The Florida Marlins must have signed a deal with the devil. Their overall payroll is $22 million dollars, which is less than A-Rod or Manny Ramirez makes in a year. Their team is filled with kids under the age of 25 and still win more games than expected. They are currently in 1st place in the NL East, which was supposed to be a 3-way race among the Phillies, Mets, and Braves. They have so much talent that they kept their #1 prospect, Cameron Maybin, in the minors to mature, since they are already loaded with outfielders.
Hanley Ramirez is this team’s MVP and he will be the league MVP before his career is over. He’s the definition of a five-tool player with his power, speed, high batting average, defense, and a rocket arm. He was acquired in the Josh Beckett deal with the Boston Red Sox. Beckett helped the Sox win championships, but you would have to think that they didn’t know what they had. Ramirez will command a $200 million dollar contract when he is a free agent. He is the best hitting shortstop since Alex Rodriguez played the position.
Josh Willingham, Jeremy Hermida, and Alfredo Amezaga are the outfielders for the Marlins. Luis Gonzalez, who is their lone veteran position player, he platoons and is a positive influence on the young players. Maybin is waiting in the wings if one of the outfielders doesn’t produce, which will only make these guys play harder. Hermida and Willingham were highly-touted prospects, they have a lot of talent, but yet to stay healthy enough to play up to their potential. They have both played very well this year and look for them to have breakout seasons.The infield could possibly be one of the best offensive infields in the league. Jorge Cantu has been a surprise so far this year and if he continues to hit for power, will have over 30 home-runs. Dan Uggla, their second-basemen, has surprised everyone since 2006 and he is still producing. Mike Jacobs is my favorite in this group, he seems to have enough raw power to hit 40+ homers and could possibly draw a lot of prospects in a trade, behind Ramirez. If the Marlins can find an everyday catcher in their farm system, this Marlins team will be solid from top to bottom.
The Achilles’ heel of the Marlins would be their pitching. Scott Olsen and Mark Hendrickson have been pitching great, but is questionable if they can sustain this over an entire season. Andrew Miller, a piece they received in return in the Cabrera/Willis trade to Detroit, should gain some experience this season. They need him to work long enough into games that their bullpen doesn’t get tired out. Kevin Gregg, their closer, has experience in the role and should be solid over the stretch.We may only be a quarter into the season, but if the Marlins keep putting up runs, their pitching will have won’t be pressured and be relaxed. Florida always has a small-window for winning a championship, all of these prospects will command huge contacts and will only be around for a couple seasons.