2021 Miami Marlins: Spring Notes, Hot Start for Fish

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The 2021 Miami Marlins report to 2021 Spring Training with the first female general manager in baseball history, the reigning National League Manager of the Year, and a roster powered by young players. Miami is poised to be a World Series contender in a few years. That’s a heck of a way to kick off the decade.

The regular seasons for the Marlins will begin in South Beach on Thursday, April 1st at 4:10 p.m. against the Tampa Bay Rays. Roger Dean Stadium will be reduced to 21% capacity or about 1,500 fans; a normal attendance in South Beach.

Okay, that is the last joke about attendance. A designated entry gate will be noted on each ticket. Masks will be required at all times, and the stadium will be mostly cashless, with mobile ticketing in place and concession and ticketing stands accepting credit and debit only.

In 2020, the Marlins ranked 21st in ERA (4.86), 22nd in runs scored (263), and 25th in home runs (60). Ng took steps in the offseason to address these clear shortcomings. 2021 Miami Marlins revamped their bullpen by signing Anthony Bass, Adam Cimber, Ross Detwiler, Zach Pop, and Paul Campbell.

2021 Miami Marlins: Quick Off-Season Summary

KEY ADDITIONS: Adam Cimber, Dylan Floro, Anthony Bass, Adam Duvall

KEY SUBTRACTIONS: Caleb Smith, Brad Boxberger, Francisco Cervelli, Logan Forsythe, Brandon Kintzler, Ryne Stanek, Jose Urena, Jordan Yamamoto.

“The identity for our club is pretty simple,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “We hang our hat on our pitching. We feel like that’s going to be our kind of thing. I want to be a club that is able to play fast.


2021 Miami Marlins: Hot Stove to Hot Start

Last week, Jazz Chisholm was a topic of discussion. It revolved around the position battle between him and Isan Diaz. In the first Spring Training game, Jazz sent the second pitch into the Astros’ bullpen for a leadoff homer in this year’s Grapefruit League opener on Sunday afternoon at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.

As a playoff series winner would do, Chisholm’s bomb started a string of four consecutive Marlins hits, capped by a two-run home run from Lewis Brinson.

Chisholm, the Marlins’ No. 4 prospect per MLB Pipeline, said his mindset this offseason was to be the starting second baseman in 2021. Chisholm’s character and mindset are refreshing. In January he said, “I don’t think specifically about competition, honestly.” He goes about his craft in a way you can’t help but admire.

“It felt great to start off with a bang,” Chisholm said. “Glad to see that it showed from the first at-bat.”

Jazz Chisholm, first HR of the season on 2/28/ (Miami Herald).

Last season, Chisholm slashed .161/.242/.321 with two homers and six RBIs across 62 plate appearances while adding two stolen bases. In game 3 of the National League Division Series against the Braves, Chisholm got the start, and he doubled and walked. It is a small sample size but he hasn’t skipped a beat in the first 2 games. This is certainly a reassurance and a promising sign.

In addition to Jazz’s first-inning blast, Jon Berti finished the day 2-for-2. Meanwhile, Garrett Cooper drove in a run with an RBI double. Top 2019 draft pick, JJ Bleday also hit a solo home run. Bleday is a stud hitter. It will be exciting to watch his bat advance and progress. Mattingly echoed my sentiment, “I think JJ is one of those guys that just the more you see, the more you appreciate, because you’re going to see a good defender, you’re going to see a good baserunner, you’re going to see a guy that knows who he is,” Mattingly said on Monday.


JJ Bleday

JJ Bleday was Vanderbilt’s best hitter as a sophomore in 2018 and voted the top prospect in the Cape Cod League. Those are high praise. This league is considered the premier amateur summer league. Bleday followed up by top NCAA Division I with 27 homers and 192 total bases. The Marlins snagged him at fourth overall and signing for a then-Marlins-record $6.67 million, he proceeded straight to high Class A. MLB Pipeline projects Bledayt o begin his season at Double-A Pensacola. It is highly anticipated Bleday will get a Major League call-up by the season’s end. According to Mattingly, he sees similarities between Bleday and Mets outfielder Michael Conforto.

“With JJ, you feel like you get an experienced mature guy, has good work habits,” Mattingly said. “His routines are good. So you just get a solid, solid player with him. And then you just allow him to develop. If he shows up in Miami this year — you know I can’t answer that — he kind of answers that question with his performance. So, you know, we’ll see. But it wouldn’t be outside of the realm of possibility, I would say.”

Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA projections, released prior to the start of the regular season, have four of the five National League East teams finishing above .500, with the New York Mets going 96-66 to claim their first division title since 2015.

The Marlins followed up Sunday by beating New York 2-0 on Monday. Jesus Aguilar drove in two runs. The Marlins collected a handful of hits. It was a positive sign to see Lewin Diaz get a hit as well.

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Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images

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