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Hechavarria showing signs of growth with his glove

ST. PETERSBURG -- It might not seem like it to the average baseball fan who has seen Adeiny Hechavarria make many a sterling defensive play, but in the eyes of his position coach and those who measure fielding metrics there's still plenty of room for the Marlins' shortstop to grow.

And in Wednesday's thrilling 5-4 win over the Rays, a game where Hechavarria made seven assists and turned three big double plays, Marlins infield coach Perry Hill saw growth were most others probably couldn't.

"There were a couple plays last night where the ball was hit so hard that if he wouldn't have been in the right spot he wouldn't have made the play," Hill said Thursday. "But he moved with the count and adjusted with the location of the pitch."

That's something Hechavarria, in the midst of his second season as the Marlins' starting shortstop, didn't do enough of last year, Hill admitted. But that was mainly because he didn't know National League hitters, Hill said.

Last year, Hechavarria ranked next-to-last in Ultimate Zone Rating among shortstops (-9.0) with at least 935 innings played and was tied for 18th among regular shortstops in Defensive Runs Saved above average (-3). Entering Thursday's series finale against the Rays, Hechavarria has improved in both areas since last year with a -3.5 UZR (24th among shortstops) and plus-1 DRS (tied for 11th).

"It's still a learning process," Hill said. "We're probably still a year away from seeing the really good Hech. But as soon as he learns the league, learns the hitters, he retains all this stuff, he'll get better, much better."

Of Hecharria's six errors this season, five have been throwing errors. 

"We've talked about that too," Hill said. "Those lollygag, puff throws, I don't think you'll see that again." 

REDMOND TO ROOKIES: "JUST HAVE FUN."

You never forget your first time -- and Marlins manager Mike Redmond wants to make sure designated hitter Justin Bour and catcher J.T. Realmuto enjoy their MLB debuts on Thursday.

"Just relax and just have fun," Redmond said he told the rookies. "I got a chance to talk to [Realmuto's] mom in the coffee shop in the morning. This is the fun part of managing, being able to see young guys make their MLB debut. I think we all understand how important this day is and not only important is to them, but their families. We all just want them to go out there and have fun in a day they'll never forget. And get that first hit out of the way as soon as possible. As you guys have seen we've been able to bring a lot of young guys to the big leagues for their first opportunity either pitching or position players with their first at-bats."

The last time two Marlins rookie position players made their debuts in the same game -- last July 23 when Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick took the field together at Coors Field in Colorado. Yelich had two hits and Marisnick went hitless in four at-bats.

Redmond said the hard part for Realmuto on Thursday will be slowing things down.

"You're naturally going to be uncomfortable because you haven't had the time with the bullpen guys and the starter and all that stuff," Redmond said. "The best thing you can do is trust your abilities and do as well as you can and have fun. Just allow your abilities and talents to come forward. Sometimes its easier said than done."

Comments

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Marlin Fan

Hechavarria saves the day last night and tonight defensively . Realmutto had a real
Nice debut, no pun intended .# 2 pick for marlins throws 102 .

Marlin Fan

Bullpen is a disaster . Absolutely no consistency .

Russell

and from ESPN's Keith Law, Mr. Kolek doesn't have a 2nd pitch and lacks control. I hope that doesn't mean fast in all directions Marlin Fan.

This organization keeps to their trends of the "power HS arm" or the "tools OF". If Kolek's control issues are as bad as Law makes it out to be I can't see him cracking the rotation anytime soon, dang shame since this year is looking promising even without Fernandez and who knows could have made a Sept. addition out of Rodon.

Lou Vales

Russell, Rodon has thrown a HELL of a lot of pitches.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

Keith Law's opinions are as useless as white crayons, an ashtray on a motorcycle, and decaffeinated coffee. How pertinent is it that a high school kid... A HIGH SCHOOL KID!!!... throw anything other than a 100-MPH fastball??? I think it's fabulous for the Marlins that he hasn't been throwing any breaking pitches at his age!!!

Keith Law is a self-appointed expert and a Red Sox shill with no credibility in the business. He makes himself out to be more, but he's just another media guy and his opinion holds no more weight in baseball circles than any other baseball writer, like Clark or Manny the Sweatshirt. Flav is clearly a better judge of baseball talent than him, and I mean that, since I've seen Flav provide more pertinent information about a player's abilities. I know one thing... Flav goes to more actual games than Law does. In fact, Law was initially denied membership in the Baseball Writers Association because he didn't attend enough games!

Marlin Fan

I think they took him on potential . With good coaching he can develop nicely . Since we have depth at pitching , he doesn't need to be rushed . Look at Moran , last years number one . He's much more seasoned , but is still 2 years away . This pick is more for down the road , maybe 2-4 years . I think Deslafani, Haney , Nicolino all can contribute much sooner at a ML level than this guy now. If he progresss and pans out great . If not we still have something like 6 more picks in the top 100.

A Realist

Kolek isn't going to be playing in the majors anytime soon, guys. This pick is obviously for the future unless he surprises and dominates right away in the minors. This organization has pitching depth so there's no rush to bring him up. Position guys can be had in the later picks. Pitching is the most sure thing to go for that high in the draft.

Happy they finished off the Rays today. Liked what I saw from Bour. I'd like to see him actually play 1st. Maybe in the coming days.

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