Five surprise players for the Miami Marlins in 2017

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MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 1: The batting order for the Miami Marlins in their game against the Atlanta Braves is shown in center field with Giancarlo Stanton
MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 1: The batting order for the Miami Marlins in their game against the Atlanta Braves is shown in center field with Giancarlo Stanton /
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No. 4: Jose Urena – 1.9 WAR

DENVER, CO – SEPTEMBER 26: Starting pitcher Jose Urena
DENVER, CO – SEPTEMBER 26: Starting pitcher Jose Urena /

Having Jose Urena higher on the list despite producing less WAR than his predecessor might irk some. But his performance means more to the way the Miami Malrins roster can be structured moving forward. He was far and away the best starter in the rotation.

The fact that his performance came out of nowhere comes into play as well.

Before this season, Urena was a relatively unknown commodity. He’d bounced between the bullpen and the starting rotation and wasn’t particularly great in either role. His average ERA+ through his first two season was 68.5, well below the league average of 100.

Urena finally started putting things together in 2017. He failed to go at least five innings only four times in 28 starts, and had an average game score of 51. After starting the season in the bullpen, he made his first start on May 7th and never looked back.

Urena did enough to prove he can be a starter at the highest level. Next year will be crucial, and he’ll need to prove 2017 wasn’t a fluke. Where he should slot in the rotation is a matter of debate, but he’d be a legitimate third starter in a rotation.

Incredibly, Urena will be one of the elder statesman in a young rotation next season. He’ll be 26-years old when the season starts. He picked the perfect season to break out and prove his worth at the big league level.

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