Saturday, July 23, 2022

Marlins Welcome Jacob Berry

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

Despite limping into the All-Star Break losing a three-game series where they were swept by the Philadelphia Phillies, 3-0 and outscored 16-1, the Miami Marlins made a big splash in the 2022 MLB Draft by selecting infielder Jacob Berry as their top pick, sixth overall.

Before our Media Availability’s with Manager Don Mattingly and Berry, it was neat joking around with Berry about having been to a restaurant in Tucson, AZ when he played for the University of Arizona Wildcats. 

We also quipped that he transferred from Cactus Country in Arizona to Crawfish Haven as he played for the LSU Tigers.

It’s safe to say that this moved paid off for the 21-year-old as he embarks on a new chapter with the Miami Marlins. 

In 2021, Berry was named 2021 Collegiate Co-Freshman of the year. With the Wildcats, he hit .352 with 41 extra base hits, including 17 home runs, and 70 RBI in 63 games.

Berry was a member of the 2021 USA Baseball USA Baseball Collegiate National team, where he went 12x31 with four home runs.

There was plenty of Marlins talk during the All-Star Break and after it.

During the 2022 All-Star Game held at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, the Fish were well represented with pitcher Sandy Alcantara, outfielder Jazz Chisholm and infielder Garrett Cooper.

Former Marlin and current New York Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton was named the MVP of the contest which happened to be held in his hometown of Los Angeles and grew up a Dodgers fan.

There was talk all week that Alcantara should have been the game’s starter, but the nod went to Clayton Kershaw, who is a nine time All-Star with the Dodgers, who has amassed three National League Cy Young Awards. 

He has also led the NL in wins for three seasons, along with winning a World Championship in 2020.

To say that Kershaw was going to start in his home ball park seemed like the right decision in Hollywood, CA. 

I truly believe that in any other ballpark besides Dodger Stadium, Alcantara could have gotten the nod elsewhere although it’s subject for debate in Anaheim, home of the LA Angels.

Nevertheless, this will give Alcantara something to have as a goal in the future and start a Mid-Summer Classic.

Kershaw did pitch a clean first inning and even picked-off LA Angeles superstar Shohei Ohtani catching him leaning. 

Who followed Kershaw?

You guessed it, it was Alcantara. 

Sandy pitched the second inning and recorded two strikeouts facing three hitters. 

He even impressed the Fox Broadcasters Joe Davis and John Smoltz, who don’t see the Marlins much because they’re not on National Television.

Due to a back injury, Jazz Chisholm Jr. was voted as a starter but was unable to play. 

Yet he was there enjoying his time as an All-Star. 

Garrett Cooper had two at bats and did strike out twice, however, no one will ever be able to take off the accomplishment that all three of these Marlins can say that they’re All-Stars.

The National League took an early 2-0 lead as Tampa Bay Rays starter Shane McClanahan was touched for two runs in the first inning. 

He yielded an RBI single to hometown favorite Mookie Bets and a solo home run to St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.

After Kershaw and Alcantara departed, the American League went on to defeat the National League 3-2, thanks to Stanton’s two run homer that tied the score 2-2 in the top of the fourth inning and Minnesota Twins outfielder Byron Buxton won it with a solo shot that amounted to being the game winner four pitches later.

During the Mattingly’s pre-game availability, there was a lot of talk about Alcantara. I also asked him a pair of questions with the first being about the Marlins trio of All-Stars and the second about the MLB Lockout which had Miami facing the Texas Rangers for a single game.

Check it out Mattingly’s comments before the Marlins 8-0 loss to the Texas Rangers.

As a result of the lockout, the Marlins and Rangers will face one another on Monday, September 12, as the clubs face each other in a doubleheader.

Just a footnote to the Texas Rangers, they used to hold Spring Training at the now demolished Pompano Beach Municipal Stadium (2008) from 1972-1986. 

Prior to that, the Washington Senators trained there from 1961-71 then relocated to Texas in 1972.

The second video in this story was on Berry and my main question to him was adjusting from the aluminum bat to wood as he transitions from college baseball to the pro level. 

He also talked about being a Marlin and how he’s ready to get to work. 

Berry and I also talked about the competitive difference between college ball and what it will be like transitioning to professional baseball.

There is no doubt that when you see this video, you’ll learn a lot about a future Marlin and his feelings about Mattingly.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at southfloridatribune@gmail.com and you can follow him on Twitter @TribuneSouth.

Also, to see his broadcasts, there is no cost to Subscribe to the South Florida Tribune You Tube Channel, which covers all kinds of subjects.



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