Wednesday, April 1, 2020

2020 Pre-Season Profile: Miami Marlins


The Miami Marlins had the lowest attendance in the National League in 2019 after yet another season of floundering in the "rebuilding" stage.  Will 2020 finally see a change in the fortunes of South Beach?

2019 Predictions
#28 - 5th in NL East
MIH: Lewis Brinson
MIP: Dan Straily
PTW: Sixto Sanchez
FP: The Marlins' starting rotation will all be under 30 years old by the end of the season.

2019 Results
#28 - 57-105, 5th in NL East

The Marlins spent a second straight season in the cellar of the NL East after trading away their All Star outfield after the 2017 season.  They are still waiting for some of the prospects they picked up in those trades to hit big at the top level.  Lewis Brinson, the centerpiece of the Christian Yelich trade, only played in 75 games hitting .173 and an OPS+ of 24.  Dan Straily was my Most Important Pitcher last season, and he didn't make the Opening Day roster.  Miami is still eagerly awaiting the debut of top prospect Sixto Sanchez, the centerpiece of the J.T. Realmuto deal.  As for my Fearless Prediction, there were a total of 4 games started by someone 30+ years old for Miami last season (Hector Noesi) while most were made by sub-25 year-olds.

Additions / Subtractions

The Marlins had an interesting offseason as they decided to pick up some veteran players that could make an impact to go along with their developing young core.  So enter Jesus Aguilar, Jonathan Villar, and Corey Dickerson to stabilize the batting order.  The only impact players leaving the team were Starlin Castro, leaving in free agency, and Curtis Granderson, who retired.

Most Important Hitter
Brian Anderson

The best player on the Marlins last season was Brian Anderson, hitting his way to an OPS+ of 114 and a WAR of 3.7.  At age 26, his peak could still be ahead of him as he makes a case for being a centerpiece moving forward.  Either that, or he is trying to be a candidate for the next Marlin star traded away for prospects.

Most Important Pitcher
Sandy Alcantara

Sandy Alcantara was a rookie in 2019.  He also was the Marlins only All Star and their best pitcher all season, having an ERA+ of 109 and almost hitting 200 innings.  If the Marlins have done anything right in their successful seasons, it has been developing great young pitching, and with Alcantara entering only his age 24 season, he should be the next in a great line of aces in Miami if he continues to develop.

Prospect to Watch
Jesus Sanchez

There are five Marlins prospects listed in the Top 100 Prospects in all of baseball, with Sixto Sanchez topping the list at #22.  He is going to be a stud when he hits the big leagues, but I decided to highlight another prospect that might have a great debut in 2020.  Jesus Sanchez is the 4th best prospect in the Marlins system and the 80th best prospect in baseball.  This 22 year old outfield is an all-around player and has a chance to be a standard in the Marlins lineup for the foreseeable future.

2020 Prediction
5th in NL East

There is very little chance the Marlins leave the cellar of the NL East in 2020, but that doesn't mean they will take strides forward.  I love the moves they made to improve their lineup, and when you combine that with their young players about to take a step forward, and the young rotation ready to burst out, I could see the Marlins being a pleasant surprise throughout the season that flirt with a .500 record.  It isn't like they will threaten for a playoff spot, but ... baby steps.

Fearless Prediction
The Marlins will win a World Series in the next 5 years.

The Marlins are one of the most interesting teams in baseball.  Fronted by CEO Derek Jeter, they are heading in the right direction and should be threatening for a playoff spot soon.  The Marlins have made the playoffs twice in their 25+ year history.  Both times they made the playoffs they won the World Series.  If they finally make their way back to the playoffs soon, don't be surprised if they just go all the way.