The Marlins believe one of the top prospects acquired in the offseason is ready for another chance at the majors.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly announced after Monday night’s loss to the Atlanta Braves that Magneuris Sierra, a speedy outfielder the Marlins picked up in their deal with the St. Louis Cardinals in December for two-time All-Star Marcell Ozuna, was recalled Tuesday morning from Triple A New Orleans.
Sierra, a 22-year old lefty center fielder from the Dominican Republic, would make his club debut once he enters a game. He played in 22 games last season for the Cardinals and hit .317 with five RBI and two stolen bases in his first major-league action.
“The experience with the Cardinals last year helped me a lot and I learned a lot from their veteran players about always staying positive no matter the situation and keeping a positive mindset,” Sierra said. “At first I had some trouble at the plate. I just put it in my mind to work hard and make adjustments and I did.”
Sierra’s promotion corresponds with the Marlins move to place outfielder/first baseman Garrett Cooper on the disabled list with a right wrist sprain. Cooper has been limited to only 14 games this season.
Cooper said the MRI showed a lot of inflammation in the wrist and will likely require 2-4 weeks of rest before he has another MRI to determine the next step in treatment, putting him at risk of missing the remainder of the season. Cooper said surgery on the wrist was not recommended.
“On that awkward fall at first [in Friday’s game], I put a lot of pressure on my wrist,” Cooper said. “There’s some damage to the wrist and the tendons. It’s just frustration, nothing else you can say.”
With Cooper’s absence and starting center fielder Lewis Brinson also on the DL, it created a chance for Sierra.
“I feel happy and comfortable because I’m coming with the mindset of taking full advantage of this opportunity,” Sierra said.
Sierra got off to a slow start this season after suffering a hamstring injury in spring training, but has picked things up at the plate recently. Sierra is slashing.260/.287/.341 in 86 games at New Orleans this season and can play all three outfield positions.
Sierra also brings potential elite speed both in the outfield and on the base paths.
Using “sprint speed,” a Statcast metric that tracks how much ground a runner covers in feet per second in every maximum effort run, Sierra was timed at 29.9 feet per second last year according to Baseball Savant.
The metric tracks every player’s speed on the base paths with a minimum of 10 max effort opportunities. Sierra had fewer than 10 such chances, but his speed would have ranked third overall in the majors last season behind only Byron Buxton and Billy Hamilton, who finished second in the majors in stolen bases with 59.
The Marlins have stated they will be very cautious with their prospects’ development this season, but felt it was the right time to give Sierra this opportunity.
“He’s been getting better as the season has gone on,” Mattingly said. “We felt it was the right time to bring him up.
“It’s kind of like with [pitching prospect] Sandy [Alcantara]. You don’t feel it’s a totally finished product. You’re going to continue to grow and continue to teach. But it felt like the time was right to give him some chances out there.”
HEART AND HUSTLE
Marlins’ All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto was named the team’s recipient of the 2018 Heart and Hustle Award. The award honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and traditions of the game. The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association will choose an overall winner from among the 30 recipients from each club. The final winner will be announced on Nov. 8 at the 19th annual Legends for Youth Dinner in New York.
Thursday: Miami Marlins RHP Dan Straily (4-4, 4.02 ERA) vs. Washington Nationals TBA, 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.