Notes: Marlins' roster plans; Villar goes deep

July 12th, 2020

MIAMI -- The Marlins can go a few different ways in finalizing their 30-man Opening Day roster.

They could decide on carrying 17 pitchers and 13 position players, or maybe go with a 16-14 split for the upcoming 60-game regular season.

Whichever way the Marlins go, Major League director of player personnel Dan Greenlee and the analytics department will have a say.

“Part of that is with Dan Greenlee and analytics,” manager Don Mattingly said on Sunday. “Where is the difference? Where do we gain more by having that extra pitcher, or does that extra hitter help us?”

Breaking down the data is being relied upon to assist in those decisions.

“They seem to be able to give you some percentages, on that difference of having 13 players or 14 players,” Mattingly said.

With the National League having the designated hitter this year, teams won’t be pinch-hitting for pitchers. So, the DH will likely lessen the need for more position players.

However, the extra-innings rule, in which an automatic runner begins at second base to start each half-inning, could lead to carrying a speedster for such occasions.

Preserving pitching is going to be critical, especially because starters may only be going five or six innings early in the season.

If the Marlins go with 16 or 17 pitchers, that increases the chances of carrying seven or eight starters, using two or three in long relief. That opens a path for Jordan Yamamoto, Robert Dugger and Nick Neidert to potentially all make the team.

“You can take any number of pitchers that you want now,” Mattingly said. “It doesn’t have to be even.”

Villar plays short, homers
No matter where he is playing, has the ability to do some damage. In Sunday’s simulated scrimmage, the 29-year-old played shortstop.

Villar also crushed a home run to right field off Elieser Hernandez, and he added a double in his next at-bat off reliever Jeff Brigham.

The Marlins have made it clear Villar will play multiple positions. He had worked almost exclusively in center field in Spring Training.

But with the DH in the NL this year, Mattingly has said Villar will be used some in that spot, as well as play middle infield and center. At the plate, Villar is expected to lead off.

Boxberger making case to make team
The expanded 30-man roster for the first two weeks of the season increases the chances of right-hander Brad Boxberger making the Marlins' Opening Day roster.

The 32-year-old is a non-roster invitee who was tracking toward making the club in Spring Training. He had a 1.42 ERA with eight strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings of Grapefruit League play, before Spring Training was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Boxberger is again throwing effectively in Summer Camp.

“We’re getting back into the swing of things,” Boxberger said. “There’s a little bit of a lag getting going again, especially with the new conditions we are dealing with every day, trying to get our feet on the ground and get going. But I feel like everything is going well.”

Mattingly said Boxberger’s velocity has increased from last year, which makes his offspeed pitches that much more effective. The veteran projects to be used in late-inning, high-leverage situations.

López dealing with personal matter
Right-hander Pablo López, who projects to be one of the Marlins' top four starters, will be away from the club for at least a few days to tend to a personal matter.

López pitched in a simulated game a few days ago, and thus far, the right-hander has been impressive in camp.

Monday’s simulated game
The Marlins continue Summer Camp on Monday with another simulated game at Marlins Park. Neidert and Dugger are the scheduled starters.