Matt Dominguez is hitting. Javier Vazquez’s velocity seems fine. Chris Coghlan is playing in back to back games and the four and five starters are shutting teams out. Some of the top concerns for the Florida Marlins coming into spring training don’t seem to be so bothersome at the moment. The top priority was to find out if 21-year old Matt Dominguez was ready for the big leagues. The young 3rd baseman has not only shown to be capable, he happens to lead the team in RBI after one week. Many “experts” say the Marlins would be happy if Matt Dominguez hits .230 in his rookie season. Perhaps he can turn himself into a decent run producer this season. He’s only struck out twice and doesn’t seem to be overwhelmed by the situation. Winning a big league job seemed to affect Gaby Sanchez and Logan Morrison the last two years. Things can change when he’s facing big league arms for 4 at bats in a game, but as of right now Dominguez is the least of the Marlins worries.
As for the arms Javier Vazquez has looked solid in his last 2 starts. All eyes have been glued to the radar gun this spring. Marlins brass and fans alike are wondering whether Vazquez has any life left in that right arm. His first start against collegiate athletes hecouldn’t crack 90mph. While the reports made some fans restless, his next outing encouraged many as he sat in the 88mph to 91mph range. The Marlins can’t worry too much if Vazquez isn’t hitting 93mph like his Montreal days. He is an excellent pitcher that has had a long history of striking out batters. Pitchers lose their stuff the older they get; Pedro Martinez found an ability to strike guys out in his later years because he knew how to pitch. Two guys that the team wants to see a great deal of consistency from are Chris Volstad and Anibal Sancez. The duo combined for 6 shutout innings in their last two starts.
The top issue the Marlins seem to be facing is health. Mike Stanton hasn’t played since February 27th. He was expected back sometime this week but now it seems like he’ll miss another 7 to 10 games before returning to the lineup. Stanton is a young player and you do have to wonder if missing a lot of spring training will equate to a slow start. The Marlins are looking at Stanton to be the main bat to protect Hanley Ramirez this year and an early slump from him could hurt the entire lineup. One health issue that seems to be closer to being resolved is Ricky Nolasco. He hurt his thumb during offseason conditioning drills and the nagging injury has kept Nolasco out of game action all spring. Ricky should be back on the hill by mid March. The hope is to have him at full go for the first series of the season. But losing the first two weeks may affect how long Nolasco can go in his first two starts of the regular season. It’s great to see that the players of concern are performing, now all they have to do is get the full squad healthy and ready for April 1st. The last health concern may almost be resolved. Chris Coghlan who is trying to master centerfield played in back to back games over the weekend for the first time since having his meniscus surgically repaired. It’s a very encouraging sign for the man who is supposed to be the offensive catalyst this season.
About the Author
Written by Brendan Tobin
Life long Marlins fan who's had the privilege of covering the team the last 2 seasons for Sports Talk 790 The Ticket in Miami, FL.