2019 Team Preview #2: Miami Marlins

 

Welcome to the Team Previews! In case you missed it, check out the initial offering on the Chicago White Sox

On to the preview!

Last Year

2018 Record: 72-90, 5th in NL East, 24 games back

2018 was a frustrating year for fans in The Magic City – the Marlins finished 5th in the East for the 3rd straight season. After a quiet off-season, can they lift themselves out of the cellar?

Key Additions

SP/RP Joe Wieland (FA)
RP Shawn Morimando (SEA via Trade)
RP Antonio Bastardo (FA)

Key Losses

2B Raul Aguilera (Rule 5)
RP Jeremy Gabryszwski (TOR via Waivers)
C Miguel Angel Alvarez (SEA via Trade)
SP Jake Peavy (FA)

Lineup/Rotation Projection

While the White Sox whipped players around the league with a fervor, the Marlins more or less stood pat. Their offense will be paced by league cornerstone 1B Miguel Cabrera (.275, 26 HR, 75 RBI) and he’ll be suposed be a pair of young OFs: RF Henry Powell (14 HR) and CF Norm Rolli (.785 OPS). Corey Seager (.272) and C Kyle Skipworth (.267, 14 HR) will also be key to the run production. The biggest “addition” might be more playing time for young LF Jose Gonzalez (.885 OPS in 102 PA) – but the main question about the Tapachula native is, will his superlative bat outweigh his sluggish defense in left?

The rotation is where it’s at for the Marlins. 2018 Rookie of the Year Runner-Up Walker Buehler (10-9, 3.35 ERA) heads the rotation, which is more of a 4-headed beast than a set rotation. Behind him are excellent arms in Lance McCullers (3.52 ERA), John Lamb (12-8, 3.24 ERA) and Richard White (3.35 ERA). The one area the Fish did improve is the pen where Branden Kline (22 saves in 2017) and his wide array of plus pitches aims to secure the close games the Fish are sure to see themseleves in all year.

Outlook

The NL East was easily MLB Pro’s quietest division in the off-season, with really only the Nationals making major moves to improve their team. The Mets, Braves and Phillies will largely run back the same squads that saw themselves sit 11+ games better than the Marlins.

But the Marlins are onto something with this rotation. The offense is shaping up to very inconsistent, but it’s possible that the team wins enough of those 2-1, 3-2 contests to be respectable. I think they still finish in 5th though, albeit a “closer” 5th, at 76-86 and enter next offseason tasked with finding some runs to support those starters