Saturday, March 18, 2017

Miami Marlins 2017 season preview


     
With a record of 79-82, the Miami Marlins finished 3rd in the NL East, 15.5 GB of the first place Washington Nationals. Midseason, they encountered a tragedy, when ace pitcher Jose Fernandez passed away in a boating accident. After that occurred on September 25, the Marlins spent the rest of the season grieving his death. 2017 is the year the Marlins get passed it, and start to focus mainly on winning. To replace Fernandez on the roster, GM Michael Hill needed to acquire players, mostly pitchers (it would be near impossible to replace Fernandez's talents, so Hill needed mostly to stock on many extra pitchers, so Manager Don Mattingly will have many starting options). Let's look at what Hill did.

       Key additions: SPs Edinson Volquez, Dan Straily, Jeff Locke, RPs Brad Ziegler, Junichi Tazawa, C A.J. Ellis, 1B Tyler Moore, OFs Brandon Barnes, Matt den Decker.
       Key subtractions: RP Matt Dunn, SP Andrew Cashner, 3B Chris Johnson, C Jeff Mathis.

       Biggest move: The guy who helped the Kansas City Royals win the 2015 WS with his 3.55 ERA in 200.1 IP, Edinson Volquez struggled in 2016 with a 5.37 ERA in 189.1 IP. The Marlins took a chance on him, signing him to a 2 year, $22 million deal. He can be at the top of their rotation in 2017.
        X-factor: If the Marlins want to have a successful 2017 season, they need 2B Dee Gordon. He only had 325 ABs last year after being suspended 80 games for PED use. He did have 30 SBs in that short 2016 that he had. He has 218 career SBs and an average of .289 in 553 games. He's a big part of this Marlins team, and he can't be doing stupid things like PEDs.
         Biggest bounce back: In 2014 and 2015 (his last years as a Baltimore Oriole), Wei-Yin Chen had an ERA under 3.55 in 185 or more IP. After signing a 5 year, $80 million deal with the fish, Chen had a bad year, with an ERA of 4.96 in 123.1 IP. He'll need to step up and pitch like the number one or two guy he was in Baltimore.
         Biggest breakout: You could say he's already broken out, but I disagree. 26 year old Kyle Barraclough has had a great start to his MLB career, with a 2.78 ERA in 97 IP over 2 seasons. A great 2017 setting up A.J. Ramos can turn Barraclough into a top set up guy.
         Guaranteed star: Injuries have always been a problem for RF Giancarlo Stanton, but when he's healthy, he's amazing. Take his 2014 season, for instance. Stanton hit .288, 37 HRs and 105 RBIs in 539 ABs. But the only other year in his career where he had at least 500 ABs was 2011, when they were called the Florida Marlins.
         The Marlins' lineup should look like this.

1. 2B: Dee Gordon
2. CF: Christian Yelich
3. RF: Giancarlo Stanton
4. 1B: Justin Bour
5. LF: Marcell Ozuna
6. C: J.T. Realmuto
7. 3B: Martin Prado
8. SS: Adeiny Hechavarria
9. Pitcher
             Their rotation will probably be this.

1. Wei-Yin Chen
2. Edinson Volquez
3. Adam Conley
4. Dan Straily
5. Tom Koehler

              RF Ichiro Suzuki, C A.J. Ellis and 2B Derek Dietrich will be on the bench.
              A.J. Ramos will be their closer, with Kyle Barraclough and Brad Ziegler setting him up.

              Finally, for my prediction, I think the Marlins will improve in 2017, but miss the postseason.

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