The Marlins’ rotation took a hit over the weekend when left-hander Jesús Luzardo landed on the injured list due to a forearm strain. That leaves a vacancy alongside the top four of Pablo López, Sandy Alcantara, Trevor Rogers and Elieser Hernández, and the long-term plans still appear to be up in the air.
The team announced yesterday that long reliever Cody Poteet would step into Luzardo’s spot for tomorrow’s game against the Nationals. General manager Kim Ng didn’t commit to the righty making more than one start, however, noting only that the team “will be flexible after that” (via Daniel Álvarez Montes of El Extrabase). Poteet started seven games for the Fish last season, so he could probably handle a rotation spot with Luzardo out, but that’d thin the bullpen mix.
Of course, Miami’s organizational strength is their controllable pitching, and the Fish have some young arms whom they hope will be rotation stalwarts over the long-term. 2020 #3 overall pick Max Meyer reached Triple-A Jacksonville at the end of his first full professional season, and he opened this year there as well. The right-hander has overpowered opponents, pitching to a 2.97 ERA with excellent peripherals in seven starts. Meyer has a lofty 29.5% strikeout rate, has only walked 6.8% of batters faced and has induced grounders on over half the batted balls against him.
That’s a continuation of very strong high minors work for Meyer, who was equally dominant in 101 Double-A innings last year. As he’s continued to tear up the minors, there’s been speculation the University of Minnesota product could be on the radar for a big league call. The Luzardo injury won’t be the immediate catalyst for his first MLB promotion; Craig Mish of SportsGrid tweeted this afternoon that Meyer will start for Jacksonville on Tuesday.
Still, Ng’s nebulous statement about being “flexible” with the vacant rotation spot long-term doesn’t figure to quell any speculation among the fanbase about the possibility of Meyer heading to Miami at some point in the relatively near future. Mish and Barry Jackson at the Miami Herald wrote earlier this month there’d been some “internal discussion” about whether to promote Meyer for relief work before Luzardo’s injury. Meanwhile, Hernández’s continued struggles with home runs may eventually put him in jeopardy of losing his hold on a rotation spot.
Another of Miami’s exciting young arms, Sixto Sánchez, reached the big leagues for the first time in 2020. The fireballing righty made seven strong starts as a 22-year-old, but he missed all of last season battling shoulder concerns. Sánchez landed back on the injured list to start this year, but the team informed reporters he’s progressed to throwing from 90 feet (via Jordan McPherson of the Herald). There’s obviously still a long way to go in his rehab process, but that he’s throwing is a promising development. Sánchez spent the first few weeks of the season in a shutdown period after he battled continued soreness during the spring.