The Mets (12-10) open a three-game set with the Marlins (10-12) on Friday night at Citi Field.
In advance of the series, we asked Chris Logel, the Co-Editor of fellow FanSided site Marlin Maniac to answer some questions about the Marlins.
Here’s what Chris had to say…
Chris Logel: Christian Yelich is absolutely the real deal. He is patient at the plate, has an excellent approach, and has the ability to hit the ball to all fields. He is still only 22 years-old and likely will see an uptick in power as he matures. In the meantime he may find himself in the hunt for a batting title sooner rather than later.
Marcell Ozuna is a little tougher to peg. He is certainly talented but he has a “grip it and rip it” approach, much like Vladimir Guerrero used to have. He strikes out a fair amount but may be playing himself into the Marlins future plans in right field.
RA: Have you noticed a difference in Jose Fernandez‘ approach compared to 2013?
CL: The only difference I can see is that he may be even more locked in then he was in 2013. Last year he had so much to learn as a rookie. Just basic stuff like travel schedules, where to go, what time to be there. He seems to be able to focus much more on pitching this season having a full year of learning under his belt. He spent the offseason biking almost 600 miles a week to work on strengthening his lower half in preparation for this year.
I have noticed that he approaches hitters slightly differently as well. This year is all about attack, attack, attack. Last year he may have wasted a pitch here or there trying to get a hitter to chase a bad pitch, not caring if he went to a 2-2 count or even a full count. This year he seems more mindful of his pitch count and is really putting away hitters early to try and help save the bullpen for his skipper.
RA: Giancarlo Stanton has made some not so subtle digs at the Marlins recently. Is the club serious about signing him long-term? Would Stanton be open to it?
CL: That situation seems to change week to week depending on who you ask. Apparently Stanton was pleased with the players that the Marlins acquired this offseason and if the Marlins are able to continue to play well and maybe contend for a playoff spot either this year or next, then I could see a possible long-term contract. That being said, I would bet against it. The Marlins believe they have their center fielder of the future in triple A New Orleans with Jake Marisnick, and Ozuna has shown that he may be an adequate fill-in in right field if the Marlins trade away Stanton. This ownership would rather get 4 or 5 solid prospects rather than sign him to an expensive long-term deal. That has historically been their stance. The only way Stanton would consider signing is if they gave him a no-trade clause, which they have a strict policy against. To many hurdles for it to legitimately happen.
RA: What has been the biggest surprise so far this season for the Marlins?
I am going to have to say Casey McGehee. After the disaster that was Placido Polanco at third base last year, we were just looking for someone that could even be described as an adequate third baseman. Signing an also-ran from Japan wasn’t exactly a thrilling acquisition, but he has been fantastic this year. Everyone has been pining for some lineup protection for Giancarlo Stanton. McGehee has been exactly that. He has a .476 average with men in scoring position and has 16 RBI’s already this young season. It seems like every time a team walks Stanton, he makes them pay. These numbers will certainly regress before the season is over, but so far he has been spectacular.
RA: We know about the Marlins who have recently made the jump from the minors and become impact players. Who’s next?
There are two players that are getting close. I already mentioned Jake Marisnick. Marisnick got off to a scorching start during spring training but has since cooled off considerably after being assigned to Triple-A. That being said, he is a five tool player that will certainly get an opportunity soon to show that he belongs on a big league diamond. The second is pitching prospect Andrew Heaney. Heaney is one of the top rated left handed pitching prospects in all of baseball. He currently has a 1.48 ERA in 24.1 innings pitched to go along with 25 strikeouts and three walks. Think Cole Hamels. This guy is the real deal. We will likely see him as a mid-season call up but they will certainly wait to keep his service clock from starting. The fortunate thing for Miami is they don’t have to rush him since they have such a solid pitching staff already. I believe by next year he will be the Marlins number-two pitcher in their rotation.