Martin Prado's repeated injury setbacks paved the way for Derek Dietrich to hold down the fort at third base for most of last season. Though he sacrificed his second-base eligibility in most settings as a result, Dietrich at least regained the power stroke he was missing for much of the 2016 campaign. With his hard-hit and flyball rates aligning more closely with his career norms, Dietrich used the extended playing time to set new career highs in home runs, RBI and runs. A strict platoon player for much of his career, Dietrich also showed improvement against lefties with a .307 batting average over 87 plate appearances, though a .404 BABIP in those matchups likely had much to do with his success. With Prado expected back during spring training and third-base prospect Brian Anderson ready for a longer look in the majors, Dietrich may transition to a full-time role in the outfield in 2018.
Manager Don Mattingly stated that Dietrich is "penciled in" as the Marlins' starting left fielder going into spring training, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports. Dietrich was forced to man the hot corner for most of the 2017 season due to Martin Prado's assortment of injuries and will now transition to a full-time outfielder role as Brian Anderson looks to secure the starting gig at third. The 28-year-old slashed .249/.334/.424 with 13 home runs and 53 RBI while playing in a career-high 135 games last year. As of now, the rest of the outfield is sort of a mystery, which should allow for plenty of playing time for Dietrich, although his RBI opportunities will likely take a hit due to the vast departure of talent in Miami this offseason.
Dietrich agreed to a one-year contract with the Marlins on Friday, avoiding arbitration, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports. Dietrich reached triple digits in the hits column for the first time in his career in 2017 as he logged 464 plate appearances for the Marlins. He could approach 600 plate appearances in 2018, with everyday playing time likely in Miami's depleted lineup, but with only middling power and no speed, Dietrich's upside is capped.
Dietrich is out of the lineup for Sunday's matchup against the Braves, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports. For the second straight day, Brian Anderson will start at third base instead of Dietrich. Over the last seven games, Dietrich has picked up just three hits across 16 at-bats and has been withheld from the starting lineup three times.
Dietrich is not in the lineup for Saturday's game against the Braves, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports. Despite hitting a homer in Friday's 7-1 win over the Braves, Dietrich will give way to Brian Anderson at the hot corner for the third time in four games. While he's slashing a respectable .264/.367/.473 in 34 games since the start of August, it looks like he could continue to lose out on at-bats to Anderson, who is one of the Marlins' top prospects.
Dietrich is not in the lineup for Thursday's game against the Braves, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports. Dietrich will head to the bench for a second straight game as Brian Anderson draws another start at the hot corner. He's hit a respectable .267/.374/.457 with four homers since the start of August, but may continue to lose out on at-bats to Anderson, who is one of the team's top prospects.