Miami Marlins relying on player development in 2016.

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With the offseason continuing to be quiet, and with Christmas approaching in the next few days the Miami Marlins have done very little if anything. With only a few small MILB moves, and the signing of backup catcher Jeff Mathis the only major league acquisition, the Marlins have sat on their hands throughout the 2015 offseason. The Marlins are banking on two things: improvement of their under-preforming stars and development of what young talent they do have.

One of the big turnarounds needed is from Marcel Ozuna. I wrote an article earlier this month about the Marlins banking on Ozuna turning it around. With him staying in Miami, the Marlins have banked quite a bit of the future on Ozuna being able to return to the promise he once showed.

Besides Ozuna, the Marlins need a turnaround from Giancarlo Stanton. No, Giancarlo didn’t disappoint or under-preform in 2015, but a healthy Stanton is the key. After injuring his hand in June, Stanton never returned to the diamond leaving the Marlins without their most dynamic slugger. This coming one year removed from Stanton being hit in the face with a pitch from Mike Fiers of the Brewers.

The fate of 2016 may well lay on Stanton’s shoulders. After signing his mega-deal in the winter of 2014, Stanton was one of the most dynamic sluggers in baseball in 2015. His 425 ft. bombs (or #StantonSmash home runs) made him a star on social media and throughout baseball. Stanton was a six-win player in 2014, the Marlins will need him to return to form if they want to stand any chance in 2016.

On the development side, the Marlins are fairly drained of young talent and prospects. Of the small crop of prospects they do have, Adam Conley is the most dynamic. Having showed the makings of a major league starter in his starts towards the end of the season, Conley is looking to stick in the Miami rotation for 2016. At just 25 years-old Conley has plenty of time to refine his pitches and work on becoming a little more consistent.

The Marlins roster as a whole has plenty of time to develop. With a roster of players who are for the most part, under 30, the Marlins are still a relatively young and inexperienced team. Giancarlo Stanton is 26, Christian Yelich is 24, Marcell Ozuna is 25, and those are just three of a host of young talent the Marlins roster brings.

The Marlins also had underwhelming performances from Jared Cosart and Marcel Ozuna notably last season both of which left doubt about the players future within the organization. The Marlins are hoping both players can fulfill their potential and help the team make a playoff push in 2016.

So while it may seem insane that a team that won just 71 games last year would do so little in free agency, maybe it’s the Marlins showing faith in their young players, and hoping their development continues. While this may not be the best strategy, this seems to be the one the Fish are employing. Whether it will work or not is to be determined.

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