Pitching has been a long and lingering issue for the organization for a good amount of time. With the passing of Jose Fernandez back in 2016, the team has been left without a true ace since. So with what the Marlins have to work with, who would get the ball Opening Day and after?
Jose Urena was given the ball on Opening Day for the 2018 season and took the loss after losing 4-8 against the Cubs. The rotation after Urena was as follows Caleb Smith, Odrisamer Despaigne, Dillon Peters, and Trevor Richards. Dan Straily was out with an injury prior to the season and missed the Opening Day roster.
That rotation proved to be unreliable even with Straily’s return from the disabled list. As the season would continue two more prospects would make the rotation when Caleb Smith would go down with an injury. Despaigne would be traded, and Dillon Peters would be optioned. Pablo Lopez and Sandy Alcantara stepped in.
Lopez impressed many in his rookie season but near the end of the season, he would also go down with an injury which would cost him the remained of his season. Pablo started 10 games with 58.2 innings pitched and a 4.14 ERA. Had he not gone down his numbers would have been better because as the season went on, Lopez got better. With Lopez healthy now, he is a vital piece to the 2019 rotation.
Sandy Alcantara was also impressive for the Marlins. In his six games started, Alcantara finished the 2018 season with a 3.44 ERA in 34 innings pitched. Walks were an issue for Sandy, walking 23 batters and striking out 30. However, what fans probably don’t know is that as his season went on, he walked fewer and fewer batters in his starts by making adjustments to help control his fastball better.
6 Man Rotation?
With that being said, I believe the Marlins will use a six man rotation consisting of the following (in rotational order) – Jose Urena, Dan Straily, Caleb Smith, Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez, and Trevor Richards.
While reading this fans may ask themselves where is Wei-Yin Chen? Well I believe Chen will be moved to the pen because of how injury prone he has been over the last few years. Moving Chen to the bullpen will help preserve his arm and could eat up innings as a long reliever.
This rotation all showed promise throughout the 2018 season before injuries plagued Straily, Smith, and Lopez. Smith finished his 2018 season on the disabled list but produced a 4.19 ERA in 77 innings pitched with a 88-33 strikeout to walk ratio. Straily finished with a 4.12 ERA in 122.1 innings pitched.
Trevor Richards finished with a 4.42 ERA in 126 innings pitched, it was his rookie season so as his gets more experience he could excel nicely with that filthy change-up. Jose Urena finished the season with a 3.98 ERA in 174 innings pitched with a 130-51 strikeout to walk ratio. The stats of Pablo Lopez and Sandy Alcantara are listed earlier in the article. As this rotation continues to grow and gain experience together, they could become very effective.