According to Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly, the top of his rotation is set with Dan Straily and Jose Urena. The remaining three slots are up for grabs. A decision on who fills out those slots may not come until the final day of Spring Training. Mattingly met with the media on Saturday, discussing all things Marlins. The topic of the rotation continues to be one that needs answers, but no one pitcher is stepping forward and grabbing the bull by the horns.
“It could go down to the wire,” Mattingly said on Saturday morning. “As long as there’s innings, there will still be some weeding out to where it will become clearer.”
Still firmly in the mix is hard-throwing right-hander Sandy Alcantara, ranked by MLB Pipeline as Miami’s No. 3 prospect. The youngster has been impressive with his fastball that has reached the high-90s during camp. He could be penciled in as the team’s number three starter, or he could wind up the fifth man in the rotation.
“He’s throwing the ball well,” Mattingly said. “I don’t think we can discount that. He’s doing everything we’ve asked, and he seems to be picking it up.
“If we feel like he’s ready to compete, and that he can continue to develop at the Major League level, then he’s one of those guys we’re talking about.”
The Miami Marlins are also looking at veteran Adam Conley and Justin Nicolino. Nicolino is out of minor league options and must make the staff or could be released. Conley has been a starter with the team and won the fifth spot in the rotation last season in Spring Training. Conley has had issues with consistency throughout his career.
Dillon Peters, who was a late-season callup last year, will also get a long look as well.
Per MLB.com, The Miami Marlins project Alcantara as a top-of-the-rotation candidate, but at age 22, there are questions as to if he is ready for the big league grind. He’s been fine-tuning his mechanics with pitching coach Juan Nieves and bullpen coach Dean Treanor.
“Dean and Juan are talking about things, about keeping him over the rubber and making sure he’s using his body,” Mattingly said. “Things like that. He’s working very hard.”
There are others the team has their eyes on as well. Right-handers Jacob Turner, Odrisamer Despaigne, Elieser Hernandez and Brett Graves, and lefties Jarlin Garcia, and Caleb Smith. Lefty Chris O’Grady, who previously was a starter, is competing for a bullpen spot.
“We still have innings that we’re going through and want to give guys chances to throw the ball,” Mattingly said. “We’re still looking.”
Garcia had a team-high 68 appearances last season out of the bullpen, but is being given every opportunity to win a starting spot in the rotation. Garcia was a starter in the minors.