Spring Training 2011: Which Florida Marlins Are Hot or Not Thus Far?
We're halfway through spring training, and it's come time to evaluate who is on the path for a major league roster and who might be cut or remain in the minor leagues until he can regain his stride.
Through Sunday, the Marlins are 5-10 in the Grapefruit League, but records only matter in the regular season.
Let's look at who's hot and who's not through the Marlins' first 15 spring training games.
HOT: Matt Dominguez
Spring Training Stats (through 15 games): .318 batting average (7-for-22), two home runs and 10 RBI
Matt Dominguez is vying for the third-base job, and he is on the right track for that job with his numbers. He currently leads the team in spring with home runs and RBI.
It will be interesting to see if Dominguez can carry this into the regular season or whether it was just a spring fling.
NOT: Scott Cousins
Spring Training Stats (through 15 games): .194 (6-for-31), 0 HRs, two RBI, 11 strikeouts (no walks)
Cousin's mission for the fourth outfielder spot is in danger with his poor showing in spring play. Cousins had a solid impression during his time with the big league club in 2010 with a .297 batting average, but unless he bounces back quickly, he might find himself in New Orleans to begin 2011.
HOT: Elih Villanueva
Spring Training Stats (through 15 games): 1-0 (three games, one start), 0.00 ERA (nine innings), five hits, three BBs, three SOs
Despite the strong numbers while the rest of the team is struggling in the spring, Villanueva isn't likely to make the club as a starter but rather as a reliever, and even the bullpen is crowded this season with the flurry of signings/trades the Marlins have made this offseason to compete with the Braves and Phillies.
NOT: Josh Johnson
Spring Training Stats (through 15 games): 0-2 (three starts), 10.00 ERA (nine innings), 17 hits, three BBs, five SOs
Josh Johnson has the No. 1 slot down pat, so we shouldn't be alarmed by the poor numbers. It is spring training after all, so don't buy into it until the actual season begins. But again, Johnson is doing himself no favors with his poor outings thus far. We'll see if he continues it in the second half of spring play.
HOT: Hanley Ramirez
Spring Training Stats (through 15 games): .375 batting average (9-for-24), 0 HRs, two RBI, one SB and one triple
Not a great sample size, but Ramirez is off to a good start in the spring. All eyes are on Ramirez this season after a poor 2010 campaign that saw his numbers dip to Ramirez lows.
This season he will take more of a leadership role, and owner Jeffrey Loria wants him to be the MVP this season. Talk about pressure, but Ramirez has the strong potential to do it.
NOT: Chris Volstad
Spring Training Stats (through 15 games): 1-2 (three starts), 7.88 ERA (eight innings), 10 runs (seven ER), 14 hits, three HRs allowed
Volstad hasn't gotten off to a sexy start, but his strikeout to walk ratio (4:1) is something to be thankful for since we know he might just be experimenting with his pitches rather than losing control, which is never a good thing for a pitcher.
Expect Volstad to pick it up for the start of the season. Remember, he went 8-1 in the second half last season after a rough start to the season. It could happen it again, or he might continue where he left off last season.
HOT: Shawn Hill
Spring Training Stats (through 15 games): 0-0 (four games), 0.00 ERA (eight innings), seven SOs, one BB, six hits allowed
Shawn Hill can be seen as this year's Clay Hensley, a pitcher who was a starter battling for a spot in the staff who might get in as a reliever. Hill has been a starter throughout his major league career and would get the upper hand over Villanueva because of experience.
NOT: Wes Helms
Spring Training Stats (through 15 games): .200 batting average (3-for-15), 0 HRs, one RBI, six SOs, three BBs
Uncle Wes is making the club no matter what numbers he posts. Why, you ask? The Marlins signed him to a one-year extension last season for $1 million for this season, and I would be shocked if the Marlins decided to cut him in what would be the final season of his career.
Don't worry—Helms is here to stay for his final season with the Florida Marlins and the last season at Sun Life Stadium.
HOT: Greg Dobbs
Spring Training Stats (through 15 games): .563 batting average (9-for-16), one HR and four RBI
The former Philadelphia Phillie, Greg Dobbs is trying to earn a spot with the Marlins as a bench player/pinch hitter, a role he had in Philadelphia. He is on his way to gaining a spot on the roster, but it will be interesting to see if he outplays Marlin Wes Helms and he gets released, the latter of which is unlikely.
NOT: Donnie Murphy
Spring Training Stats (through 15 games): .200 (4-for-20), one HR, one RBI, six SOs, two BBs
Donnie Murphy is likely to begin his season at the minor-league level if he continues his poor spring, but he had a pivotal role as the Marlins' clutch role player before injuring his wrist in a game against the Washington Nationals last season.
He is battling with Osvaldo Martinez for the middle infielder role, and even if both don't make it, Martinez seems to have the upper hand after an impressive minor-league season in 2010.