NL East Preview: Miami Marlins
5. Miami Marlins
OK, so Florida was terrible last year with all their good players and a high payroll. Their manager, Ozzie Guillen, was a distraction all season, beginning with his effusive praise of Fidel Castro and going from there.
So you start with 69 wins, good for last in the NL East. You add in 15th in runs scored in the 16-team NL, and 11th in pitching. Then you trade all your best veteran players for young players, solidifying Jeffrey Loria as the worst owner in sports. The best pitcher from 2012? Mark Buehrle, 3.74 ERA, gone. Highest batting average? Jose Reyes, .287, gone.
How much lower can Miami go?
And yet, they do now have one of the best farm systems in baseball, thanks to taking the best players from Toronto’s. They do have the best RF in the division, Giancarlo Stanton. And they have some promising young talent at the Major League level. But this team will struggle epically to score runs; they are 3rd worst in the Grapefruit League in runs scored, coming off a season where they were 29th in runs scored in MLB (with their good players). They are, however, giving up the lowest runs surrendered in the Grapefruit League. So maybe they find some good future, at the expense of a watchable present.
Juan Pierre LF
Placido Polanco 3B
Giancarlo Stanton RF
Logan Morrison 1B
Justin Ruggiano CF
Rob Brantly C
Donovan Solano 2B
Adeiny Hechavarria SS
Aside from Stanton, the most experienced position players on the roster are speedster Juan Pierre and 3B Placido Polanco. Neither are in their prime, but they should provide some veteran presence for a young team. Giancarlo Stanton was a beast in 2012, smacking 37 HRs and driving in 86 RBI.
The remainder of the Marlins lineup would be nearly indistinguishable from a high school lineup. Several of the Marlins guppies had decent springs, namely Brantly, but Solano and Hechavarria were horrible and will drag down the lineup.
Steve Cishek (Closer)
The Marlins’ pitching actually has some potential to show promise earlier than anticipated. Ricky Nolasco has been a stalwart for years with the Marlins, and will be a steadying presence. Steve Cishek will hold down the closers role competently, if there are any leads to save. Again, several starters had good springs, though Turner may be dropped in the rotation if he does not improve.