Top 5 sleeper candidates for Marlins' roster

Tomas, Nicolino among potential options with Prado, Locke headed toward DL

Top 5 sleeper candidates for Marlins' roster

JUPITER, Fla. -- With third baseman Martin Prado (right hamstring strain) and left-hander Jeff Locke (left biceps strain) expected to start the season on the disabled list, the Marlins have a couple of roster spots to fill.

Miami is not planning on going outside the organization for replacements, which creates opportunities for a number of candidates to be on the big league club when the regular season begins on April 3 at Washington.

Prado expects to miss Opening Day takes a look at five "sleepers" who could be on the Opening Day roster.

Tomas Telis, C

Telis, already on the 40-man roster, is enjoying a solid big league camp, and he may be emerging as a frontrunner to secure the final bench spot. The 25-year-old is a switch-hitter who batted .310 at Triple-A New Orleans last year, and he saw limited big league time with Miami last year.

Telis' RBI single

There are a number of factors trending in Telis' favor. First, A.J. Ellis is recovering from a left hamstring strain, and although he is expected to be ready for Opening Day, his role could be limited early. If the club goes with three catchers, Telis guards against any setbacks to Ellis. He also provides depth behind the plate and frees up regular catcher, J.T. Realmuto, to play some first base.

Justin Nicolino, LHP

If there are any setbacks to the projected rotation, Nicolino could find himself in the starting five when regular-season games begin. Don't discount the left-hander being with the club as a long reliever, either. The organization has made it clear they are looking for two or three relievers who can throw multiple innings. Nicolino, who has always been a starter, could potentially fill that role.

Nicolino strikes out Cespedes

Hunter Cervenka, LHP

The Marlins aren't looking for a lefty specialist in the bullpen, so if Cervenka makes the club, it will be as a multiple-innings option. That doesn't mean he couldn't necessarily be on the Opening Day roster and on occasion get the nod to face a tough left-handed hitter in the late innings.

Cervenka, who is on the 40-man roster, has for the most part pitched effectively this spring. Like most pitchers, he's had his rough innings, too. If he shows in the final two weeks that he can work more than one inning, he could find himself on the trip to Washington.

Matt Juengel, INF

Everyone asks, and his last name is pronounced "Ying-gle." With that out of the way, Juengel is a right-handed first-base/third-base option, and he has impressed in Spring Training. So he could be a bench candidate in Prado's absence.

But Juengel is not on the 40-man roster, so a spot would have to be cleared, should he make the club.

Tyler Moore, INF

A 30-year-old with big league experience, Moore is a right-handed hitter who can play first base, and he's had some time in left field this spring. A non-roster invitee, Moore has an out clause, so the organization is approaching the time to let him know if he is part of their plans.

Moore's two-run homer

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.