Mar 23, 2013; Jupiter, FL, USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Nate Eovaldi (24) throws in the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals during a spring training game at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Editors Note: Would like to welcome aboard Esteban Bailey to our Marlin Maniac family. Esteban is a huge Marlins fan and will get his opportunity to write for his favorite team. The opportunity is also there for anyone else that is interested. – EK
With the impending returns of Logan Morrison, Giancarlo Stanton, Nathan Eovaldi, and Donovan Solano, the Miami Marlins are going to look like a completely different team in the next couple of weeks. The worst team in the majors will no longer look like a minor league team. The Marlins may actually have a chance to become a decent young team.
At the beginning of the year, the Marlins were not expected to contend, but I don’t think anybody expected the Marlins to be playing this poorly. The injury bug took a firm grasp on this team and decimated the everyday lineup and rotation. Prospects had to be rushed through the farm system, just so we could fill the lineup card. Greg Dobbs, a consistent pinch hitter at best, had become the regular everyday first baseman. However in an almost lost season, there have been some nice surprises that give me hope about not only next season, but the rest of this season.
Jun 9, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Miami Marlins right fielder Marcell Ozuna (48) hits a two-run double against the New York Mets during the sixth inning of a game at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Our prospects have performed for the most part. Jose Fernandez is an absolute stud and is worthy of the future ace status he has been given. Marcell Ozuna has been a rock in the lineup giving a consistent effort everyday on the field. Derek Dietrich has played good defense and has shown some pop on the bat, but he may need some more time in the minors to get his batting skills polished. Rob Brantly and Adeiny Hechavarria have had their ups and downs but they have both flashed the skills that will keep them in the Majors for years to come.
Chris Coghlan was resurrecting his career until he went onto the DL recently, but once he returns he could continue with his production. Ricky Nolasco has also had a nice season. Both are not likely to be with the team for the long run, so considering that the young guys are performing well and the guys on the disabled list are coming back, what does this mean for the rest of the year?
With LoMo and Stanton being the first guys coming back, the Marlins are finally getting some major power bats in the middle of the lineup. Having Stanton, Morrison, and Ozuna in the middle of the lineup brings a smile to my face as now we have a formidable middle of the order. Dietrich will probably move up to the second spot behind the slumping Juan Pierre, while Hechavarria and Brantly will stay with the seventh and eighth spot respectively. Donavan Solano is coming off the DL a little later after Stanton, so he’ll probably take Dietrich’s spot in the order and Solano will go to second base, while providing a consistent effort at the plate. Dietrich will probably be moved to third because of his strong arm.
I haven’t even mentioned our best prospect who is still in the minors. Christian Yelich is gonna be promoted soon and his bat should fit nicely in the lead off spot. Projecting what the lineup could be in late June is tricky but I think I have something that could excite fans.
(Editors note: Christian Yelich is currently on the 7-day disabled list in AA with an abdomen injury) – EK
Projected Lineup June- July 2013
1. Christian Yelich (LF)
2. Donovan Solano (2B)
3. Giancarlo Stanton (RF)
4. Logan Morrison (1B)
5. Marcell Ozuna (CF)
6. Derek Dietrich (3B)
7. Adeiny Hechavarria (SS)
8. Rob Brantly (C)
The pitchers coming back are also going to bring high upside even though they are incredibly young. We have already seen the potential of Jose Fernandez and Jacob Turner, but Nate Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez still have a high ceiling in terms of talent and both are still young. The eventual trade of Ricky Nolasco opens up a spot on the rotation which could easily be filled in by one of our excellent pitching prospects down in the minors, like Justin Nicolino or Andrew Heaney. A pitching rotation headlined by Jose Fernandez featuring some of the better young arms in the Majors will a sight to see soon.
Projected Pitching Rotation
1. Jose Fernandez
2. Nate Eovaldi
3. Jacob Turner
4. Henderson Alvarez
With such a young lineup and rotation, this group could have some growing pains over the season. However, the sheer talent could make a formidable Marlins team not just next year but maybe even later this year.