Hood went 2-for-4 with a solo home run in Triple-A New Orleans' loss to Colorado Springs on Friday.
He's homered in all four games of the Baby Cakes' road series against the Sky Sox, but Hood has been hammering the ball closer to sea level as well and now has seven homers and 14 RBI in his last nine games. The 27-year-old has a .266/.347/.544 slash line through 46 games at Triple-A this season with 13 home runs and 36 RBI, and if the Marlins are sellers heading into this year's trade deadline, Hood could find himself with a starting job in the majors towards the end of 2017.
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 on the bench, especially after Martin Prado's hamstring injury left a big hole in the Marlins' infield.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly said Saturday that Hood "is probably on the outside looking in, honesty," 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.
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 outfielder 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.
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