Maybe it’s just the natural progress the Miami Marlins were hoping to see when he entered his third full season. Maybe it’s the extra help for all the training. Maybe it’s the convenience of knowing where he is batting in formation and where he is playing on the pitch every day.
Regardless of the reasons, third baseman Brian Anderson showed an increase in pot production during the first part of this shortened 2020 season which placed him among the best in MLB.
Ahead of Wednesday’s series final against the Toronto Blue Jays, Anderson’s .419 base percentage leads all the starting third bases and places him 15th overall in the league. His 1,030 OPS (base plus slugging) only follows Asdrubal Cabrera of the Washington Nationals (1,054) among the third basemen.
Anderson also leads Marlins regulars in batting average (.306), RBI (10) and walking (six), while his 11 wins in 11 games are tied with first baseman Jesus Aguilar for team lead. Anderson and Francisco Cervelli are in second place in the team with three home runs behind Aguilar’s four.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly has kept Anderson at number 5 in the lineup so far this season after initially playing with Anderson beating second during spring training. Hitting behind the likes of newcomers Jonathan Villar, Aguilar, and Corey Dickerson took some of the pressure off Anderson from last year, when Anderson was at times the team’s only constant offensive threat.
“I think what we’ve been trying to do is leave him alone,” Mattingly said. “We talked about moving it back and forth with left and right handers, but we tried to leave it in that area. Some days, he might slide down to fourth, but for now he looks comfortable. It’s a good RBI commercial. He will come with the men on the base. We feel like it was a good place for him. We just want to be consistent with him. “
Without naming specific players, Mattingly said Wednesday that some of the team’s 18 players who tested positive for COVID-19 have begun taking the next steps to get back on the pitch.
When they will actually return to training is still uncertain.
Mattingly said that “a number of guys” have applied to the MLB Joint COVID-19 Health and Safety Committee for reintegration into the team, which is one of the steps that the league’s operations manual has in place. players who return to the field after a positive COVID- 19 test.
“What this process is like and how long it takes, I’m not sure,” Mattingly said.
The group of successful players has been quarantined in South Florida for a week and a half. Mattingly said the group is asymptomatic and that they “feel ready to go” in terms of returning to the field and practice. The anticipation would be that players would go to Jupiter first to do practice reps before returning to the active roster.
Lopez to start Marlins home opening
Pablo Lopez, the de facto ace of the Marlins’ impromptu early rotation badly hit by the team’s COVID-19 outbreak, is expected to start Miami’s opener at home against the Atlanta Braves on Friday at Marlins Park.
The Marlins will have played just two games between Lopez’s last start on Sunday and their first home game on Friday. However, a couple of days off Monday and Thursday that surrounded their two-game set against the Blue Jays in Buffalo will see Lopez on his regular four-day rest schedule between starts.
Lopez quickly became the active starter of the Marlins with the most important experience after Sandy Alcantara, Caleb Smith and Jose Urena all entered the list of injuries following the team’s coronavirus outbreak in Philadelphia. In two starts, Lopez gave up three runs (two earned) out of 10 innings. He has 11 strikeouts against four walks and has kept opponents at a .184 batting average.
The remainder of the Marlins’ rotation for the series against the Braves is to be defined.
Dickerson is the sixth player the Marlins have used at the designated hitter spot in 12 games this year. Aguilar (four games), Villar (three), Logan Forsythe (two), Garrett Cooper (one) and Matt Joyce (one) are the others.