Five observations from the Marlins’ first Grapefruit League game, a 6-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals:
▪ Trade fallout: The Marlins won their trades involving Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna. OK, of course they haven’t, not after one insignificant spring game.
But if you were wondering how the former Marlins outfielders did with their new teams in their first games, here’s your answer: nothing special. Combined, the three went 1 for 4 with a pair of strikeouts. Stanton grounded into a double play in his first at-bat with the Yankees.
On the flip side, Lewis Brinson (obtained from the Brewers in the Yelich trade) doubled in two at-bats and made a diving catch in center. Second baseman Starlin Castro (received in the Stanton deal) went 1 for 2. Magneuris Sierra, who was acquired from the Cardinals in the Ozuna trade, led off for the Marlins and went hitless in two at-bats.
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▪ New faces: The new-look Marlins started four players who weren’t members of last year’s team and used a bunch of other newcomers as late-inning replacements. A scorecard with names and numbers is a necessity.
“We’re still getting to know each other’s names,” said first baseman Justin Bour, one of the holdovers. “There’s a lot of new guys and a lot of new faces. This is totally different than last [spring]. I don’t think there was a single [roster] spot open last year.”
▪ Impressive debut: Scott Van Slyke made the strongest first impression. Van Slyke, a veteran of six seasons with the Dodgers, belted a pair of home runs, including a grand slam in the seventh that put the Marlins on top.
The performance brought back memories of Lyle Mouton, who hit three homers in one spring game and made the Marlins’ Opening Day roster in 2001 as a result.
Van Slyke, a non-roster invite, is competing for a bench spot as a fourth outfielder and backup first baseman. Also in contention for that role is Garrett Cooper, who was scratched from Friday’s starting lineup with a sore hamstring.
▪ Rotation free-for-all: Dillon Peters, who is vying for a rotation spot, drew the starting assignment Friday and turned in two scoreless innings, allowing three hits while striking out three.
Only Dan Straily and Jose Ureña are considered rotation locks. Beyond those two, it’s a free-for-all as the Marlins look to round out a starting staff, and Peters made a fair first impression.
Pitchers in spring training often “work on things,” tinkering with pitches while saving their best stuff for the season. But Peters can’t afford to experiment if he wants to make the Opening Day roster.
“I’m not tinkering with anything,” Peters said. “I’m going after hitters and and I’m competing. I came in here as ready as I possibly could for camp, and I’m showing them everything I’ve got.”
▪ Rule 5 matters: The Marlins have decisions to make on two Rule 5 picks and one of them, Elieser Hernandez, had a rough outing, giving up a pair of runs on five hits in only two innings.
If either Hernandez or fellow Rule 5 selection Brett Graves fail to win a spot on the final 25-man roster, the Marlins must return them to their former teams.