The Miami Marlins made a huge statement this past week by sending three of their left-handed pitchers to their minor league camp.
The pitching this season must improve. It isn’t a question of whether the 2018 pitching staff will be better this season. It is a certainty if these Marlins, a team that won 77 games last season, are going to win more than 60 games, the arms on the bump must be more dominant. The Miami Marlins announced that possible starters Jarlin Garcia, Adam Conley and Dillon Peters would all start the season in the minors. Garcia was assigned to Jacksonville, the team’s Double-A affiliate. Conley and Peters will begin at Class AAA New Orleans.
All three have a chance to be part of the team’s rotation at some point this season. These moves do change the team’s outlook, with an eye toward other potential starters who may not have much MLB experience, but the potential is there.
As Joe Frisaro of MLB.com wrote, “In the mix for the final three spots are Sandy Alcantara (the club’s No. 3 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline), Odrisamer Despaigne, Jacob Turner and Rule 5 Draft picks Elieser Hernandez and Brett Graves. A couple of left-handers who are in the rotation picture are Caleb Smith and Justin Nicolino. Wei-Yin Chen, who is building up from a left elbow issue, will open the season on the disabled list.”
I don’t see Chen making much of an impact this season, and if he does, it may be in long relief. For Garcia, it may be a matter of working on control. The long reliever appeared in 68 games last season out of the bullpen, but started the 2017 campaign in Jacksonville before being called up to the Miami Marlins main roster in April.
Conley had control issues last season. He may be another bullpen candidate during the season if he can work on his mechanics. Peters has a solid fastball. He should be part of the rotation after the All-Star game or in September. Because the Miami Marlins staff had issues with consistency and injuries last year, it’s a good bet Peters will be part of the team’s rotation in 2018.