Rox Pile: What do you expect to be Miami’s strengths and weaknesses this year?
Kraczkowski: It may surprise some outside the scope of Miami Marlins fandom, but the starting rotation is shaping up to be a strength. The projected two, three, and four starting pitchers, in no particular order Trevor Richards, Pablo Lopez, and Caleb Smith, simply wasted Major League level opponents through 2019 Spring Training.
More from Rox Pile
- A Colorado Rockies Thanksgiving
- Colorado Rockies: What if Todd Helton had played football instead?
- Colorado Rockies: Charlie Blackmon out for the season
- Colorado Rockies: Injuries shift look of roster ahead of Dodgers series
- Colorado Rockies: Has Sean Bouchard earned a second look in 2023?
Richards, who led the Marlins with 130 Ks last year as a rookie, kept opponents to a 0.621 WHIP in five Spring Training starts, striking out 20 in 19.1 innings.
Lopez’ modest 0.5 WAR in only 10 starts last season actually ranked third on the Marlins pitching staff. This spring, he’s gone 3-0 with 16 Ks and only 10 hits allowed in 20 innings. He walked one.
Smith, who is on the tail end of rehab from a torn muscle that has kept him out of action for the past nine months, struck out 13, walked zero, and allowed two hits in nine innings.
Note: Official pitching matchups are Kyle Freeland vs. Jose Urena in the opener, German Marquez vs. Trevor Richards on Friday, Tyler Anderson vs. Pablo Lopez on Saturday, and Jon Gray vs. Sandy Alcantara on Sunday.
As for weaknesses, it’s not hard to find them. The bullpen is largely untested, the offense is going to struggle to hit home runs, and most of the best potential hitters in the organization struggle with the strikeout. Lewis Brinson, Monte Harrison, and Peter O’Brien all strike out at a 30 percent clip (or greater).