MLB: Marlins, Reds square off with eyes on future


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When the Miami Marlins play host to the Cincinnati Reds again on Tuesday night, players on the two clubs finally will be able to take a breath with the trade deadline having passed.

Both teams are looking to the future, and the Marlins like their early glimpses of Charles Leblanc.

The 26-year-old rookie third baseman, who is batting .364 (4-for-11) through three games, is expected to get another start on Tuesday. He went 1-for-4 on Monday as Miami dropped the series opener 3-1.

“He seems to be quiet at the plate,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of Leblanc and his efficient batting mechanics. “He doesn’t get rattled. He seems to have a good idea at the plate.”

Miami’s other young hitters on the major league roster include catcher Nick Fortes, 25; slick-fielding first baseman Lewin Diaz, 25; and talented outfielders JJ Bleday, 24; Jesus Sanchez, 24; and Bryan De La Cruz, 25.

There’s also All-Star second baseman Jazz Chisholm Jr., 24, a dynamic speed-power player who is on the injured list but is considered a major part of Miami’s future.

Cincinnati’s best young hitter is second baseman Jonathan India, a 25-year-old who is the National League’s reigning Rookie of the Year. From May 13, 2021, to the end of last season, India had an .872 OPS.

This season, India has slumped a bit, producing a .731 OPS.

Another of Cincinnati’s young stars is right-hander Hunter Greene, who beat the Marlins on Monday. He struck out eight batters, walked none and allowed just one hit in six scoreless innings.

“You can see his development and (improved) maturity each time out,” Reds manager David Bell said on Monday of Greene, who turns 23 on Saturday.

The Reds also have a standout young catcher, 25-year-old Tyler Stephenson. Although he is currently on the injured list, Stephenson has an .854 OPS this year.

On Tuesday, both teams will start young pitchers.

Cincinnati will throw 24-year-old rookie right-hander Graham Ashcraft (4-2, 4.64 ERA), who will be pitching his 13th major league game, all starts. Miami will counter with 24-year-old rookie left-hander Braxton Garrett (2-4, 3.96), who will be making his 21st major league appearance and 20th start.

The Reds are 8-4 when they start Ashcraft, who has faced Miami just once in his brief career. That happened on Thursday, when he escaped with a no-decision in a 7-6 Cincinnati loss. Ashcraft allowed eight hits, two walks and four runs, three earned, in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out six.

The Marlins are 5-5 when starting Garrett, who had a 3.00 ERA in five July starts. That was a significant improvement from his June performance — a 5.24 ERA in five starts.

Fortes, the Marlins’ backup catcher, could get the start on Monday considering Garrett has a 3.49 career ERA when throwing to him. Garrett’s ERA when throwing to starting catcher Jacob Stallings is 10.80, although that came from a small sample size (one game).

Garrett will be looking for revenge against the Reds. He faced them for the first time in his career on Wednesday, taking a 5-3 loss. He allowed five runs on seven hits in five innings despite striking out eight batters and walking just one.

–Field Level Media


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