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. 1: Marcell Ozuna – 5.8 WAR

MIAMI, FL – SEPTEMBER 20: Marcell Ozuna
MIAMI, FL – SEPTEMBER 20: Marcell Ozuna /

Is there any doubt who the most consistent Miami Marlin was this year? Giancarlo Stanton was undoubtedly their most productive player, but that was due mostly to a monstrous second half. Meanwhile, Ozuna quietly put together a career year in Stanton’s 6-foot-6 shadow.

Ozuna will only be 27-years old when the 2018 season rolls around, what many consider the “prime” years for professional athletes. That’s a scary thought for opposing pitchers when you look at what Ozuna did this season.

Ozuna slashed an unreal .312/.376/.548 while hitting 37-home runs and driving in 124 RBI’s. He made his second consecutive All-Star appearance and was the only Marlin elected as a starter by fan vote. By any measure, it was the best season of his career.

Ozuna’s breakout season is something of a catch-22 for Marlins fans. What further endeared him to the fanbase in Miami has also made him more valuable to teams around the league.  Of all the players on the list, Ozuna is the likeliest to be playing in different clothes next season.

The Dominican outfielder still has several years of team control ahead of him; the asking price will be high. In addition to several high-ranking prospects, the Marlins would likely try to throw in an unwanted salary for budgetary relief.

The Dodgers, the Padres, the White Sox, and the Yankees have all overhauled their operations in minimal time to build a winner. Marcell Ozuna could be at the center of a similar offseason for Miami.

Try to enjoy the season he had in 2017 as a Miami Marlin, not the one he might not have next year.

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