy really want to find out what this guy can do. We talked about possibly playing some winter ball, getting some more at-bats.”
In the case of Sierra, the Marlins feel that they got the second coming of Juan Pierre. However, since being called up, Sierra is hitting. 200 with no walks in 45 plate appearances. He has yet to steal a base this season but Sierra’s speed is noticeable when he drops in a bunt.
“Magneuris is another guy we will get to see a lot of at-bats,” Mattingly said. “I like a lot of things about Magneuris. I really think this guy is going to be a player for us. We’re going to work on his bunt game. His speed is really off the charts. I like the swing. There is a lot to like about him, his attitude. I think this kid is going to be really good for us.”
After trading Adeiny Hechavarria last season, JT Riddle became the next everyday shortstop, batting .250 as a rookie. Despite batting a solid .271 in June, Riddle is hitting only .222 in 63 games, with five homers and 21 RBI this season.
The Marlins don’t feel that they’re getting the real Riddle. His season started on May 2 after being activated from the disabled list following shoulder surgery a year ago. So the jury is still out there on whether or not he is really a starting caliber shortstop.
“The delayed start has made it a little bit difficult,” Mattingly said. “We thought it would be sooner he would be able to start hitting [in the cage this year]. He wasn’t able to do anything until late January. We will see exactly who J.T. is a lot better next year because he’ll have a full winter of work and a normal, healthy winter. Hopefully, everything goes well the rest of the way.”
One could only hope there will be more clarity by the end of the season.