Inbox: How is rotation shaping up?

Beat reporter Joe Frisaro answers fans' questions

Inbox: How is rotation shaping up?

What's the rotation shaping up like?
-- @johnnyfray

Great question, because so much of how the rotation shapes up depends on Jose Fernandez. There is no question Fernandez is the ace of the staff, but that doesn't automatically mean he will pitch on Opening Day. Why?

As you know, Fernandez has an innings range of around 180. So how will he reach that? One possibility could be not starting Opening Day, and perhaps starting him off in the back of the rotation. This scenario could happen.

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The way things may map out is for Fernandez to have fewer starts in April, and increase his availability later on in the season. Because Wei-Yin Chen started on Wednesday, the lefty actually is lined up every fifth day to start on Opening Day, which is April 5 against the Tigers at Marlins Park.

You could have a scenario of the starting five being Chen, Tom Koehler, Jarred Cosart, Adam Conley and Fernandez.

The safer pick is: Fernandez, Chen, Koehler, Conley, Cosart.

Do you think the "core" will get the Marlins into October?
-- @FlaBoi6

Many could argue the strength of the team is the core. The core I'm referring to is the regulars. The projected everyday lineup also impresses a number of scouts I've spoken with in Spring Training.

Stanton on playing right field

The outfield trio of Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton are one of the best in the Majors. Dee Gordon and Adeiny Hechavarria are arguably the top defensive middle infield. J.T. Realmuto has the potential to be a future All-Star catcher, and Justin Bour and Martin Prado are solid on the infield corners. So the position players are in place to contend. It will come down to the pitching.

Who do you see replacing Carter Capps in the 'pen?
-- @marlinso05

You're not going to replace the pure, powerful stuff of Capps. There aren't many who regularly throw 100 mph with a wipeout slider. But there still are power arms in the back end. A.J. Ramos, of course, will be the closer. For the eighth inning, you are looking at lefty Mike Dunn and right-hander Bryan Morris. Non-roster invitee Dustin McGowan is getting a long look to be a part of that role. Kyle Barraclough and Brian Ellington may emerge at some point during the season, if not directly out of camp.

Bour's RBI single

How much will Bour improve against lefties now that hitting coach Barry Bonds is mentoring him?
-- @CliffMoskowitz

Bour is getting chances against lefties. But no matter who is mentoring, it's the players who either perform or not. Bour had 68 at-bats and hit .221 against lefties last year. He hit lefties pretty well in the Minor Leagues, but in the big leagues, it's a different challenge.

The question will be if the Marlins are patient with Bour against lefties or just selectively look to use him in those games, or go more with a platoon at first.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.