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2020 Marlins Spring Training Preview

SonOfJack

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The Miami Marlins will begin their preparation for the 2020 season this week at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium in Jupiter.

Miami's pitchers and catchers will report to spring training on Wednesday, with the rest of the team following on Sunday. Several of Miami's position players will likely report early and get a jumpstart on their workout schedule. The Marlins are beginning the spring with 64 players in Jupiter.

With 24 non-roster invitees in camp, Miami will have a number of roster decisions to make over the next two months. The list of invitees includes a veteran All-Star in Matt Kemp, and a glimpse of the future in first round pick JJ Bleday. Miami also handed out spring invites to young exciting players such as Jazz Chisholm, Braxton Garrett, Jerar Encarnacion and Victor Victor Mesa.

The Marlins were busy this spring with a number of free agent additions, but there are still some spots on the bench and in the bullpen open for grabs. In addition to trying to win roster spots, players in camp will be trying to leave a good impression for later in the year. With injuries considered an inevitability, Miami's depth will once again be crucial. Opening eyes in the spring, can easily lea to opportunities during the season.

Pat Venditte will be in camp and will be vying for a role in the pen. Venditte is ambidextrous and that ability could come in handy under modified rules. A reliever must now face a minimum of three batters, or complete the inning. Venditte has struggled to find success during his career, with a 5.08 E.R.A across 58 games.

Ryan Lavarnway is in camp, as one of seven catchers in Jupiter. It is common for teams to have extra catchers during spring training, even if those players are unlikely to break camp with the team. With Jorge Alfaro and Francisco Cervelli already penciled into Miami's roster, Lavarnway is likely headed for AAA Wichita. Miami also has veteran backstop Chad Wallach in camp, but he could also be headed to Miami's AAA affiliate.

The Marlins will have 13 outfielders at the start of spring training, though some of those players have no chance of making the club. Mesa, Encarnacion and Bleday are not competing for roster spots at this time. The trio are considered part of Miami's future and are simply going to enjoy a big league experience for a short period of time. Kemp has an opportunity to make the team, if he can have a successful spring. The veteran could be a valuable bat off the bench and a clubhouse leader as well.

Lewis Brinson is entering a critical season, with quite possibly his last chance to be a starter on this team. Brinson has been a disappointment thus far and his competition has increased. There are a number of players knocking on the big league door and Brinson will have to produce early and often. If Brinson falters, Miami could turn to a player such as Monte Harrison. Miami acquired Harrison in the same 2018 trade that brought Brinson to the team and the outfielder has yet to make his MLB debut.

Chisholm will not break camp with the Marlins, but he is an electric young part of the future. The Marlins acquired Chisholm for Zac Gallen last season and he should see some at-bats against big league pitchers over the next few weeks. Chisholm is 22 and could open the year in AA Jacksonville, after having some success at that same level in 2019. With early production, Chisholm could be on a plane to Wichita quickly this season.

Besides deciding on roster spots, manager Don Mattingly and his staff will have more to ponder this spring. Miami acquired Jonathan Villar this offseason and he is expected to be an everyday player for the team. Villar's place on the field could be constantly in motion however, due to the veteran's versatility. Mattingly will likely pencil Villar in all over the field during the exhibition schedule, to get a better idea of how to best utilize his skills. Mattingly will also ponder Villar's best slot in the lineup, with the leadoff spot being the likeliest destination.

Garrett Cooper is not expected to be a member of the lineup to begin 2020, but he still remains an important part of the club. Cooper's solid production is a known asset, but his health remains a major question mark. Miami opted to add to the roster this offseason, due in part to a lack of confidence in Cooper's availability. Cooper will likely still be given plenty of at-bats during spring, so that he can prepare for his new role off the bench. Miami could also end up slotting Cooper back into the everyday lineup, if a need arises due to injuries or productivity problems.

After moving on from a number of relievers this offseason, Miami will have innings available for some new names. One of those players could be Stephen Tarpley, after the lefty came over in a January trade. Tarpley was a member of the New York Yankees in 2018 and 2019 and he has an ability to miss bats. The lefty has 47 strikeouts in 33.2 innings so far in MLB, though keeping runners off base has been an issue for Tarpley. The 26-year old has a career WHIP of 1.81 and a rough 5.88 E.R.A.

Magneuris Sierra is entering a big spring and it could be his last one with Miami. Sierra is out of minor league options, which puts him in danger of losing his place on the franchise's depth chart. If Sierra does not make the team this spring, the Marlins will have to expose him to waivers or trade him. The 23-year old is a talented member of the organization, but he is facing an uphill battle. Miami is stacked with outfield options and may simply not have a place for Sierra.

Isan Díaz had a huge year in the minors in 2019 and then struggled mightily in MLB to end the season. Díaz will enter the spring with a starting job, but it is not a guarantee he keeps it. If The 23-year old struggles in Jupiter, the Marlins could decide to send him back to AAA for more seasoning. Miami has multiple infield options at the big league level and Díaz is an important part of the team's future.

The Marlins will play 28 games this spring and there will be nine days featuring split squads. Miami's Grapefruit League schedule will wrap up on March 22nd with a pair of games. The regular season will get underway on the 26th, following three days off for the team.

The exhibition season opener against the New York Mets is scheduled for February 22nd at 1:10 p.m.
 
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SilverBullet

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Good read, great stuff here. I'm loving the new Stories concept.

My one question though, I heard pitchers and catchers report today, what kind of report is this?

Is it like a book report because I hated those.
 

FishFan95

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Good read, great stuff here. I'm loving the new Stories concept.

My one question though, I heard pitchers and catchers report today, what kind of report is this?

Is it like a book report because I hated those.
It's a report on Omnichannel Integration. @SonOfJack has been working with the players on it all offseason.
 

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