We round out our preview of the NL East as we look at the Marlins. Miami shocked everyone last season by making the playoffs and advancing past the first round. The team struggled to even play games to begin the year as the coronavirus hit the Marlins hard, but they managed to find a way to get by. They look to do more than just survive this time around.
Key Additions: Adam Duvall
Key Subtractions: Jordan Yamamoto
Miami hardly did anything to get better after what was a year in which they outperformed expectations. Given how well they did in 2020, some expected them to try to use the momentum they had and make a push. The team had other ideas as they look to slowly build around their young franchise centerpieces. Guys like Isan Díaz, Jazz Chisholm, Lewis Brinson, Lewin Díaz, and Jesús Sánchez are going to have to pick up the slack if Miami wishes to compete again. If not, last year will be a complete apparition in a year full of weirdness.
The pitching staff for the Marlins has a chance to be very good once again. The majority of the team’s 2020 starts came from players 25 or younger and they turned out to be solid outings. Pablo López, Sandy Alcantara, and Sixto Sanchez look to lead the team as they will be the core that takes this team to the next level. Sixto is the one guy everyone zeros in on, but you can’t forget about Pablo and Sandy. Alcantara has been an above average pitcher every year of his career with last season looking like it could’ve been elite. López took a major step last year and will look to keep pace with Sanchez and Sandy. If all three guys perform like last year, the Marlins could quietly have one of the better rotations in the game.
Ultimately, this team’s success from here on out comes down to how well the young players play. The Marlins tore everything down a few years ago and it is time for them to start seeing that sacrifice breed success. Isan Díaz and Lewis Brinson have both been disappointing while the other three mentioned above don’t have enough service time to make a judgement call. Regardless of what their histories have been, they need to produce. It was career years from unassuming veterans that helped Miami make the postseason last season. That won’t repeat itself this year as the younger group of players are now center stage.
People who assume that the Marlins are going to be very good this year should probably pump the breaks. Their division is one of the best in baseball. Heck, the NL East is very likely the best. If they were in any other division they may have a shot, but given how their rookies and second year guys are going to play larger roles I don’t see things going the same way. I expect Miami to be a bottom feeder once again with a few bright spots along the way.