Predicting the Marlins Opening Day Rotation

The Marlins rotation enters the 2020 Spring Training with an abundance of starting pitching options. However, there are only five spots up for grabs, maybe even six if Don Mattingly sees fit. Nonetheless, spots in the rotation are limited but, who would take those spots? Let’s start off with who SHOULDN’T be in the rotation on opening day.

Who Shouldn’t be in The Rotation

First is Jose Ureña. Ureña does have decent numbers as a starter but I don’t think he should even be with the Marlins on Opening Day. He would just be taking a spot from a more deserving prospect such as Sixto Sanchez. A trade would be preferable before the start of the season but if not, another move to the bullpen would be sufficient.

Second would be Elieser Hernandez. Don’t get me wrong, Hernandez was one of our best pitchers last year and when he was called upon to be a starter, he didn’t disappoint. However, I think he should be moved to the bullpen. With his experience as a starter, he could be used in a long-relief type of position while refraining from taking a starter spot from a promising prospect.

 Who Should be in The Rotation (In Order)

Sandy Alcantara should definitely be the Opening Day starter for the Marlins after his All-Star season in 2019. He was electric, exciting to watch, and the fans loved to watch him pitch because more times than not he gave them a performance worth watching. He was the Marlins’ only representative at the 2019 All-Star game in Cleveland.  He finished the season with 3.88 ERA while logging 197.1 innings pitched, 151 strikeouts, and batters hit for a .241 average against him. Not too shabby for his rookie year. A look at Alcantara below. (via @Marlins)

The second spot in the rotation should go to Caleb Smith. Smith had a promising first-half for the Marlins during the 2019 season. In 13 starts he accumulated a 3.50 ERA, 88 strikeouts and hitters were only hitting for a .201 average against him. He was receiving national media attention for the success he was having as the Marlins’ ace before he went down with an injury in early June. After spending a month on the injured list, he wasn’t the same when he came back. Smith finished the season with a 10-11 record, a 4.52 ERA while logging 153.1 innings pitched with 168 strikeouts. Video of Smith below. (via @Marlins)

The third rotation spot should go to Pablo Lopez. Pablo has great stuff and has showed promise when he is on the field. Lopez was placed on the injured list on June 19th and didn’t return to the rotation until August 26th. Before going on the injured list, Pablo was 6-5 with a 4.23 ERA with 73 strikeouts in 76.2 innings pitched, he was doing quite well was showing much promise before going down with a shoulder injury yet again. A look at the movement of Pablo’s pitches below.               (via @AugustineMLB)

The fourth rotation spot should be where Jordan Yamamoto will end up. Yamamoto shined during his first six starts he started with a 4-0 record with a 1.59 ERA in 34 innings pitched with 34 strikeouts. He was also receiving national media attention because of the hot streak he was on during his first six career starts. Towards the end of July, he started to have command issues and his numbers began to spiral downhill which was expected to come from a rookie starting pitcher. Nobody expected his hot streak to last the rest of the season. A look at Yamamoto attached below. (via @MLBPipeline)

The fifth rotation spot in my honest opinion should go to Marlins top prospect Sixto Sanchez. Sixto is ranked as the 5th best starting pitching prospect in all of baseball and is ranked 22nd in MLBPipeline’s top 100. He spent his 2019 season in the minor leagues and he was impressive. In 103 innings pitched, he accumulated an 8-4 record with a 2.53 ERA while striking out 97 hitters. He is a ground-ball producing machine but his ability to control all of his pitches including his offspeed such as a changeup and breaking balls while having plus movement on his fastball that constantly reaches triple digits. Sanchez will be placed on an innings plan and where better place to monitor that the innings plan is being followed than in the major league rotation.

A look at Sixto is below. (via @Jasenelpartido)

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