By: Jaden Taylor
The Miami Marlins this past year have been a team seemingly spiraling out of control. Although partnering owner Derek Jeter exclaims he has a plan for the future many fans feel like it’s just another failing fire sale. The Marlins this year have met that expectation with so far the second worst record in the National League at 53-79 and don’t look to be coming out of the basement anytime soon. With these struggles, the team is on pace for not only the worst attendance ratings in the MLB but the worst attendance rating in franchise history, even with more home games than any other team to this point(68). Currently, the Marlins get an average paid attendance, including the fans who paid and didn’t show up, of 10,054 people. The average attendance at Marlins Park this season is over four thousand worse than Tropicana Field(14,957 per game) the next lowest attended park and over four times as less as the top 3 attended parks in Dodger Stadium(46,825 per game), Yankee Stadium(43,348 per game) and Busch Stadium(42,261 per game). In as large of a town that Miami is if the Marlins aren’t winning the fans don’t have any interest much like the other teams, even when they finished second in the National League East and only three spots out of the wild card. In fact, all three of the Dolphins, Heat, and Panthers have dropped drastically in attendance in recent years in sight of somewhat mediocre play. Now with these low attendance rates, the team is barely able to sustain itself and it’s core values, showing with the third lowest payroll in baseball. With the team's many fire sales, horrible contracts, bad trades and some unexpected tragedies the team has put themselves into a far, far whole. But here we would like to see the what if of the Marlins team and how well It could do as a financially stable team and the truly stacked lineup the team would have. For this what if we’re gonna keep in the restraints of transactions and players after the 2008 season. Sorry, all of the Miguel Cabrera fans out there but the Marlins didn’t just star talent in the All-Star 1st and 3rd baseman but also lost multiple talents in who they received.
2. Dan Straily
Dan Straily is a strong piece to the Marlins that they picked up from the Reds to keep some kind of rotation depth. So far Straily has done very well for the Marlins even if his W-L record doesn’t show it. Straily has kept an even point of letting up around 8 hits per nine and striking out just around 8 batters per nine. Although the Marlins keep Straily they did let go of possible future star in Luis Castillo in the trade, a non abundant home grown pitcher who could soon become an ace for the Reds.
3. Wade Leblanc
Leblanc is currently having an amazing year with the Seattle Mariners as their number 3 starter and has kept his hit rating down to 8.0 per game. Leblanc played a year and a half with the Marlins and was later in June of 2013 picked off of waivers by the Houston Astros for money expenses. Leblanc is a consistent lefty who had his two best years of his career so far with the Marlins stats wise with a 3.67 ERA and 1.70 FIP. Leblanc if not traded would be a large help for the Marlins pitching staff.
4. Anibal Sanchez
Anibal Sanchez the underrated righty was with the Marlins for a long stint with the solid Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco and Dontrelle Willis surrounding him. In 2012 he was traded to the Detroit as the Marlins needed to cut payroll from the money they had wasted on José Reyes and a new stadium. Anibal the next year had the best ERA in the American League at 2.57, has lowered his hits per 9 to 8.1 and grown his strikeouts per nine to 8.5 after leaving the Marlins. He is currently the #4 starter on the Braves roster and an excellent year.
5. Henderson Alvarez
Alvarez was traded to the Marlins along Adeiny Hechavarria, Anthony Descalfani, Jeff Mathis and 3 other minor league prospects for Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes and cash to be able to open up space with the large contract of failing Jose Reyes. Over three years Alvarez stayed as the number 2 starter behind Jose Fernandez and was solid throughout his time and was an All Star in 2014. Through his time with the Marlins he had a FIP of 3.47 and a WHIP of 1.22. Sense being let go into Free Agency in 2015 hasn’t been as solid as he was with the Marlins he has had his issues with shoulder injuries which have put him away from the game. If the Marlins hadn’t let Alvarez go he would easily would’ve been able to pick up a 5 spot in the rotation and be consistent.
Other notable pickups
Wei-Yin Chen- With or without Jose Fernandez’s death the Marlins needed to pick up some starting pitching help and Chen was a notable option who was affordable. As long as he gets the number of long balls down he would easily be able to stay in the main rotation or get a #1 or #2 spot n AAA New Orleans.
Jarlin Garcia- Garcia has been on and off with the Marlins so far but looks to be improving and could also be put into the main rotation when needed. He just needs a year or two to developed.
Jose Ureña- Jose even with his confrontations with Ronald Acuña is a stellar young right handed pitcher with lots of potential. He keeps the number of home runs down and a has lowered his WHIP within the past year. At 26 he has lots of potential to become a solid right handed starter.
CL Andrew Miller- Miller was a pickup in the Miguel Cabrera trade from the Tigers and was originally slotted as a Starter which was a desperate need for the Marlins who were getting rid of their high contracted players. With the Marlins he had a 5.89 ERA over three years and after being traded away became one of the scariest relievers in the game. If only the Marlins put him in the bullpen sooner.
SU Brad Hand- Hand was a strong force in the bullpen but couldn’t seem to ever pull off a save. Through his 5 years in Miami he kept a FIP of 4.54 and only completed 1 single save. In April of 2016 Brad Hand was picked up by the Padres and sense has become a strong reliever and has made multiple all star game appearances.
SU Steve Cishek- Cishek was the Marlins dominant closer over a six year period. With his submarine type throwing motion he was easily able to deceive hitters and get them to swing at god-awful pitches. Through his time with the Marlins he kept a FIP of 2.69 had a WHIP at 1.22 and racked up 94 saves. However in 2015 his stats blundered a little bit and the Marlins couldn’t keep up with his contract and traded him away for Kyle Barraclough who is another reliever but hasn’t done his deserved work with the Marlins. After being traded back and forth Cishek now resides in Chicago where he has helped the Cubs rise up to the best record in the National League.
MR AJ Ramos- Ramos was another solid bullpen piece the Marlins surrounded by Hand and Cishek. Before being traded away in 2017 to the Mets for small prospects Ramos a FIP of 3.24 and had earned himself 92 saves over 6 years, Ramos if not been traded would’ve helped the Marlins keep a solid fastball pitcher.
MR Carter Capps- Capps along with Cishek was a pickup to deceive. With his hop step motion hitters weren’t able to pick up the ball, no matter what pitch came at them. Capps was acquired via trade from the Mariners for a 3rd round draft pick. In his 2 years Capps had the best stint of his career keeping a FIP of 1.59 had a WHIP of 0.95 and struck out an average of 14.6 batters per nine innings. In 2015 the Marlins needed to get rid of Jarred Coast and his contact and ended up trading Capps along with Coast and two minor league prospects to the Padres fro cheaper paid Andrew Cashier, Tyron Guerrero, Colin Rea and cash. He would jump around from the minor league and major league clubs in the Padres organization but at only 26 years old he has loads of potential.
MR Nick Wittgren- Wittgren is another homegrown talent drafted in 2012 by the Marlins. He is a working ground-ball pitcher who can work his way out of a jam. With a FIP of 3.11 he isn’t near a closer but still can help with depth on the Marlins roster.
MR Drew Steckenrider- Steckenrider is another middle reliever who is homegrown being drafted in the 8th round in 2012. He’s a lot like Wittgren as he’s able to work out of jams in necessary times. He’s kept a FIP of 3.28 and strikes out and average of 11.8 batters per nine innings. He is still currently apart of the Marlins and a violent force for the Marlins bullpen.
LR Adam Conley- Conley like Miller was originally a starter who moved to the bullpen. The Marlins like most teams would easily need an 8 man bullpen to keep in need of later injuries and just overall pitching depth. Conley has been in the Marlins organization sense the start of his career and as a starter did decent yet still had some difficulty in stamina. Sense being put into his bullpen his WHIP has dropped almost 400 points and has already scored two saves so far this year even with being the teams long reliever.
C JT Realmuto- A young all star Catcher who can only get better. Realmuto is a young Catching star which is hard to come by in the majors. At 27 he is a very valuable piece who can hit for average and still consistently hit for power. This year he is hitting .282/.344/.486 which is only behind behind veteran all star Buster Posey.
1B Justin Bour- Bour is a consistent power-hitting first baseman who in 2017 made the Home Run Derby. Your was picked up in the Rule 5 draft from the Cubs in 2013 and although struggling this season he has multiple years with .270+ average with 20+ home runs. At 30 years old he’s a current veteran who can mash balls into the right field bleachers yet still consistently get on base. On August 10th Bour was traded away with cash to the Philadelphia Phillies to free up space on the minimal amount of money the Marlins could spend on him.
2B Dee Gordon- Gordon was traded away in last offseason trade spree to free up cash to the Mariners for a few minor league prospects after having a solid three years with the Marlins winning the batting title in 2015 and stealing the most bases in the National League in both 2015(58) and 2017(60). His defensive skill adds to the value he put on the Marlins with a Fielding Percentage of .984 over his few years with the Marlins. Although when acquiring Gordon the Marlins did lose valuable players in Austin Barnes, Andrew Heaney and Kike Hernandez the all around presence of Gordon out at second and at the plate surpasses the presence of those three players and could easily have caused a loss in other tar talent including JT Realmuto.
3B Brian Anderson- Anderson so far this year has become a rookie sensation for the Marlins. He’s played both 3B and RF this year and has played stellar defense all around not to mention the bat he holds in his hands. Anderson is currently third in National League Rookie of the Year behind Ronald Acuña Jr. and Juan Soto. Brian Anderson hitting .276/.357/.402 and only at 25 has lots of potential for the future.
SS Adeiny Hechavarria- Hechavarria while not a consistent star like many of the other players on this list Hech is a solid defensive Shortstop with range out of his mind. He was picked up in the trade with Henderson Alvarez from the Toronto Blue Jays was immediately a defensive presence out at shortstop and once Dee Gordon joined the club the connections seemed to be unreal. In his time with the Marlins he turned 351 double plays placing in the top 5 three straight years as a Marlins in turning two. With that he has kept a .984 and was third in the least amount of errors committed at SS in 2013 with the Marlins. Although not always the most consistent at the plate he batted .255/.292/.336 throughout his 5 years with the Marlins before being traded to the Tampa Bay Rays for a solid prospect in Braxton Lee who has been in s controversial state of if he’ll become a bust.
LF Marcell Ozuna- Although starting his career with the Marlins in center Ozuna has an explosive offensive piece to the Marlins in combining in what was and could’ve still been the most explosive outfield in the majors if the Marlins had not gutted the team in the teams recent fire sale. In 2017 Ozuna although in the shadows of Giancarlo Stanton’s mashing of balls was having the best year of his career hitting .312 and hitting a massive 37 home runs, third best among National League batters. Ozuna if not been traded arguable could’ve had an even better year in 2018 than 2017 although he hasn’t shown as much pop with the Cardinals as he did with the Marlins. Ozuna although being traded for needed pitching prospects has been paid over 2 and half times as much money and hasn’t produced nowhere near as much as he did with the Marlins organization.
CF Christian Yelich- Baby face Yelich has become an even bigger star with the Brewers than with the Marlins. Yelich was another piece of the huge fire sale of last offseason and was sent away for struggling prospects Isan Diaz, Monte Harrison and Lewis Brinson who haven’t shown as much progress as predicted. Yelich currently hitting .309/.372/.533 this year is having the best year of his career while still only being 26. In my opinion Yelich was the most all around valuable piece of last years fire sale as he hasn’t had a single year under .280 and had a WAR of 10.1 over 5 years with the Marlins while still progressing. Yelich as well as being a force behind the plate has consistently seemed to come in clutch when needed out in the outfield. Yelich in his time with the Marlins had .991 fielding percentage and had 19 outfield assists. Yelich was a consistent all around OF who can only get better at the age of 26.
RF Giancarlo Stanton- Stanton had an MVP 2017 season and can also be arguably the most valuable piece in the fire sale last offseason. Stanton has been able to hit bombs his entire career as long as he doesn’t fall for a slider. Stanton was first in Home Runs in the National League both in 2014 and 2017 and led in slugging percentage in 2012, 2014 and 2017. In his 8 years with the Marlins Stanton batted .268/.360/.554 shoeing he still can get on base through walks and hits. Stanton although not not having as great if a year as he did in last years demolishment of pitchers is still having a decent year with the stacked Yankees but if you believe that he isn’t doing as well cause he “is actually surrounded by talent,” you are absolutely wrong. Stanton was surrounded by stars of Ozuna, Yelich, Realmuto, Gordon and Bour not to mention the star bullpen to add onto it and while his contract was very high he put a value on the Marlins that didn’t just mean winning ballgames. It put people in seats and put more money into the organization. Fernandez and many others had a passion and expression of fun that brought people into the park and watch the team play, no matter the score of the game. He brought people to the games and if not been traded for scraps would’ve kept it that way.
C Jeff Mathis- Mathis was also picked up in the trade with Hechavarria and Alvarez and in his 4 years kept the backup role behind AJ Ellis and then JT Realmuto. He hit .195/.252/.292 and was never anything more than a backup but could play the role very well when Realmuto or Ellis needed a day or two off. The Marlins don’t have a long line of star catchers, Pudge not included, in their 25 years as an organization but Mathis is one who could consistently work behind the plate and could fill in for other players.
IF Miguel Rojas- Rojas was added in the trade from the Dodgers with Dee Gordon and can play any spot in the infield. Rojas like Hech is a strong defensive player who still can get some pop off the bat. Rojas more than likely would not quite platoon with Hech but play a consistent 25 or so games there. With his current 4 years with the Marlins Rojas has hit .267/.320/.357 and has had a surprisingly WAR of 3.1 this season. Rojas is another underrated player who can be consistent in the batters box and in the field.
OF Cameron Maybin- Maybin was that other piece in the Miguel Cabrera trade. Although Jake Marisnick came up many times as a Marlin he was traded away to the Dodgers in a deal that included Dee Gordon and Miguel Rojas. Maybin however has been apart of the Marlins two separate times and both times were traded away for cash. Over his four year time span Maybin was went back and forth in platoon roles out in right field and never stated a claim as a starter. Although never truly being a starter with the Marlins Maybin hit .255/.328/.375 with a 3.2 WAR which is solid for a platoon right fielder. After the 2010 season Maybin was traded to the San Diego Padres for Edward Mujica and Ryan Webb which would both be on different teams within a three year time span. Maybin would be mover around a lot and would come back this season after granting for free agency. Right before the deadline he was traded to the Mariners for a small prospect and much needed cash and is currently their backup LF.
UTL Derek Dietrich- Derek Dietrich is an amazing utility player who can be spotted anywhere on the diamond and still be solid offensively and defensively. Derek in 6 years has played every position accept Shortstop, which was the position he was drafted as, Center Fielder, Catcher and Pitcher. He was grabbed from the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012 for Yunel Escobar and has stayed on the Marlins ever sense. He has hit .255/336/.424. Him slugging .424 isn’t just extraordinary among utility players but among most batters in baseball. Dietrich also has been in the top 10 three different years in the National League in Hit by pitches and even was at the top of the leaderboard in 2016. With his high slugging and extreme ability to get hit by pitches and play different positions he is also a superb defense player who had the 3rd best fielding percentage among National League Left Fielders. With his many attributes Dietrich is easily a stable guy on a 25 man roster whether it’s in the field everyday or filling in in times of need.
This team could easily stay consistent throughout the year and put themselves in a spot to at least make the wild card if not push for the franchises first division championship. With the star power at the plate, the underrated yet consistent rotation who have multiple guys behind them in times of injury including Wei Yin Chen, Jarlin Garcia and Jose Ureña added to the star young bullpen and the solid bench this team has the ability to win games and finish out games when needed. The Marlins also do still have multiple home grown prospects including Trevor Rogers, Braxton Garrett, Dillon Peters, Garrett Cooper, Caleb Smith and Trevor Richards who weren’t apart of the multiple fire sales this team had went through. Now with the random luck of baseball many teams with good solid squads may not end up as well as projected and sometimes teams with not as solid squads be better than projected. All of these players within the list have connected to play within the same organization as one another and most players who were traded away were in need of cash to be able to sustain the growth of the ball club yet truly stepping back from the original maturity. Fundamentally stable teams easily have the money to spend on good caliber players and are consistently able to be in contention for the playoffs while most low market teams pick up the scraps of what they can afford and try to put the best team together they could. Now with the Marlins becoming a fundamentally stable team how do you think they would do?
By: Jeffery Romeu
Photo Credit: Harvey Valentine
The small group of Miami Marlins fans still left must have felt as if they had won the World Series last night after the Marlins defeated the New York Yankees 9 – 3. Obviously, it was a purely symbolic win for the Marlins who are over 25 games from being .500 and the Yankees are attempting to make a mad dash to the playoffs in a division where the Red Sox are on pace to win well over 100 games. However, lately the Marlins have been showcasing a few young talented players that could create a solid core for years to come. It is understandable to not want to watch the Marlins given their terrible record, but I believe the Marlins have a few young players that will make the last month of the year for the fish enjoyable.
After spending so much time in the minor leagues, it’s clear that Galloway has no intention of returning. In only 16 games so far, he has hit a strong .320 batting average, with a homerun, and slugging percentage of .520. Additionally, Galloway’s speed makes him a solid outfielder and with great arm strength, it is easy to see him in the majors with the Marlins for years to come. Of course, it is very early, but it doesn’t hurt to be optimist given that the experimental year for Lewis Brinson has been a struggle since the first game of the year. For 2019, keep Galloway, and option Brinson.
Talk about a free swinging, aggressive running, fast-paced moving player who from his first at bat in the majors swung at the first pitch. Ortega has been trying to prove that he deserves a spot on the Marlins Major League Roster since he stepped up to the plate. He has hit a strong .300 in 50 at-bats, along with 4 stolen bases. His intensity is a breath of fresh air for the Marlins and majors, because most players and teams play “boring baseball” nowadays. Again, it is too soon to tell if he will have long-term success, but for now, option Sierra and keep Ortega for 2019.
With three hits against the Yankees in only his 6th game of his Major League Career, Dean has had quite a start. In just under 17 at-bats, Dean has 2 home runs, which equals to some power for the Marlins who strongly lack in that department. Again, it is way too early to determine how his future will play out, but for now, I believe that Dean deserves the same experimental year that Brinson got this year.
In my opinion, the Marlins will not compete for a championship for at least the next 5 to 7 years and a playoff spot for 4 to 6 years, but these players do give the fans some hope that the team may be heading in the right direction. This year is effectively over, but these young players continue to try to prove that they deserve a spot in the 25-Man Roster and that, in it of itself, will be fun to watch until the Winter Meetings.
By: Jeffery Romeu
Hunter Martin/Getty Images
The Miami Marlins decided to trade Justin Bour to the Philadelphia Phillies for 22-year-old Minor League Pitcher McKenzie Mills. With the Phillies being a possible contender for a deep playoff run and the Marlins in a complete rebuild, it is no surprise both teams decided to pull the trigger for these players. Bour didn’t draw too much attention in the trade deadline since he has been criticized for his overall lack of athleticism and disappointing 2018 season compared to his breakout 2017. Mills was drafted in by the Washington Nationals in 2014 but has been on the move ever since. However, I believe neither team won this trade.
Bour has had a very poor 2018 season, partially due to multiple injuries and exposure to powerful pitching. Currently, Bour has .227/.347/.412 and is a below average fielder but has 19 homeruns and 54 RBIs. The Phillies traded for Bour to gain some power in order to prepare for the playoffs as they are the favorites to win the National League East Division. In the deal between the Marlins and the Phillies, the Marlins agreed to pay a portion of Bour’s $900,000 arbitration contract for this season and Mills complete salary. In recent trades the Marlins have received very high-quality prospects, but Mills may not be one of them.
While Mills was drafted by the Nationals, he was traded to the Phillies for Howie Kendrick and now to the Marlins. While many scouts see potential for Mills as a major league starter, he has struggled in the minors posting a 3.51 ERA with a strikeout rate of just above 20%. He is also not listed in the top 100 overall MLB Prospects and while he was listed at 22nd on the Phillies in the beginning of the season, he was unlisted when he was traded to the Marlins. If Mills succeeds in the majors, it’ll be a really nice surprise for the Marlins.
In addition to trading Bour, the Marlins promoted Minor League Player Rafael Ortega who has had a productive time in minors last year with the Anaheim Angels of Los Angeles and this year with the Marlins. Kyle Barraclough has been placed on the 10-day DL with lower back stiffness, as a break may be the best for him as he has struggled heavily since the start of July. Finally, Lewis Brinson is likely to return to the Marlins in September and Garrett Cooper is expected to begin rehabbing for his return as well. The Marlins are in full tank mode now and will be experimenting with various minor league players to test their potential for the future.
By: Jeffery Romeu
Photo By John Dover
The Miami Marlins have been completely eliminated from playoff contention with 17.5 games back in their division and 16.5 games back from the top of the National League Wild Card race. So, I guess it is time to once again look at their prospects and the potential for the future. Monte Harrison who plays for the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp in Double-A is the highest player listed on the top 30 list of Marlins prospects with Sandy Alcantara being the second, but Alcantara has already been promoted to the majors so let’s disregard his ranking. The third highest ranked player is starting pitcher Nick Neidert who has continued to impress in his time in Double-A with the Jumbo Shrimp. In my opinion, Neidert should be the highest ranked player in the Marlins Minor League System and Harrison shouldn’t even be placed in the top 10.
Neither Harrison nor Neidert were drafted by the Marlins. Harrison was acquired in the Christian Yelich trade that sent him to the Milwaukee Brewers and Neidert came to the Marlins in the trade that sent Dee Gordon to the Seattle Mariners. Harrison is currently having a difficult year even though he is listed at #78 overall in MLB Prospects and has been touted by most scouts as a 20/20 guy with considerable value with his defense. Currently, Harrison has a .233 batting average and while he has stolen 23 bases, he has struck out 173 times in 110 games. While it is still too early to tell if he will continue to struggle, it is important to note that his consistency with a bat is heavily lacking.
On the other hand, Neidert has proven to be such a strong pitcher, he is almost certainly going to be called up to Triple-A New Orleans before the end of the year. This season Neidert has pitched in over 125 innings, has struck out 131 batters, encompassed an ERA of 2.95, and a 1.11 WHIP. Just recently, Neidert struck out 13 batters in a game while tossing an eight-inning shutout with zero walks. With a mid 90’s fastball and strong changeup, it’s understandable why most scouts list him as a No. 4 starter. However, I believe if he continues to dominate when he gets called up to Triple-A, he will be a top of the line starter for the Marlins.
A few other Minor League players for the Marlins to watch for are Jorge Guzman, Isan Diaz, Jordan Yamamoto (read previous article), and returning from Tommy John Surgery, Braxton Garrett.
By: Jeffery Romeu
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
A few weeks before the trade deadline, the Miami Marlins were seen as big-time seller as they have already been eliminated from playoff contention and most of their roster has been seen as expendable. However, just hours before the 4 PM deadline, the Marlins hadn’t officially made a single trade. Ultimately, the Marlins decided to trade reliever Brad Ziegler to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Cameron Maybin to the Seattle Mariners. Yet, various players mentioned in numerous trade rumors with extremely high return value like JT Realmuto, Kyle Barraclough, and Adam Conley were surprisingly not moved. Let’s take a look at why this trade deadline was quiet and where the organization stands now.
Brad Ziegler traded to the D-Backs
The Marlins have been talking about trading away Ziegler since the ending of the 2017 season. With the righty reliever on the last leg of his two-year contract, it is no surprise the Marlins traded him to a contender in hopes of gaining a quality prospect. After a disappointing start to the season as the closer for the Marlins blowing a number of saves, Ziegler has posted strong numbers after being demoted to the setup role which includes a 0.93 ERA in 29 innings.
In the trade the Marlins receive a young High-A relief pitcher Tommy Eveld who is a central Florida man who played both baseball and football at the University of South Florida. Eveld has posted great numbers this year with a 1.11 ERA in over 40 innings of work along with 47 strikeouts. His arsenal includes a mid 90s fastball, hard slider, and the occasional knuckleball. If all things continue the same, we should see Eveld in the orange jersey in about two years throwing for the Marlins.
Cameron Maybin traded to the Mariners
Since Maybin is currently on a single year deal and having a surprisingly productive year, it is no surprise the Marlins decided to trade him away to a contender. Maybin has posted decent numbers this year overall, but since July 1st, he has a .309/.427/.456 along with 3 homeruns and 5 stolen bases. Maybin has produced better numbers than expected which drew the attention of various teams and the Marlins received the Mariners 19th overall prospect Bryson Brigman and some international bonus pool money in the transaction.
Brigman is currently in High-A slashing .304/.373/.391 with 15 stolen bases and he is now ranked 28th in the Marlins farm system. While he wasn’t expected to be a strong player when he was drafted, he is continuing to improve and show impressive numbers that may propel him to the majors in a few years. Along with Brigman came $250,000 in international money in which the Marlins are hoping to gain some leverage to sign international free agent Victor Victor Mesa. This puts the Marlins international bank account at around $4.25 million, which is nowhere near the favorites what the Orioles have to land Mesa in $8.25 million. However, given that Miami is so close to the island of Cuba where Mesa is from, the culture and the overall environment may convince him to come to the Marlins. Once the MLB declares Mesa a free agent, the Marlins will be part of the discussion.
Reject Trade may show Marlins direction
The Marlins had an overall quiet trade deadline compared to the firesale many expected them to push once again. The Marlins decided to reject offers for Realmuto, Barraclough, Conely, Steckenrider, and Castro mostly because of their high asking price, but also because of the length of the control in which the Marlins have with these players going well into the 2020s. Maybe the front office notices a potential for a competitive team in the near future, as there are various rumors to suggest the Marlins will offer Realmuto a long-term deal. If this proves to be true this coming offseason, the Marlins may continue to add quality prospects or strong players that may compliment the young talented roster and boost the team’s competitiveness moving forward. This question will be answered during the offseason when the Marlins will show their vision for the future once again.
Isaac Galloway, Jarlin Garcia, and Tayron Guerrero called up
Isaac Galloway has been called up to the majors after over 10 years of playing in the minors. While the Marlins have a record of promoting players who spent various years in the minor like Ed Lucas in the late 2000s, it is quite inspirational to see Galloway finally achieve his dream of playing in the Majors. Personally, I hope Galloway proves to be a productive player and stays in the majors for a few years. In addition to Galloway, the Marlins called up lefty starter/reliever Garcia after being sent to the minors earlier this year due to poor performance. It is likely he will be placed in the bullpen and would like to improve from the disappointing start this year. The fire throwing Guerrero was also called up and simply put, we will see if he has more to offer the team than a 102 MPH fastball as he has a poor 4.28 ERA through 40 innings. With the MLB rosters expanding in September, there is likely to be a number of call ups in the future.
Frustrating/Promising Farm System
The Marlins continue to stack their minor league system with quality prospects like Brigman and Eveld, but still are having frustrating results with starting pitching. Their 2016 first round pick Braxton Garrett missing most of last season and this season due to Tommy John surgery, the Marlins are eager to see how he responds to this common procedure in the MLB. In addition to Garrett, Trevor Rogers, their 10th overall prospect, continues to struggle posting a 5.02 ERA in 13 games started in High-A. It is unknown if he will be called to the majors in 2021 as he is expected due to his poor numbers, but only time will tell. Yet, the Marlins do have some potential in the minors for pitching such as Zac Gallen (Probable September Call Up), Jordan Yamamoto (View Previous Article), and Nick Neidert who are all producing great numbers in the minors and are all starting pitchers.
Marlins Status: Clearly still rebuilding
Not surprisingly, the Marlins are still rebuilding with the possibility of being competitive in the next four to six years if everything works out as planned. As for the rest of the year, the Marlins will finish with one of the worst records in the MLB and gain a high draft pick in the 2019 Amateur Draft to continue their efforts for their rebuild.
Photo courtesy of @jyamaz21/Twitter
The Hawaiian born Jordan Yamamoto is ranked as the 17th best prospect for the Miami Marlins and was acquired in the trade that sent Christian Yelich to the Brewers this past off-season. He is a strong pitcher with a diverse selection of pitches which is refreshing for an organization desperate for quality starter pitching after the tragic death of former Marlins ace Jose Fernandez. The Marlins have had various pitching busts before even reaching the majors such as former 2nd overall pick Tyler Kolek, but Yamamoto’s dominance in the minors may bring a new era for the Marlins on the mound.
Selected in the 12th round of the 2014 MLB Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers, Yamamoto began his career in the Class-A Midwest League and was soon called up to Advance A due to his strong performance which included a 2.51 ERA in over 100 innings pitched. After being traded to the Marlins, Yamamoto posted ridiculously impressive numbers for the Jupiter Hammerheads in the Advance-A Florida State League which included a streak of over 40 innings without allowing a run. He was called up to Double A to play for the Jacksonville Suns after posting a 1.55 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 40 innings. He is currently on the DL but has started to begin throwing again in hopes of returning to the pitching rotation soon.
Yamamoto is listed as a possible future reliever due to his lack of plus pitch power and undersized statue, but I disagree. I believe that if Yamamoto continues to develop his three pitches (Fastball, Curveball, Changeup) and possibly add another, he will be a middle of the rotation pitcher. With all his pitches being slightly above average and overall strong swing and miss fastball, he will be a great asset to the Marlins in a few years. However, this isn’t the first time he’s been on the DL, so precautions may be needed in the future.
I personally have a lot of faith in Yamamoto and believe he will continue to thrive in the minors and one day the majors.
By: Jeffery Romeu
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Garrett Cooper missed the last few games because of his recurring right wrist injuries. Now he has once again been placed on the DL. Cooper missed the majority of the first half of the season after getting hit by a pitch in early April and just recently came off the DL from a contusion on the same wrist. However, it was discovered that he has a possible wrist sprain or worse depending on what diagnosis the specialist gives him later this week. This has been an unfortunate turn of events for the Marlins and Cooper as he was seen as a replacement power hitter in which the Marlins hoped to use after losing Stanton and Ozuna. However, this tragedy gives way to an opportunity for the young speedster acquired from the Ozuna trade, Magneuris Sierra.
This won’t be the first time Sierra plays the majors. He played 22 games with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2017 and produced .317/.359/.317 along with 2 stolen bases. Marlins CEO Derek Jeter has even described him as fast as former Marlins Dee Gordon even though Sierra has had an on and off season in the minors. He will be promoted to the major with .260/.287/.341 plus 14 stolen bases but given the tough year most Marlins prospects have had in 2018, it will be interesting to see how Sierra flares in the majors. It is likely that he will be a constant leadoff hitter for the Marlins which will be a relief as the Marlins have rotated between a few players in the leadoff spot.
While prospects like Pablo Lopez have been decent in their time in the majors, players like Lewis Brinson has struggled greatly and is currently nursing a bruised hip. After multiple solid outings for Caleb Smith, he was placed on the DL for what will likely be the reminder of the season due to his Grade 3 Lat strain which will require surgery to repair. Finally, flame thrower Tayron Guerrero is expected to start throwing in the minors for an anticipated return and so is Drew Rucinski. Yet, it is obvious that this season the prospects for the Marlins have not performed as many would have hoped. As of now, most of the players received on the fire sale haven’t worked out.
By: Jeffery Romeu
Dylan Buell/Getty Images
Let’s starts by mentioning the dreaded fire sale this offseason which doomed the Marlins to become one of the worst teams in baseball. Nowadays, everyone knows who the Marlins traded since fire sales are basically associated with the organization. Guess what happened after all the trades? Surprise! They are one of the worst teams in baseball. As I’ve mentioned countless times before, the Marlins will only be contending for high draft picks for the foreseeable future and likely trading away any high salary players for prospects. Now, let’s take a look back at the Marlins first half of 2018! The Good, The Bad, and The Surprises.
The best player for the Marlins in the first half of the season is hands down, All-Star Catcher JT Realmuto. As the sole representative for the Marlins in the 2018 All-Star Game he has encapsulated an impressive .310 batting average, 12 home runs, 45 RBIs, .902 OPS, and rest base runners out over 90% of the time. He has proven to be the most valuable Marlins this season and has reportedly been in talks for a long-term deal with the team.
Another Marlins who is playing his first full year with the team and has continued to leave a mark on the team is rookie Brian Anderson. Last year Anderson played for about a month during the September call ups and proved his deserved a shot in the majors and this year he has become a legitimate contender for the National League Rookie of the Year Award. Anderson has a .288 batting average along with 8 home runs and 49 RBI's, but what is most impressive is his fielding percentage in both the outfield and 3rd base which is over .990. This versatile player can only get better and is likely become a home hold name in the coming years.
The bullpen of the Marlins is lights out! I was going to place this as a surprise, but in reality, all these players have proven themselves to be dependable in previous years. Kyle Barraclough has become one of the baseball’s best closers and is being desperately chased by teams such as the Red Sox, Yankees, and Dodgers. With a strong 1.28 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 44 games, he has drawn plenty of attention throughout the league’s teams who need bullpen support. In addition, Drew Steckenrider and Adam Conley have also been inquired about due to their consistency on the mound. Both have an ERA in the high 2 and a whip of about 1. While the future of the Marlins bullpen is in question, for now, they have been near unhittable.
If I would have told you the Marlins were going to play a top 50 prospect for an entire year at center field, most people would expect some struggle on the field and at the plate. However, Lewis Brinson has been very disappointing. Acquired by the Marlins in the trade for Christian Yelich, Brinson has been struggling since his first game. With a batting average of .186 and being on pace to strikeout over 150+ it is clear to say that he isn’t major league ready. Now, he has hit 10 home runs and knocked in 30 runs, but it is unknown if this prospect will be in the majors in 2019.
Wei-Yin Chen is probably one of the worst contracts the Marlins have ever agreed to. 5 years – $80 Million, but he has spent the majority of the time in the DL and when he does pitch he allows around 5.75 runs. This player will never stop being on this bad list. Nothing much to say but, terrible deal, below average player, and not a good arrangement overall.
The minor league pitching prospects for the Marlins have been a disaster. Their 2013 2nd overall draft pick Tyler Kolek hasn’t returned from his injuries and their 2016 7th overall pick Braxon Garrett is out with Tommy John Surgery and will most of the 2018 season. Trevor Rogers their 2017 13th overall pick has a 7.01 ERA in Advanced Single – A and their 2016, 3rd Round pick Zac Gallen has a 4.05 ERA in Triple A. Obviously the Marlins have recently called up pitchers such as Sandy Alcantara, Merandy Gonzalez, and Pablo Lopez, but due to their limited time in the majors there isn’t a sufficient data sample to determine if they are a bust or a win for the Marlins so far. But, the pitchers who are still in the minors are likely never to reach the major due to their injuries, numbers, or lack of talent.
Derek Dietrich! Wow! .288 batting average, 11 home runs, 32 RBIs, .805 OPS and a near perfect 1.000 in fielding all his 4 positions. Where did he come from? Every Marlins fan has known that Dietrich was a solid and dependable player, but this year he has exploded into a leader in the team. It is also fun to note just how much fun he looks like he is having everyday he is on the field! Pushing for this man to continue to produce in the 2nd half.
Brad Ziegler (Reliever) has been unhittable since his demotion to the middle reliever role after his multiple blown saves as a closer. Overall, he does have a 4.40 ERA, but as a middle reliever his ERA falls to around 2. It was a surprise to see a struggling Ziegler get back into shape with a minor role change. It is unlikely he will finish the year as a Marlins due to trade rumors, but for now he has been doing well as a reliever.
When Stanton was traded to the Yankees, Starlin Castro was shipped to Miami and he wanted out. There were rumors at the time that he wouldn’t even show up to spring training or fan fest because of his desire to play for a contender and not rebuilding team. However, Castro has proven to be one of the best players on the team even with his heart being elsewhere. Posting a .291 batting average, 37 RBIs, and gold glove caliber season on defense, Castro has continued to show the MLB that he is one of the best second baseman in the league. Again, it is unlikely he will finish the year as a Marlins, but he can’t say he hasn’t enjoyed his time as a fish.
The Marlins have a record of 41 – 57, which makes them the 4th worst team in baseball. However, if I am being honest, I expected the Marlins to win just 40 games this year. 41 wins before the All-Star break is impressive in book with this team.
Uniform change back to teal! Anniversary weekend at Marlins Park was so much fun! Large crowds, classic Marlins players, and best of all, teal uniforms. Jeter, trust me, THE TEAL IS STILL FOR REAL!
By: Jeffery Romeu
Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire
This previous offseason, the Marlins front office basically dismantled the powerful lineup of the team for borderline average prospects. While it is unfair to determine that players like Jorge Guzman (Advanced-A), Magneuris Sierra (Triple-A), and Sandy Alcantara (Majors/Triple-A) aren’t high-quality players due to their lack of player time in the majors, there is more than enough sufficient evidence to prove that they will not match the productivity of Stanton, Ozuna, Yelich, and Gordon. With that in mind, the Marlins should be very cautious not to throw away even more quality pieces for flashy prospects with no real proven promise.
Brad Ziegler: ERA – 4.50 WHIP – 1.34 Record – 1 – 5 (Reliever/Closer)
Contract: Final year of $16M for 2 years
Ziegler is an interesting case for the Marlins, simply because as a closer, he ranged from average to bad. But as a reliever he has been solid. However, it is the last year of his contract and unless the Marlins magically turn into Murders Row after the All-Star break, they are not contending for anything but a quality pick in next year’s amateur draft. In that case, it would be a good idea to deal him before the deadline. The Dodgers have expressed interest in trading for him, but he won’t have a return of a top 50 prospect. So, in my opinion I believe it would be better to get a young player who has proven himself in the majors already or trade for Julio Urias and some hit friendly prospects.
Kyle Barraclough/Drew Steckenrider/Adam Conley
Contracts: All are under control until 2022
Arguably the crown jewel for the Marlins this season are the three young bullpen pitchers who frequently prove themselves to be quality arms for any team. All three players have generated the attention of teams like the Red Sox, Dodgers, and Indians for their possible playoff runs, yet I believe this situation is pretty straight forward for me. Unless any teams offer a top 50 prospect or multiple of their organization’s top prospects like the Red Sox have by offering Michael Chavis and Matt Collins, the Marlins should simply refuse. All three players are under control until 2022, are affordable, and could be important for the Marlins to build around in the future. Now, while it is unlikely the Marlins will contend anytime soon, if the Angels in the Outfield decide to visit Marlins Park in Little Havana, I’d love to see Barraclough’s slider spin even further.
JT Realmuto: BA - .317 HR – 12 RBI – 44 & 98% of the time catches runners stealing
Contract: Under control until 2021
The Marlins sole All-Star and possibly the best catcher in the MLB. Unless you convince the Blue Jays to give up Vladimir Guerrero Jr. or the Braves to give up Ronald Acuna Jr. you should probably build around this one and trade him when you don’t want to offer him a long-term deal in or before 2021.
Starlin Castro: BA - .297 HR -7 RBI – 34 & doesn’t want to play for the Marlins
There is no debate that the Marlins should deal Castro and his big contract since the Marlins are not contending and Castro has stated multiple times he doesn’t want to stay in Miami. Trade him for some quality prospects, at this time the Marlins have made him available, but no team has publicly expressed their interest for his services. He might have to endure the extreme sun, daily rain showers, and of course the amazing traffic of Miami for a little longer.
Bottomline – The Marlins should be sellers at the trade, as I mentioned various times before, they are not contending so they might as well do the one thing Jeter will never admit he’s doing and “REBUILD”!!!!
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
Let’s face it, Marlins fans have it tough this year and for many years to come. Currently, the Marlins have a record of 37 – 55, are in last place in their division, hold the third worst record in Major League Baseball (MLB), and are suffering the growing pains of another rebuilding. Even though the CEO of the Marlins and part-owner Derek Jeter doesn’t want to admit it, after trading away the likes of Stanton, Ozuna, Gordon, and Yelich, the Marlins are in full tank mode hunting for the number one pick in the 2019 MLB Amateur Draft. It’s easy to see why attendance for the Marlins, which has ever been high to start with, is currently breaking record lows. However, games like yesterday against the Nationals allow Marlins fans to enjoy the thrill of victory even if it is leading to the Marlins 15th consecutive year without a playoff berth.
The Marlins knocked 22 hits along with another terrific day by JT Realmuto who went 5 for 5 and was selected to his first MLB All-Star Game later that day. Even though statistical analysis comparing his numbers to Wilson Contreras proves he should have been the starting catcher for the National League, fans should still be excited that JT will finally get to showcase his talents on a big stage. Along with JT, there is rookie Brian Anderson who has consistently proven himself as being the future of the franchise and a viable contender for National League Rookie of the Year. Finally, there is Kyle Barraclough, who was clearly snubbed for an All-Star Game selection as he has posted an impressive 1.37 ERA in 41 appearances and punched out 43 batters in the process. While many of these player’s futures in the Marlins is currently in question, fans should take pride in knowing that through every frustrating rebuild in the history of the team, there has always been a group of young players who attempt to bring legitimacy to the Marlins brand.
Of course, the Marlins begin a 3-game series now with the powerful Brewers team, likely struggle against them, and even welcome back Yelich in the process, but through the many defeats fans will no doubt have to face this year, there will always be games like yesterday where the Marlins hit 22 hits and prove that the one day the teal may once again be for real!