Marlins Call Up Rob BrantlyBy
Just three weeks after being acquired in the Anibal Sanchez/Omar Infante deal, the Marlins have called up 23-year-old catcher Rob Brantly from AAA New Orleans.
The move was announced following Sunday’s 5-0 loss to the Dodgers, with backup catcher Brett Hayes being sent down to clear a roster spot. It seems that with the roster moves made over the past month, August and September will now serve as the prime audition opportunity for players whom the club will decide to make part of the long term future of the organization.
Since coming over from Detroit, Brantly had been raking for the Zephyrs, posting a .365/.389/.558 line with two home runs and 11 RBI. Although he’s drawn just one walk in 52 at-bats as a member of the Marlins organization, Brantly is at least able to keep his strikeout totals low.
In their statement regarding Brantly’s call up, Marlins president Larry Beinfest said that “I don’t think you want to bring him up and have him sit. You want to look for some advantageous situations for him, but he needs to play.” Obviously, bringing up Brantly means that he’ll get a chance for plenty of at-bats, and with the atrocious season that John Buck has had, it won’t take much for Brantly to be an improvement over the current catching situation. In fact, the Marlins have posted the second-lowest fWAR total in the NL from the catcher position at just 0.3 WAR, ahead of only the Cubs.
Beinfest also mentioned that while they would still like to see Brantly improve defensively, they see no problem in evaluating his receiving skills at the big league level rather than doing so in Triple-A. Brantly has always been viewed as an offensive-minded catcher with more line-drive ability than power, but it will be worth watching how well he can hold up behind the dish. Despite the struggles of Buck with the bat, he has still been able to throw out 32% of runners attempting to steal. Brantly did show good arm strength during this year’s Futures Game, throwing out Cardinals’ OF prospect Oscar Taveras, but the big leagues will obviously require a bigger adjustment compared to a minor league All-Star game.
Brantly will get the next two months to show the Marlins whether where he fits in with their future plans, and if all goes well, he’ll have secured himself a spot as the everyday catcher for the forseeable future.