Wednesday, February 27, 2019

2019 Pre-Season Profile: Miami Marlins


The Miami Marlins have been working to completely remake their franchise ever since Derek Jeter and his ownership group took over the franchise before last offseason.  Now in year two after the complete teardown of their roster, will the Marlins start to show some results from trading away every recognizable face they had?

2018 Predictions
5th in NL East
Half of the Marlins' Opening Day starting lineup will not be on the roster by season's end.

2018 Results

63-98, 5th in NL East

The Marlins went from an interesting team on the verge of doing something great in 2017 to tearing it all down to nothing for 2018.  The new ownership group saw a lineup that wasn't sustainable financially.  What was left for the 2018 season was a Marlins team that resembled some of their early years.  A cheap, young roster with promise and the ability to compete maybe in a few years, but not at all competitive now.  There were a few veterans left on the roster, and I thought they would be gone before the season ended.  However, Justin Bour seemed to be the only to get out mid-season.  They seemed to keep the rest of the lineup in tact the rest of the season.

Additions / Subtractions

The main subtraction seemed to be final piece that needed to be moved from the epic teardown the year before.  J.T. Realmuto's trade to the Phillies brought back their new catcher, Jorge Alfaro, and some top prospects.  Outside of that, the only other moves made were signing some veterans to lead the kids, fill out the roster, and be trade bait come July.  This veteran crew includes Neil Walker, Curtis Granderson, and Sergio Romo.  The most notable change this year will have nothing to do with the roster.  New logo, new jerseys, and no more gigantic statue in centerfield of Marlins Park.

Most Important Hitter
Lewis Brinson

Of all the prospects brought back in the deals from last offseason, Lewis Brinson (acquired in the Christian Yelich deal with Milwaukee) was the biggest name and the most ready to make a major league impact.  He was their Opening Day centerfielder and stayed there most of the season.  However, he had far from a successful season.  Only tallying a .199 batting average and a 62 OPS+ (league average is 100), he was quite a disappointment for such a highly touted prospect.  Brinson has to make huge strides forward this season if he plans to stay a centerpiece of the Marlins' plans going forward.

Most Important Pitcher
Dan Straily

Dan Straily has been quite a journeyman considering he hasn't even reached 30 yet.  He has had one great year in 2016, his only year with the Reds.  The last couple seasons with the Marlins have been good but not great, posting an ERA+ just slightly below average.  If Straily comes out with a strong 2019, then he can help give the Marlins a much more successful season, and possibly be a trade piece at the deadline.  He needs to be above average to have a successful season though.

Prospect to Watch
Sixto Sanchez

The centerpiece of the J.T. Realmuto deal with the Phillies, Sixto Sanchez is thought to be one of the best pitching prospects in the league.  The 20 year old has been often compared to Pedro Martinez thanks to his slight stature and power arm.  After only throwing 46 innings in 2018 in the minors, and knowing how teams are trying to manipulate service time to delay free agency as much as possible, chances are the Marlins will be moving Sanchez along slowly throughout the 2019 season.  However, if the season goes really south for the Marlins and they need something to get the fans excited, they might not be able to help themselves and give Sixto a shot in the big leagues this year.

2019 Prediction
5th in NL East

The Marlins are still rebuilding and have a chance to be better than they were last season, but there is no way they finish anywhere other than the cellar of the NL East.  This has more to do with the strength of the rest of the division than the mediocrity of the Marlins.  All four of the other teams in this division will be competing for a playoff spot.  The Marlins are not there.  They will play better than last year, but might still finish with a worse record simply because of the competition in the division.

Fearless Prediction
The Marlins' starting rotation will all be under 30 years old by the end of the season.

There are only two starters right now that the Marlins have that are 30 years old or over (Dan Straily, Wei-Yin Chen).  With the pitchers the Marlins have that are getting ready to break into the big leagues, these two pitchers might be gone by the end of the season.  Straily will probably be traded, and Chen might just be released with how poorly he has pitched since he has come over from Baltimore.  In their place, look for guys like Sandy Alcantara, Nick Neidert, Jorge Guzman, and (like I said earlier) maybe even Sixto Sanchez to get to starts in their place.

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