Rox Pile: The NL East looks to be one of the toughest divisions in baseball this season. Does Miami have a chance to be competitive in 2019?
Kraczkowski: Yeah, it’s tough. All of the other four teams are largely expected to win 80 or more games, while the Marlins will be lucky to win 60.
I mean, they could be competitive. Isn’t that why they play the games?
Realistically though, Miami would have to battle for their lives to just finish fourth in the Thunderdome that is the NL East. The Phillies look spectacular, the Nationals are a complete team, and the Braves are always a threat. The only opening I see for the Marlins to finish “not last” is with the New York Mets … and good luck with that!
Rox Pile: Who is a young player to keep an eye on during the Rockies series and beyond?
Kraczkowski: Aside from the aforementioned 2-3-4 of Richards, Lopez and Smith, be on the lookout for Rule 5 pick, reliever Riley Ferrell. Picked off the Astros’ minor league system, he’s performed well enough through spring to stick with the team.
On the offensive side of the ball, look no further than J.T. Realmuto‘s replacement in the field and in the order, Jorge Alfaro, late of the Phillies. Alfaro had the second fastest home-to-first sprint speed in the majors last season, amongst catchers, second only to Realmuto. Alfaro will swing at anything, and almost never walks, but he does have legitimate power and calls a good game.
Renowned for his pitch framing abilities and strong arm as well, Alfaro is about the best we could have expected as a replacement for Realmuto, and he’s three years younger as well.