Overview - The 2016 season had to be one of the worst for the Marlins. Even though they finished in third place how can you close out a season when one of your more popular players, Jose Fernandez dies in a boating accident. Myworld does not know how anyone can motivate themselves to finish the remainder of the season, especially when there were no playoff implications. It will be difficult replacing their ace pitcher. Another third place finish awaits them because they lack their ace. Edinson Volquez was signed as a free agent to replace the lost arm of Fernamdez, but he falls far short of what Fernandez could give the Marlins. It would be ideal if they could finally get one complete season out of Giancarlo Stanton to determine if he could hit 40 homeruns. It is a large park they play in and the team was 29th in the majors in homeruns.
Strengths - Their outfield is one of the best in baseball. Giancarlo Stanton provides the power and is a solid defender in right field. Marcell Ozuna has some pop in his bat and will move over to left field. Christian Yelich should compete for batting titles and his superior defensive skills will put him in center field. Yelich does not have the arm for center but covers more ground than Ozuna. Ichiro Suzuki is more than a capable backup in left or right field. Myworld likes J.T. Realmuto and what he can provide behind the plate and with the bat. Last year he hit .303 with 11 homeruns, strafing righthanded pitching at a .322 clip. It would not surprise myworld to see Realmuto make the All Star team this year. Dee Gordon has speed and with a full season can still 50 plus bases. He does need to improve on his .305 OBA.
Weaknesses - The starting pitching has holes. Wei-Yin Chen is not an ace. He is usually good for six innings but then his pitches start to fade. Last year was a bit of a struggle for him, giving up 22 homeruns in just 123 innings. He is better suited for someplace in the middle of the rotation. Myworld does not really see an ace on this staff with Edinson Volquez and his 5.37 ERA taking on that role. Dan Straily was acquired from the Reds but he is more back end of the rotation. His 3.76 ERA would be tops in this rotation. Adam Conley and Tom Koehler should complete this very vanilla starting staff. Adeiny Hechivarria is a superb defensive shortstop but he provides little in offense. Justin Bour provides the potential for power at first base but he struggles against left handed pitching and his defense is suspect.
Break out Prospects - Myworld liked what we saw from Brian Anderson at spring training. He showed some good pop with defensive skills to play third base. His only chance to play this year would be an injury to Martin Prado and Dee Gordon that forces Derek Dietrich to move to second. Tayron Guerrero needs to work on throwing strikes. His whole minor league career has been spent in the bullpen, but he throws hard and misses bats. We also liked what we saw from Drew Steckenrider. He has a burly frame at 6′5″ and splits the plate in the mid-90s. He pitched out of the pen last year but that could have been because of his 2013 Tommy John surgery. Myworld would like to see him in the rotation. J.T. Riddle could break out as a utility player but he does not offer a lot to get excited about.
Prospects to Watch - It will be the professional debut for Braxton Garrett, their 2016 number one pick. The Marlins decided to rest him after he pitched for the 18 and under USA team. His best pitch is his curveball but the lefthander can get low 90s velo on his fastball. Tyler Kolek was the Marlins first round pick in 2014 but missed all of last year after Tommy John surgery. He is 6′5″ and 260 with a fastball that hits the triple digits on the radar guns. We put Stone Garrett on this list because we like his name. He does have some potential for power but has a lot of swing and miss in his swing, which is a reason for his .213 batting average.
Expected Finish - This team will be closer to fourth than to second.