Marlins Park's cavernous outfield dimensions can often frustrate power hitters.
Don’t tell 17-year old Osiris Johnson that.
While the Marlins hope Johnson, their 2018 second-round draft choice who they announced Monday signed his pro deal with the club, will clear the distant fences in center field against live pitching in the near future, they got a glimpse of his power when he took batting practice with the big-league club.
With Johnson signing, the Marlins have inked deals with all of their picks in the top 10 rounds.
“When we talked about our draft philosophy, we talked about building up the middle and building with athletes, guys who could impact the game offensively and defensively with their speed and their defense,” Marlins President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill said. “With Osiris, you see a package like that, an athletic shortstop. He’s a live body who can hit the ball to all fields. We’re excited that it’s official now.”
Johnson (6-0, 180 pounds), the 53rd overall pick in the draft and a cousin of former MLB shortstop Jimmy Rollins, participated in a workout at Marlins Park before the draft. He got a tour of the Marlins’ clubhouse Monday and later got a chance to stretch pregame with several players and fielded ground balls at short. He later stayed and watched the game with his family.
In batting practice, Johnson showed his power to all fields and hit three home runs into the hedge beyond the 407-foot center field wall.
Hill said Johnson, the second-youngest player in this year’s draft, would soon report to Jupiter to begin playing with the Gulf Coast League Marlins, their rookie ball affiliate.
“It was fun, I got to meet Derek Jeter and I’m glad Mike Hill and the Marlins chose me as their second round pick," Johnson said. "I'm ready to get started."
PATCHING IT UP
Smith’s injury coupled with Jose Urena’s right shoulder impingement (already on the DL), and Dan Straily awaiting a decision on his appeal of a five-game suspension, could leave the Marlins down three starters in their rotation within the next few days.
The Marlins’ first move as expected was to recall right-hander Ben Meyer from Triple A New Orleans for his second stint with the club this season after pitching three scoreless innings and allowing one hit in two appearances from June 6-14.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly said Meyer would pitch out of the bullpen, but could make a spot start if needed.
Elieser Hernandez is slated to start Tuesday for Urena, but the Marlins would need a replacement for Smith for Friday’s game against the Mets, and would need another for Straily if his suspension (stemming from the incident last week in San Francisco in which he hit Buster Posey with a pitch) is upheld.
Hill mentioned Dillon Peters and Jarlin Garcia as potential candidates currently pitching in the minors but reiterated that the club would continue to be patient with top pitching prospect Sandy Alcantara, who has pitched 85 innings (14 starts) in Triple A this year, as well as others such as Pablo Lopez (1-1, 3.71 in three Triple A starts).
Alcantara has gone 5-3 with a 3.71 ERA, striking out 64 and walking 34 batters.
“[Alcantara’s] progress has been great,” Hill said. “I think your seeing a young pitcher’s evolution from thrower to pitcher and that’s been the overall goal with him to get him more consistency with all the little parts of being a major league pitcher. We’re taking our time with him.”
Mattingly said ideally Brett Graves would remain a reliever for the time being and not move into the rotation. Mattingly also said he’d keep Adam Conley as a setup reliever due to his success in that role.
J.T. Realmuto was not in the lineup Monday as a precaution after he took a foul ball off his wrist in Sunday’s game. Mattingly said Realmuto was really sore and that an extra day off Tuesday was possible should the soreness linger.
Miguel Rojas underwent a CT scan on his left hand as planned and started Monday's game at third base. Rojas was hit by a pitch on his hand on June 15 and said he felt discomfort while playing in Colorado on Friday which forced him to sit out Saturday’s game. Rojas entered Sunday’s game as a defensive replacement but did not bat.
Tuesday: Miami Marlins RHP Elieser Hernandez (0-4, 5.12 ERA) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks RHP Zack Godley (8-5, 4.64), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
Wednesday: Marlins LHP Wei-Yin Chen (2-4, 6.70) vs. Diamondbacks LHP Patrick Corbin (6-3, 3.24), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.