Spring Training is here Marlins fans! Pitchers and catchers reported on Saturday, along with some position players also reporting. The rest of the team is scheduled to report Thursday (21st). While super-prospect Cameron Maybin reported early, I’m just going to focus on the potential candidates for the the rotation and the platoon behind the plate.
While it appears that the Opening Day rotation will comprise of Scott Olsen, Mark Hendrickson, Andrew Miller, and Sergio Mitre, the fifth spot is up for grabs. The most likely candidates for the fifth spot are a couple of Rick’s: Rick Vandenhurk and Ricky Nolasco. While young, for the most part, this staff is very talented, with Olsen and Miller being two of the National League’s most promising young arms. Fortunately, this team does not have to rely entirely on the starters to log quality innings, as the bullpen, I believe, is vastly underrated.
The Marlins’ bullpen logged the second most innings in the National League last year, at 586.2 innings, trailing only Washington by four (590.2). While the workload was immense, it allowed the Marlins to determine exactly what they had, as far as talent was concerned, in the later innings of games. Closer Kevin Gregg (32 saves in 36 chances) returns to the same role that he filled quite well last season. Lefties Renyel Pinto and Taylor Tankersley return to their middle relief and setup roles, while righties Justin Miller and Matt Lindstrom return from their solid ’07 seasons. But who exactly are they going to throw to?
The Men Behind The Masks
Matt Treanor returns behind the plate this year, and is currently penciled in as the starter this year. However Mike Rabelo, acquired in the Willis/Cabrera trade, will also see some time behind the dish. Neither catcher displayed tremendous skills with the bat last year, with Rabelo hitting .256 and Treanor barely besting him with a .269 average. Power will also not be expected, as the two catchers combined for 5 homeruns and 37 RBI in a total of 106 games last year. What these two catchers do provide, however, are two smart, defensive catchers that will definitely help this young staff. Rabelo, I believe, will be especially important to the development to Andrew Miller, as he caught for him last year in Detroit, and should soften the transition to the NL for Miller.
Well, that’s all I have for now, but keep checking back this week, as I will continue my Spring Training ’08 Outlook for the Marlins, with a position battle breakdown, and ultimately a prediction for the NL East this upcoming season.
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