After a Spring Break full of tinkering with the everyday lineup, Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly has settled on and announced Tuesday’s Opening Day lineup. The Marlins will send Wei-Yin Chen to the mound against the Detroit Tigers for the first game of their 2016 season with this lineup:
Dee Gordon, 2B
Marcell Ozuna, CF
Christian Yelich, LF
Martin Prado, 3B
Justin Bour, 1B
Wei-Yin Chen, SP
-Gordon returns to the lead off spot where he won a Silver Slugger last season.
-Mattingly toyed with moving Ozuna up in the lineup during the spring and now has stuck with it into the regular season. Ozuna has always had some issues with off-speed pitches, and Mattingly has said that he thinks batting him second will cause him to see more fastballs. While Ozuna isn’t the best two-hole hitter because of a relatively low on-base percentage throughout his career, perhaps the idea of having him see more fastballs will make a difference.
-Yelich bats third, and the Marlins have made it known that they want him to develop more power. He has a sweet left handed swing that scouts have said is the key to developing left handed hitters, but he has thus far been unable to get much lift on the ball, instead hitting ground balls and spraying line drives.
-Giancarlo Stanton cleans up and is set for a huge season assuming he stays on the field. Stanton’s most recent injury to the hamate bone in his wrist is always a concern, but he has reportedly felt good and has been swinging well in the spring. He missed some time due to a knee ailment, but he came back strong.
-Third baseman Martin Prado protects Giancarlo, and he should be set for plenty of RBI opportunities in the five spot. He’s an experienced hitter who isn’t particularly prone to streaks of ineffectiveness and he should be a solid contributor throughout the season.
-Big power threat Justin Bour bats sixth. He burst onto the scene out of nowhere last season and blasted 23 home runs. With a full season of play, he could threaten to hit 30. His issue last season was his uselessness against lefty pitchers, but Mattingly believes Bour can be effective as an everyday player, and has said he will not be platooned, at least for now. Lefty masher Chris Johnson is on the bench and will be able to step in for Bour against tough lefties if needed.
-Sophomore catcher J.T. Realmuto returns after a solid rookie season. He has a good bat and should be able to produce a solid batting average to go with his plus defense and handling of the pitching staff. He’ll be under the mentorship of backup catcher Jeff Mathis and new catching coach Brian Schneider, which will only help to make him an even better receiver.
-Gold Glove finalist Adeiny Hechavarria rounds out the bottom of the lineup. The definition of a glove-first shortstop, Hechavarria isn’t much with the bat, but he can go on hot streaks that he’ll sustain. For the entirety of the season, he’s likely no more than a .270 hitter with a handful of home runs. His defense is where his value comes in, and with Andrelton Simmons now in the American League, Brandon Crawford and Hechavarria will likely battle for the Gold Glove.