Marlins manager Don Mattingly on 3B prospect Brian Anderson
The Miami Marlins open the 2019 MLB season on Thursday with a four-game series against Colorado Rockies.
Here’s a closer look at the 25 players who comprise the Marlins’ Opening Day roster.
Jorge Alfaro — C
Birthplace: Sincelejo, Colombia.
Of note: Alfaro spent most of his time in spring training working in the background after a pair of right knee injuries, but the Marlins had been optimistic about his progress despite playing just five games. The team acquired Alfaro from Philadelphia as part of the J.T. Realmuto trade in early February and anticipate him being their everyday catcher.
Chad Wallach — C
Birthplace: Yorba Linda, California.
Of note: Wallach is the only catcher other than Alfaro on the Marlins’ 40-man roster and will be primarily used as a bench player and backup catcher as long as Alfaro stays healthy. Wallach actually started for the Marlins on Opening Day last season but only appeared in 15 games, with Bryan Holaday serving as the main No. 2 catcher in 2018.
Neil Walker — 1B
Of note: Walker, a veteran offseason signing, should get the bulk of the playing time at first base. Walker has hit double-digit home runs in each of the past nine seasons and ranks seventh among active switch hitters in career home runs (141).
Starlin Castro — 2B
Birthplace: Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic.
Of note: Castro will hold his spot as the Marlins’ everyday second baseman for the second consecutive season. He batted .278 with a team-best 165 hits in 154 games last season.
Miguel Rojas — SS
Birthplace: Los Teques, Venezuela.
Of note: For his career, Rojas has been the utility infielder whose value came mainly on defense. After a strong showing in 2018 in his first year as an everyday starter that continued into spring, Rojas should spend most of his time at shortstop this year.
JT Riddle — SS
Birthplace: Frankfort, Kentucky.
Of note: Riddle will share time at shortstop with Rojas and is hoping to build on the fact that he had a full offseason this year. Riddle’s spring training in 2018 was limited due to offseason shoulder surgery and tendonitis later on.
Brian Anderson — 3B
Birthplace: Edmond, Oklahoma.
Of note: After finishing fourth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2018, expect a big year out of Anderson. He’ll likely be the Marlins’ most consistent hitter and regularly bat second in the lineup.
Curtis Granderson — LF
Birthplace: Blue Island, Illinois.
Of note: Granderson provides a veteran presence on a young roster and is looking to show he has gas in the tank to continue his MLB career into a 16th season. He will platoon in left field, generally only playing against right-handed pitching.
Lewis Brinson — CF
Birthplace: Fort Lauderdale.
Of note: The Marlins are hoping for a rebound year from Brinson, who hit just .199 but was sound defensively in his first full major-league season. He showed strides in spring training.
Garrett Cooper — 1B/OF
Birthplace: Torrance, California.
Of note: Cooper was a surprise in spring training after making just 38 plate appearances in 218 while dealing with wrist injuries. The question remains: Can he continue that success heading into the regular season? He will likely spend most of his time in right field.
Rosell Herrera — INF/OF
Birthplace: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Of note: Herrera will serve as the Marlins’ utility backup. He’ll likely see the bulk of his action in the outfield, but expect to see him at second, short and third on rest days.
Martin Prado — INF
Birthplace: Maracay, Venezuela.
Of note: Injuries derailed Prado’s production over the last two seasons, with him playing in just 91 games. With the Marlins oving on with Anderson at third base, Prado will come off the bench and get spot starts in the field.
Birthplace: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Of note: Urena will be the Marlins’ Opening Day starter for the second consecutive year. He’s hoping for better results this time around, though, after giving up a home run on the first pitch of the season and lasting just four innings.
Birthplace: Aviston, Illinois.
Of note: Richards is poised for a breakout year. His changeup is one of the best in the major leagues, his fastball is serviceable and he added a curveball and cutter that looked good in spring.
Birthplace: Cabimas, Venezuela.
Of note: Lopez added velocity to his fastball and command to his offspeed pitches this offseason. He also looks fully recovered from a right-shoulder strain that shut him down for the last month of the 2018 season.
Birthplace: San Juan de la Maguana, Dominican Republic.
Of note: Alcantara has a five-pitch mix, highlighted by a four-seam fastball that tops out at 98 mph. He’s young, but his ceiling is high.
Birthplace: Huntsville, Texas.
Of note: An impressive rookie season ended with lat surgery in June. Not even nine months later, Smith and his swing-and-miss stuff looks like he hasn’t missed a beat. How the Marlins manage his innings will be key.
Birthplace: Brawley, California.
Of note: Opener. Closer. Middle-inning reliever. Romo has the personal and athletic makeup to handle it. The Marlins aren’t using a traditional closer, but expect Romo to handle a bulk of “high-leverage” situations.
Birthplace: Redmond, Washington.
Of note: Conley’s average fastball velocity increased by 5.5 mph last year after the Marlins moved him to the bullpen. He has been steady since and can serve as both a setup guy and closer.
Of note: Steckenrider, like Conley and Romo, will get his share of save opportunities this year as one of the veteran pieces of the bullpen.
Riley Ferrell (IL)
Birthplace: College Station, Texas.
Of note: Ferrell is a Rule 5 draft pick and must stay on the 25-man roster or else he will be sent back to the Houston Astros. A solid spring training, however, ended with him being shut down in the final days with bicep tendinitis.
Birthplace: Bocachica, Colombia.
Of note: Guerrero’s fastball hits 100 mph and makes hitters swing and miss. That’ll be enough as long as he maintains his command.
Birthplace: Kaohsiung City, Taiwan.
Of note: The Marlins moved Chen from the starting rotation to the bullpen, where he will likely be used as a long reliever.
Birthplace: Hong Kong.
Of note: The Marlins claimed Brice off waivers in February and he impressed enough to win one of the final bullpen spots.
Of note: Kinley was with the big-league club late in 2018 and could serve as a middle-inning reliever.
Birthplace: Crosby, Minnesota.
Of note: The Marlins acquired Anderson form the Minnesota Twins in November. A solid spring training results in him getting the chance to make his major league debut this year.