The start of the 2020 Major League baseball season has been put on hold but it will begin at some point. We may see games with no fans at the start of the season but still, that is better than no baseball at all. MLB will not have a full season but we should see at least half of the season being played. I will be posting a team preview right here at East Coast Sports Investors, with one team previewed every one-three days. I realize this is going out of order but I have written some others before. Be sure and check back every couple of days or so. I will get them all out before the start of the season.
Miami Marlins (By David Hess)
World Series Odds: 500-1 NL Pennant Odds: 250-1 NL East Odds: 500-1
2019 Recap: Last year it was The Phillies, Mets, Nats, and Braves all posting .500 or better records, and then there were the Miami Marlins who were just 57-105, which put them at 40 games out of first in the NL East. Miami has now won just 120 games the last two years total and they are hoping to start the climb back to respectability this year. It may not be all that easy as the rest of the division is very tough.
The Rotation: The Marlins were not a horrible team on the mound last year as they were 20th in the league with a 4.74 ERA. They have a few young arms that started to show promise. Sandy Alcantara is projected as their ace despite going just 6-14 a year ago. He was not given much in the way of run support and thus his mates wasted his 3.88 ERA. Caleb Smith was 4-4 with a 3.50 ERA at the break last year but 6-7 with a 5.42 ERA after the break. If he can put together a full season like the first half, then he could have a good year. Pablo Lopez, struggled, going 5-8 with a 5.09 ERA, while Jordan Yamamoto was 4-5 with a 4.56 ERA in his first year a season ago. Elieser Hernandez rounds out their rotation after going 3-5 with a 5.03 ERA in 21 games (15 starts) last year. This is a young staff and they will only get better with more experience. The bullpen could be solid overall and Brandon Kintzler has been brought in to be the closer. He was with the Cubs last year and hasn’t been in the closer’s role since 2017 when he was with the Twins. He had 29 saves that year.
The Lineup: The offense has been the weakness of the Fish the last two years as they ranked 29th in the league in scoring last year at 3.80 rpg and 30th the year before at 3.66 rpg. Miami has also hit just 274 homers the last two years combined. In looking at this year’s lineup, it does not have a whole lot of pop in it. Leading off will be Jonathan Villar (3B), who had 24 homers and 73 RBIs for the Orioles last year. Brian Anderson (OF) had 20 homers and 66 RBIs last year but he did miss 36 games. Corey Dickerson (OF) was brought in after spending time with the Pirates and Phillies last year. He had 12 homers and 59 RBIs a season ago. Batting 4th will be Jesus Aguilar (1B), who hit 12 homers and drove in 50 runs for the Brewers and Rays combined last year. He did have 35 homers and 108 RBIs back in 2018 for the Brewers, so he is capable of a big season. Jorge Alfaro (C), Isan Diaz (2B), Miguel Rojas (SS), and Lewis Brinson (OF) round out the projected starting lineup. The Fish have upgraded the top of their lineup with the additions of Villar, Dickerson, and Aguilar and while they will hit more homers, while scoring more runs overall, the offense is still the weakness of this team.
Conclusion: Year three of the Miami rebuild is upon us and just like the last two years they will finish in the basement of the National League East. Miami is an improved team with a pitching staff that is young but has some very solid arms in it. I will look for them to have a better team ERA overall and they could have a solid closer with the addition of Brandon Kintzler, who had a 2.68 ERA in 63 games for the Cubs a year ago. The offense has been among the worst in the league the last two years and while it still will not be good, the Fish have upgraded it with the additions of Villar, Dickerson, and Aguilar. The top of this lineup looks very solid, but the bottom of the lineup will struggle. Miami will be improved this year but not nearly enough to make a run at the division title or even a playoff spot.
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