Marlins on Another Rebuild

The Marlins have traded their biggest fish in their pond and gotten tiny fishes in hopes they will grow to be big fish. They are taking a page from the book of the Cubs and Astros, decimating the team, lowering the salary structure and hope to receive high draft picks to build a playoff team that will bring fans to the park. The two big fish they have traded are Giancarlo Stanton, the MVP in the National League last year and Marcell Ozuna. That is not going to make the fan base happy. This will be their fourth or fifth rebuild. The Marlins want you to think this one will be different because it is being orchestrated by Derek Jeter. That may not be enough to motivate the fans to come out.

The trade of Stanton to the Yankees got the Marlins hard throwing righty Jorge Guzman. His fastball consistently hits triple digits but it has trouble finding the plate. Last year the Dominican pitched in the rookie league, limiting the opposition to a .212 average and striking out 88 hitters in just 66.2 innings. He also walked about 2.43 batters per nine innings. Next year he should see his debut in the full season league. This is the second time Guzman has been traded, acquired by the Yankees from the Astros in the Brian McCann trade.

The trade of Ozuna got the Marlins the hard throwing Sandy Alcantara from the Cardinals. He is almost a clone of Guzman but stands a couple inches taller at 6′4″ and has more experience. His fastball also easily slices the plate in triple digits but a lack of command led to 3.88 walks per nine innings. He also needs to develop a third pitch to remain in the rotation. Sandy pitched in AA and made his major league debut last year pitching 8 games of relief. His numbers are not as impressive as Guzman with just 7.61 whiffs per nine innings and a .262 opposition average in the minor leagues, but he did pitch against more experienced hitters.

Magneuris Sierra was also acquired from the Cardinals in the Ozuna trade. A swift outfielder he should move Christian Yelich to left field. While his range is good on defense his bat could use a little more consistency on offense. There is no power in his bat so he needs to play the fast man’s game to make an impact. To do that he will need to get on base more to take advantage of his speed. Last year he combined for a .318 OBA, not good enough to hit in the leadoff spot.

The Marlins hope their number one pick of 2017 and 2016, Trevor Rogers and Braxton Garrett pan out. They both throw lefthanded. Rogers is the 2017 pick. He has not pitched yet in the minor leagues. Standing at 6′6″ he rains down mid 90s fastballs, which is excellent velocity for a lefthander. How his pitches play out will be tested in the 2018 season. Garrett was the 2016 first round pick. He will miss the 2018 season because of Tommy John surgery. He relied more on his curveball as his outpitch. How that spin comes back after Tommy John only time will tell.

Two pitchers who could have an impact for the Marlins in 2018 are Dillon Peters and Nick Neidart. At 5′9″ Dillon is small of frame, but his lefthanded arm throws mid-90s fastballs. He started six games for the Marlins last year but his 5.17 ERA was reflective more on his struggles to find the strike zone. Neidert is more a back end of the rotation pitcher. He throws from the right side and relies more on a change to make his pedestrian fastball look more menacing. He was acquired from the Mariners in the Dee Gordon trade. His six poor starts in AA say that is where he will start the 2018 season but the young Marlins could use some rotation help so he could be up by mid-season with a good year.

Brian Anderson should be the starting third baseman for the Marlins next year. As he matures his current gap power could start sending balls over the fences. Last year he made his major league debut, hitting .264 but failing to hit a homerun in 84 at bats. He did hit 22 in the minor leagues with a .492 slugging average. That seems to have dispelled some doubts that he would not hit for enough power to fit at the hot corner. Next year will be a big year for him.

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