Destin Hood got his first taste of the majors in 2016 as a 26-year-old outfielder. In his time in the bigs, he hit .240 over 25 plate appearances with one home run, two RBI and one double. Not surprisingly, he struggled to adapt to pitchers at the top level, striking out 44 percent of the time while failing to draw a walk. He did have a fairly good season for Triple-A New Orleans, slashing .267/.316/.435 with 15 home runs and 80 RBI in 522 plate appearances across 126 games. In his 2015 season at Triple-A, he walked 7.1 percent of the time and struck out 21.6 percent of the time, an improvement from 2015, when he was fanned on 33.3 percent of his plate appearances in just 63 plate appearances with Triple-A Colorado Springs. Hood could find a place as a utility outfielder for the Marlins in 2017, though the Marlins have their fair share of outfield depth.
Hood was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans on Thursday, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports. The 26-year-old turned heads in big-league camp with a .283/.346/.478 line in 25 plate appearances and, if a need in the outfield arises, should be among the club's first options to fill it. Single-season NL-only fantasy players who can comfortably stash minor leaguers should consider tucking him away.
Hood went 3-for-3 with two doubles and two RBI in Sunday's split-squad game against the Nationals. The two-baggers came against Stephen Strasburg and Shawn Kelley, so Hood did everything he could to impress the Marlins' brass Sunday. Despite a .308/.364/.538 slash line through 39 spring at-bats, though, the 26-year-old is probably headed back to Triple-A New Orleans to begin the season, as the team doesn't appear to have room for a fifth outfielder, especially after Martin Prado's hamstring injury left a big hole in the infield.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly said Saturday that Hood "is probably on the outside looking in, honestly," when it comes to winning a spot on the big league roster, The Sun-Sentinel reports. "I still think he's got room to grow in Triple-A," Mattingly continued. "Probably had his best year last year. ... He's a guy that's growing and, you know, he's a guy that we know is there and is on the way. If we have an injury, then he's a guy that'd be ready." The 26-year-old is having a good camp so far, launching his first home run of the spring Saturday and hitting .308 (4-for-13) through the first week, but the Marlins are planning to use a short bench this season and carry an extra bullpen arm instead, leaving no room for Hood as a fifth outfielder. He'll work on his contact skills and overall offensive game at Triple-A New Orleans in 2017, but if Giancarlo Stanton breaks down again, Hood could become an interesting FAAB target.
Hood will compete for a spot on the Marlins' bench in spring training. The 26-year-old has flashed both power and speed in the minors, including 15 home runs and 11 steals in 126 Triple-A games last season, but his lack of plate discipline limits Hood's upside as a major league hitter. The Marlins already have four outfield spots spoken for as well, with Ichiro Suzuki as their fourth OF behind starters Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna, so even if he has a big spring, Hood could be squeezed back to Triple-A New Orleans.
Hood had his contract selected Thursday and will join the major league team, Andre Fernandez of the Miami Herald reports. Hood has been enjoying a good season with Triple-A New Orleans, where he's slashing .267/.316/.435 and added 15 home runs to go along with 80 RBI. The 26-year-old has never appeared in the majors in his career, but he'll now have the opportunity with the expanded rosters at the start of September. Raudel Lazo was designated for assignment in a corresponding move to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.