Marlins Believe In Brantly's Offensive Upside





FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.—Analysts pointed to righthander Jacob Turner as the big prize in the July trade that sent Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to the Tigers.

Yet the Marlins believe they received more than a top-of-the-rotation pitcher. In their estimation, they got a starting catcher as well.

The process of determining whether Rob Brantly, 23, can play every day or is an offensive-minded backup began in earnest on Aug. 14 when he made his major league debut.

The Marlins demoted struggling backup Brett Hayes and promoted Brantly, who went 19-for-52 (.365) with two homers and four doubles with Triple-A New Orleans after joining the organization.  

"When we traded for him we heard he had good offensive upside," president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said. "It's a small sample size, but he hit the ball very well. They loved him down there, the guys throwing to him. He's still working on some defensive stuff, but he can work on it up here and (we'll) take a look."

The lefthanded-hitting Brantly, who was splitting time with John Buck, made his second start on Aug. 16 in Denver and notched his first hit. He also committed his first error, when a pickoff throw to first sailed over Carlos Lee's head. His defensive education continued with minor league catching coordinator Tim Cossins.

"What I see is a guy who's athletic and can receive," Cossins said. "He can block and he can throw. He's fairly mature for the amount of time I've seen him. He's just been locked in the entire time he's been here."

At first glance, Brantly does not appear to have the sturdy build the position demands, but Cossins came to think differently.

"He's lean-looking because he's got a young face, and you get fooled," Cossins said. "Then you see him in the weight room and the guy is as physical as they come in terms of his strength. He's shredded."  

FISH BITES

• Short-season Jamestown center fielder Juancito Martinez won MVP honors at the New York-Penn League all-star game, going 2-for-2 with a run, an RBI and two stolen bases.

• High Class A Jupiter right fielder Marcell Ozuna took over the lead for home runs in the Florida State League with 23, despite not going deep in 25 July games. He had seven homers so far in August.