Miami Marlins outfielder Kevin Mattison is 26 years old. He might be too old now to be considered a legitimate prospect. But as the troubled franchise moves forward, he is exactly the kind of player they need.
Mattison has only played a handful of games in the majors and went hitless in five at-bats. But he possesses great speed and can be an effective outfielder. He put up big stolen base totals throughout his minor league career, and has some extra-base pop.
He strikes out way too much and probably is a fourth outfielder and pinch-runner.
Mattison is also a personality. The winner of the Dernell Stenson Sportsmanship Award in the 2011 Arizona Fall League, he has been a good teammate off the field who plays hard on the field.
He recently began growing a series of memorable mustaches that have got him some attention.
According to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com, Mattison grew the mustache in short season Single-A: "I just have fun with it, and the fans seem to enjoy it."
And this is what the Marlins need to take note of.
They just had a disastrous season where a team that was expected to contend in their new ballpark fell flat on their face. The Marlins need to do something to make their team more appealing.
They have some pieces in place. Jose Reyes and Giancarlo Stanton are a nice foundation for their offense and young players like Logan Morrison, Rob Brantly and Donovan Solano look like they can contribute.
But a player like Mattison could become a fan favorite. Coming in as a pinch-runner or as a defensive replacement or a spot start could be a spark for the folks in Marlins Park.
Now, it could be a stretch to say that a fourth outfielder would have much of an impact on the popularity of a team.
The fact of the matter is, the team desperately needs fan favorites. They need players with some personality they can cheer for and feel a connection with.
Mattison will probably never be a starter, let alone a star, but he has the fun personality that the Marlins need to have in order to wipe the stench of 2012 away from the team.
Fans need something to cheer for. And re-signing Adam Greenburg again is probably not an option.
Bring up the fast guy with the mustache. At least he will be having fun. Maybe it will rub off on the team.