What’s your prediction on Brian Anderson this year and going forward? I see 30 home runs and very good borderline star potential.
You can’t really predict a home run total for this year because we don’t know how many games will be played. But I do agree with you that Anderson has 30-homer potential (in a full 162-game season) and All-Star potential. I fully expect to see that caliber of player develop in the next few seasons. The organization has made a commitment to him to play third base, not right field. At the plate, he was tracking toward at least 25 home runs last year before having his season cut short on Aug. 23 due to a broken left hand. In 126 games, he still finished with 20 home runs. Keep in mind, the fences have been moved in at Marlins Park, and the Marlins have a better overall lineup this year. Couple that with Anderson getting closer to reaching his prime, and you should see a very productive player.
I wanted to get your thoughts on the plans for Garrett Cooper. I think he’s getting a bad rap for being injury prone, when in reality, it’s been really bad luck, being hit with pitches. I think he can be a 25-plus-homer guy, if given the chance.
I see Cooper making the team and playing a lot, either at first base or at a corner-outfield spot. Either way, he should get plenty of at-bats. I don’t see how he is getting a bad rap. As for injuries, they have been a concern. He played in 107 games last year and just 14 in 2018. A year ago, he went on the injured list a couple of games into the season with a left calf strain, and in May, he was hit by a pitch on the left hand and missed more time. In September, a bruised left knee kept him out of the lineup. Bad luck or not, staying on the field has been an issue.
The Marlins made a commitment to Jesús Aguilar, who they claimed off waivers from the Rays. Aguilar projects to play first base and hit cleanup. He was an All-Star with the Brewers in 2018, belting 35 home runs with 108 RBIs. Obviously, he had a down year in '19, which made him available. The Marlins did extensive analytical research on Aguilar, so they had their reasons for bringing him in. In terms of durability, he’s played in 133, 149 and 131 games the past three seasons.
Do you think the plan for José Ureña is to hope he comes out pitching well, and wait for a team to call needing a starter and get some young pieces for him?
No, I think Ureña was making the case to be the Opening Day starter. Whether he gets the nod over Sandy Alcantara or not is the club’s call. But Ureña was impressing at the time Spring Training was cancelled. The Marlins need the rotation depth, and perhaps at some point they might consider trading someone. But trading controllable starting pitching is risky.
The Marlins are going to need all their starters. And if this is a shortened season, game-wise, then I expect the Marlins to try to compete for the postseason. Perhaps in the offseason, they might consider trading Ureña, who would be a year closer to free agency.
Who had the fastest fastball in Spring Training?
The only 100 mph fastball I saw in a Grapefruit League game was from Edward Cabrera, ranked by MLB Pipeline as Miami’s No. 5 prospect.
If you had to put together the starting rotation, what would it look like?
How the rotation looks at the start of the season and the end could be dramatically different, because prospects like Sixto Sanchez, Cabrera and Nick Neidert will start off in the Minor Leagues, and all three could be part of the rotation as the season progresses. But my starting five would be Alcantara, Ureña, Pablo López, Caleb Smith and Jordan Yamamoto. Elieser Hernandez, to me, would be next if a starter is needed. I would carry him as a long reliever and spot starter.