Sunday, August 10, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Scouting the NL East: The Miami Marlins

The Marlins´ Giancarlo Stanton. (Lynne Sladky/AP)
The Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton. (Lynne Sladky/AP)

Miami Marlins

Manager: Mike Redmond

Last 5 years: 2013: 62-100, fifth place; 2012: 69-93, fifth; 2011: 72-90, fifth; 2010: 80-82, third; 2009:87-75, second

Additions: C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, OF Jordany Valdespin, 3B Casey McGehee, RHP Carter Capps, SS Rafael Furcal, 1B Ty Wigginton, RF Reed Johnson

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    Losses: OF Chris Coghlan, RHP Ryan Webb

    What to expect: Each year, it seems as if the Marlins are expecting the worst while waiting for their top prospects to develop. After a 100-loss season in 2013, Miami should expect similar results with a combination of players past their prime and kids still learning to play the game at the major league level. Rather than expecting to win their first-ever NL East title, this will be another season to evaluate young talent to determine Miami's long-term outlook.

    One of the young players Miami will continue to build around is 24-year-old rightfielder Giancarlo Stanton. The slugger struggled at times during the 2013 season. He had a batting line of .249/.365/.348 with 24 home runs and 62 RBI, 1 year removed from a .290/.361/.608 season with 37 home runs and 86 RBI. Stanton will be joined by a young group of outfielders with high potential in Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich. With a combined average age of 23 among the three outfielders, the young core may eventually cause havoc in the middle of Miami's lineup, but it's unlikely that it will occur as soon as 2014.

    The Miami pitching staff has a great deal of youthful potential. In addition to 2013 NL Rookie of the Year Jose Fernandez, the rotation is rounded out by Nathan Eovaldi, Henderson Alvarez, Jacob Turner and four others fighting for the final spot. Fernandez, who did not turn 21 until last July, finished 2013 with a 12-6 record, 2.19 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings. He posted a 6.3 WAR, the fifth-best ever by a pitcher 20 or younger.

    Miami's pitching rotation and bullpen had ups and downs in 2013, but there was not much optimism on the offensive side. The Marlins finished last in MLB in most offensive categories, including hits, runs, doubles, home runs, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Expect much of the same, as many of the players surrounding Stanton have yet to establish themselves in the big leagues.

    Miami has finished last in the NL East three consecutive seasons, and could be heading for a fourth in the basement.

    Projected lineup

    * 2B Rafael Furcal

    * OF Christian Yelich

    * OF Giancarlo Stanton

    * 1B Garrett Jones

    * C Jarrod Saltalamacchia

    * 3B Casey McGehee

    * OF Marcell Ozuna

    * SS Adeiny Hechavarria

    Projected rotation

    * RHP Jose Fernandez

    * RHP Nathan Eovaldi

    * RHP Henderson Alvarez

    * RHP Jacob Turner

    * RHP Tom Koehler

    Top relievers

    * LHP Mike Dunn

    * RHP A.J. Ramos

    * CL Steve Cishek

    Tomorrow: Scouting the Braves

    - John Murrow

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