With the Marlins’ first Spring Training game less than 48 hours away, here are a few notes that illustrate the dramatic roster turnover from this time last year as well as the remarkable youth of the 2014 ballclub:
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES: Of the 25 players who opened the 2013 season on the Marlins’ active roster, only 10 (5 position players and 5 pitchers) remain in the organization this spring: Rob Brantly, Steve Cishek, Gregg Dobbs, Mike Dunn, Jose Fernandez, Adeiny Hechavarria, A.J. Ramos, Kevin Slowey, Donovan Solano and Giancarlo Stanton.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: The 15 players (8 position players, 7 pitchers) from last year’s season-opening 25-man roster who are no longer with the Marlins are Chris Coghlan (Cubs), Austin Kearns (unsigned), Casey Kotchman (unsigned), Wade LeBlanc (Angels), John Maine (unsigned), Ricky Nolasco (Twins), Miguel Olivo (Dodgers), Juan Pierre (unsigned), Placido Polanco (unsigned), Chad Qualls (Astros), Jon Rauch (Royals), Justin Ruggiano (Cubs), Alex Sanabia (Diamondbacks), Chris Valaika (Cubs) and Ryan Webb (Orioles).
A VERY DIFFERENT LOOK: Of the 9 players in Mike Redmond’s Opening Day starting lineup last season, Giancarlo Stanton and Adeiny Hechavarria figure to be the only holdovers in 2014. A season ago, Miami began the year with a rotation that, following Ricky Nolasco, featured Kevin Slowey, Wade LeBlanc, Alex Sanabia, and a 20-year-old named Jose Fernandez, who’d never thrown a pitch above Single-A. This year the rotation projects to be one of the club’s great strengths with the reigning NL Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Award finalist Fernandez leading a group also expected to feature Nathan Eovaldi, Henderson Alvarez, Jacob Turner and a 5th starter to come from a deep group of candidates led by Brian Flynn, Brad Hand and Tom Koehler. Only 3 pitchers remain from last year’s season-opening bullpen: Steve Cishek, Mike Dunn and A.J. Ramos
YOUNG GUNS: Nine players who, barring injury, are virtual locks to begin the season with the Marlins will be 24 or younger on Opening Day: Jose Fernandez (21), Christian Yelich (22), Jacob Turner (22), Henderson Alvarez (23), Marcell Ozuna (23), Carter Capps (23), Nathan Eovaldi (24), Adeiny Hechavarria (24) and Giancarlo Stanton (24). That’s at least 4 members of the rotation, the shortstop, all 3 outfielders and at least one member of the bullpen. Among others who could legitimately make the club, 4 others would be 24 or younger on Opening Day: Brian Flynn and Jake Marisnick are 23, while Brad Hand and Derek Dietrich are 24. If Flynn or Hand earned the 5th starter spot, it’s likely the entire Marlins rotation will be 24 or younger. At age 31, Carlos Marmol is the oldest pitcher on the Marlins’ 40-man roster. Next up: Mike Dunn, who is only 28.
CHILDREN OF THE ‘70s: Only 2 members of the Marlins 40-man roster were born before 1980: 35-year-old Gregg Dobbs (born in 1978) and the senior man on the roster, 36-year-old Rafael Furcal (born in 1977).
I AM REALLY GETTING OLD: 14 members of the Marlins 40-man roster (35 percent) were born in the 1990s.
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