Recovering from a torn left meniscus last season, Miami Marlins outfielder Jake Marisnick is hoping to make some noise this spring training. With the expectation that he will be ready to go by the beginning of spring training, he has every chance to do that.
Used to being in the center of the outfield, this 22-year-old is headed into the center of a hotly contested position battle with current centerfielder Marcell Ozuna. Last season in 70 games, Ozuna hit .265 with three home runs and 32 RBI. Clearly, he doesn’t present much of a power threat, but he’s capable of driving in runs.
In 2013, Marisnick struggled when called up to Miami where he batted only .181 in over 100 at-bats. However, he showed flashes of power that could potentially make him more valuable than Ozuna. Between High-A and Double-A last year, Marisnick batted .289 and hit 12 long balls while driving in 46 runs.
While his power numbers have been inconsistent throughout his minor league career, one thing that isn’t inconsistent about Marisnick is his speed. Not only is he fast, but he knows how to steal bases.
Playing across various levels of Class-A and Double-A ball, Marisnick stole 80 bases in 2011 and 2012 combined. A season ago, he had just 14 combined between his time in the minor leagues and the Marlins. However, that can be attributed to less playing time once being called up. Had he spent the whole season in the minors or had he started consistently for Miami, then his steal numbers would have stayed consistent.
Whether or not Marisnick makes the team out of spring training remains to be seen. He presents more speed than Ozuna and at times has flashed much more power. Marisnick is also more of an unknown to the organization than Ozuna.
There’s no doubt that he has the talent to be playing in the majors right now, but it’s up to the Marlins to decide whether it’s the best decision or not to start him at the big league level. Marisnick has never played in Triple-A and may benefit from a minor league level that is more similar to the majors.
He may not be up with the Marlins to start the season, but as long as he stays healthy, Marisnick will be playing in Miami sooner rather than later.