They are in the process of rebuilding (once again), but with Jose Fernandez and Christian Yelich now in the Majors, they could be competitive within the next two years. The further development of those two players will determine their future.
The NL East is top heavy with Atlanta and Washington expected to battle for playoff spots. Unfortunately, Miami has to play them a few dozen times this season. Those games could be ugly.
Can Jose Fernandez repeat last season’s NL Rookie of the Year performance? Will Giancarlo Stanton be traded before the All-Star Break?
Here is the 2014 MLB season preview for the Miami Marlins.
2013 Win/Loss Record: 62-100
Key Additions: C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, 3B Casey McGehee, SS Rafael Furcal, 1B/OF Garrett Jones, RP Carlos Marmol, RP Carter Capps, OF Reed Johnson, 3B Ty Wigginton, 2B Jeff Baker, OF Brian Bogusevic & RP Henry Rodriguez
Key Losses: OF Justin Ruggiano, RP Ryan Webb, SP Alex Sanabia, RP Chad Qualls, RP Jon Rauch, OF Chris Coghlan, C Miguel Olivo, SS Nick Green & SS Chris Valaika
Interleague Schedule: AL West + Tampa Bay Rays
Projected Starters: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Garrett Jones, Rafael Furcal, Ed Lucas, Adeiny Hechavarria, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna & Giancarlo Stanton
Projected Starting Rotation: Jose Fernandez, Nate Eovaldi, Henderson Alvarez, Jacob Turner & Tom Koehler
Closer: Steve Cishek
Fantasy Sleeper: OF Marcell Ozuna – Due to the hype surrounding highly-touted prospect Christian Yelich, Ozuna is falling under the radar. He averaged 23 homers a season in the minors, but had issues driving the ball in the Majors. He also has the ability to steal double-digit bases. He is projected to be the starting centerfielder, but there’s always an outside shot that he could end up in Triple-A to start the season. I don’t see that happening. Ozuna is a player you can get late in mixed league drafts and a must-own in NL-only leagues.
Prospect To Keep Your Eye On: SP Andrew Heaney – The Marlins starting rotation leaves a lot to be desired. Heaney is a player the Marlins could fast-track to the Majors. His highest level in the minors is Double-A (only six starts). If Miami finds themselves 20 games under .500 by June, they could pull the trigger and call him up for a tryout. It’s a unlikely he would be called up before the All-Star break, but keep an eye on his progress.
Team Analysis: The Marlins are in full-blown rebuilding mode. They seem to rebuild every 5-6 years, so they have it down to a science. They got more than they bargained for after calling up SP Jose Fernandez last year. He went on to win the NL Rookie of the Year after going 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA and 187 strikeouts in 172 innings pitched. He looks to be the ace Miami hoped he would become. Their other top prospect Christian Yelich was also called up at the end of the season. He had success, but is expected to take a leap this season. The Marlins will most likely trade Giancarlo Stanton at some point this season for more prospects. Prospect Jake Marisnick would be the player who would receive the lion share of the vacant at-bats. The Marlins will once again find themselves near the 100-loss area, but the young talent on the team, and waiting in the minors, could turn this team around by 2016.
2014 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 69.5 (Prediction: UNDER)
2014 Projected Win/Loss Record: 66-96 (5th NL East)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.