Miami Marlins All-Star Representative: Who Should It Be?
With June coming to a close, that only means one thing for Major League Baseball: the All-Star Game is right around the corner. While there are some obvious choices as to who should be selected for the All-Star rosters, the choice for the Miami Marlins isn’t entirely clear. The Fish, while still holding the worst record in baseball at 29-51, finished off June with a bit of a turnaround, going 15-10 in the month, capped off by a walk-off grand slam by backup catcher Jeff Mathis against the San Diego Padres. Of course, Jeff Mathis isn’t going to be chosen as the Marlins All-Star representative, but there’s a few players who are deserving.
The Marlins lone All-Star from 2012, Giancarlo Stanton, would have possibly been a clear pick to be the Marlins All-Star this season, had it not been for a hamstring injury that kept him out for over a month. While he was picked for the All-Star team, however, Stanton was unable to play in last year’s contest due to a surgery to remove loose bodies from his knee.
With that being said, let us look at some of the possible players who could become the 2013 Marlins All-Star representative:
Jose Fernandez (starting pitcher): Many thought the Marlins were rushing their 20 year old top pitching prospect to the big leagues following the demotion of Jacob Turner and the injuries sustained by Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez. Before this season, Fernandez hadn’t even sat on a bench above High-A ball. However, the young Fernandez has shown signs of why he was highly touted as a Marlins prospect, currently sitting at a record of 4-4 with an ERA of 2.98 with 84 strikeouts in 84.2 innings.
Marcell Ozuna (outfielder): here stands another Marlins prospect that many felt the Marlins rushed to the big leagues, yet has answered the call fantastically. Ozuna, age 22, made his debut on April 30th after Stanton went down with the aforementioned hamstring injury. While he has lacked the power that moved him through the minor leagues (85 homers in 466 games), he’s shown an ability to make adjustments at the plate and has been the most clutch hitter in the Marlins line-up this season, batting .415 with runners in scoring position with an OPS of 1.069. He is currently second on the team in RBI to Justin Ruggiano. Ozuna has also been a great defender for the Fish, moving from right to center field when Stanton returned and has already racked up seven outfield assists, including one game-saving throw against the New York Mets in the bottom of the 12th inning in what turned into a 20 inning affair.
Steve Cishek (relief pitcher): After a bit of a shaky start to the season, closer Steve Cishek has returned to form in recent outings, converting his last nine save attempts and lowering his ERA to 3.24. Cishek has converted his last nine save opportunities which has spanned over 10 consecutive scoreless appearances with 11 strikeouts over 9.1 innings. Over that time period, batters have hit just .097 against him (3-31) with no extra base hits. Cishek could be an option for the National League bullpen.
Justin Ruggiano (outfielder): Yes, Ruggiano has been forced into a platoon role with Juan Pierre as of late, and yes, his batting average is .233, but he does lead the team in home runs and runs batted in while playing strong defense in all three outfield positions. Out of the four players listed here, Ruggiano has the lowest chance of being selected, but can not be ruled out completely.
If I had to guess, I’d have to say Jose Fernandez would be the most likely choice to be the Marlins All-Star representative. He’s been the Marlins best starting pitcher this year and silenced most critics who said he was called up too soon. While he has hit some speed bumps here and there, as all rookies do, he’s maintained himself professionally and has been mature about any situation that has come his way. There is also always a possibility of Stanton making the trip up to New York for the All-Star festivities if he’s invited to compete in the Home Run derby, but Stanton would most likely sit this one out to be safe. Look for one of these names to be announced as the Marlins All-Star when rosters are revealed on July 4th.
Other Marlin news:
Marlins pitcher Henderson Alvarez made his final rehab start on Friday, pitching 7.2 scoreless innings striking out 7 and walking none. In two AA starts, Alvarez pitched 14.1 scoreless innings, struck out 13 and walked none. Alvarez is currently rumored to be starting on Wednesday against the Atlanta Braves, which is also supposed to be when Ricky Nolasco makes his next start. There have been trade rumors surrounding Nolasco for the past couple of weeks, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out if a trade is not made by that time.