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Around the Horn: Outfield spots up for grabs

January 28, 2019

Marlins pitchers and catchers start Spring Training with their first workouts on Feb. 13, and position players follow on Feb. 18. With Spring Training a little more than two weeks away, Marlins.com is going around the horn with a series of position-by-position breakdowns leading into camp. Up next: Outfield.MIAMI --

Marlins pitchers and catchers start Spring Training with their first workouts on Feb. 13, and position players follow on Feb. 18. With Spring Training a little more than two weeks away, Marlins.com is going around the horn with a series of position-by-position breakdowns leading into camp. Up next: Outfield.
MIAMI -- At least two starting outfield jobs will be up for grabs when the Marlins open Spring Training next month.
While there's no shortage of candidates in camp, there are few guarantees as to who will start or even make the Opening Day roster.
Around the Horn:Bullpen | Infield | Rotation
MLB.com sizes up the options, who may have the inside edge and which prospects may fit into the equation as the season progresses.
Make or break time for Brinson?
None of the three starting outfield spots are set, but center fielder Lewis Brinson might be the closest to a sure bet. Still, the 24-year-old will have to earn it.
Brinson was given every opportunity as a rookie in 2018, and the Coral Springs, Fla., native experienced his growing pains. He batted .199 with 11 home runs and 42 RBIs in 109 games and missed about two months with a bruised right hip.
Miami may not show as much patience in 2019, so Spring Training will be crucial for Brinson.
What's right for Anderson?
After finishing fourth in the 2018 National League Rookie of the Year Award voting, Brian Anderson is a big part of the club's core. There's no question Anderson will be a middle-of-the-order candidate. It's less clear where will he play.
A natural third baseman, Anderson appeared in 91 games in right field a year ago, compared to 71 at the hot corner. His versatility is a luxury.
Anderson, 25, may wind up in right field if another option isn't available. The health of Martin Prado may also be a factor. Prado has dealt with hamstring, knee and oblique injuries the past two seasons. If healthy, Prado could be at third base, with Anderson in right. Otherwise, Anderson could be back in the infield at the hot corner.

The "Dean Machine"
Miami's organizational position player of the year award winner last year, Austin Dean earned his big league promotion after being a hits machine at Double-A Jacksonville and Triple-A New Orleans. At the two levels, Dean combined to hit .345/.410/.511 with 12 home runs and 68 RBIs.
At the end of 2018, Dean received most of the playing time in left field. In a small sample size, Dean experienced some struggles, hitting .221/.279/.363, but also showed some promise with four home runs and 14 RBIs in 34 big league games. As the roster is currently constructed, the 25-year-old might have the inside edge to start in left field.

Backup plans
Due to injuries, the Marlins promoted speedster Magneuris Sierra from Triple-A to the big leagues, perhaps too soon. The 22-year-old projects to start off in the Minors. Additionally, two of the corner outfield candidates also may wind up being the club's first basemen. Peter O'Brien and Garrett Cooper could both make the club because they are potential right-handed power hitters who can play first base, left and right field. O'Brien helps his value because he is an emergency third catcher option.

Prospects on the rise
Ranked by MLB Pipeline as Miami's No. 2 prospect, Monte Harrison would improve his stock with a strong Spring Training. A five-tool talent, Harrison has 20-plus home run and 20-plus stolen base potential. An issue last year was making consistent contact at Double-A, where he struck out 215 times. Harrison did homer 19 times and steal 28 bases. The 23-year-old showed improvement in the Arizona Fall League. If he starts off at New Orleans, as expected, a midseason callup is possible.

ETA for Victor Victor Mesa
Rated No. 99 on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 list, Mesa will be the biggest mystery in camp. Mesa and his younger brother, Victor Mesa Jr., were international free-agent signings by Miami in October. Mesa, 22, will be in camp as a non-roster invitee. Because he hasn't had much game experience since defecting from Cuba last year, the Marlins will take things slowly with him. Mesa may open at Class A Advanced Jupiter, and he could get promoted quickly to Double-A as soon as he shows he's ready.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.