|Anderson's Marlins take on Nimmo's Mets|
MIAMI -- Brandon Nimmo and Brian Anderson have a lot in common.
Both are 25-year-old right fielders in their first full years in the majors. Both are bright spots on teams battling just to stay out of last place in the National League East. And both will be at Marlins Park on Friday night, when Anderson's Miami Marlins will play host to Nimmo's New York Mets in the first of a three-game series.
Anderson, a native of Edmond, Oklahoma, was Miami's third-round pick in 2014. He's not a home run hitter -- just nine long balls in 139 major-leagues since his debut last year -- but he has a strong arm and has made a successful defensive transition from third base to right field this season.
Offensively, Anderson is hitting .285 with 25 doubles, three triples, nine homers 53 RBIs and a .781 OPS.
Nimmo, a native of Cheyenne, Wyoming, and New York's first-round pick in 2011, is hitting .255 after a three-double performance in Wednesday's 8-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds.
Despite 117 fewer plate appearances, Nimmo leads Anderson in homers (14-9); triples (6-3); and OPS (.841-.781).
But Nimmo has also struck out 113 times in 321 at-bats -- only 16 major-leaguers have fanned more often this season.
"I'm still a work in progress," Nimmo told Newsday. "I'm trying to be a more consistent hitter. As time goes on, I am hoping that hard work pays."
Nimmo has become a fan favorite in New York because of his hustle. Nimmo, for example, sprints to first following a walk.
Anderson also has his admirers, including former New York Yankees superstar Derek Jeter, who is now running the Marlins.
"He should be at the top of the list for anyone who talks about Rookie of the Year," Jeter said when asked by reporters about Anderson. "The consistency he's shown -- (some) people don't realize he's third baseman playing right field. That's not easy."
On Friday, Anderson will lead the last-place Marlins (47-69) against the fourth-place Mets (47-65).
The Marlins will start right-hander Jose Urena (3-11, 4.66 ERA), whose fastball averages 95.7 mph. He started the season 0-8 but has been 3-3 since.
New York will counter with right-hander Zack Wheeler (6-6. 3.89 ERA), whose fastball averages an identical 95.7 mph.
Wheeler has clearly had the better season so far, and he is currently on a career-best, four-game win streak. He has not allowed a run in 17 consecutive innings, and he matched his season high with nine strikeouts in his most recent start.
Urena is just 1-8 with a 4.29 ERA in 14 home starts this season. Wheeler is 3-1 with a 3.81 ERA in nine road starts.
Wheeler is also 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA in three second-half starts.
First baseman Justin Bour leads the Marlins in homers (19) and RBIs (54). But catcher J.T. Realmuto, Miami's only All-Star this year, leads the team in batting average (.290), OPS (.841) and doubles (24). He has also been exceptional throwing runners out and is likely the fastest catcher in the majors.
"He is one of the best all-around catchers in the majors," Jeter said. "He's a guy we'd love to have on our roster long-term."