The Miami Marlins are going to be a losing team in 2018. With a lack of big league quality talent, young players will have to learn quickly.
Few are going to enjoy watching the Miami Marlins in 2018. They aren’t going to win many games, and mental mistakes figure to abound. They’ll be a young team still figuring out how to play the highest level of baseball.
The learning curve is steep for all players. But without at seasoned veteran on hand to guide them, the growing pains will be particularly excruciating. The team is in such dire straights to field a 25-man roster, several players will have the pace of their development accelerated.
Magnerius Sierra, the slap hitting speedster acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals is the likeliest of all new prospects to play in the big leagues next year.
The Miami Marlins have busied themselves this offseason by selling their most valuable commodities to the highest bidder. The New York Yankees landed Giancarlo Stanton. The Seattle Mariners will play Dee Gordon in centerfield. And the Cardinals acquired Marcell Ozuna.
There remains uncertainty as to whether the Marlins will keep Christian Yelich in the fold. Rumors suggest he wants to be traded, but the team balks. They would like to build around Yelich.
To this point, there has been no indication that he’ll be playing elsewhere. But that leaves two outfield spots vacant. Braxton Lee, a quick-rising outfielder figures to fill one of the vacancies.
Lee was acquired last year in exchange for Adeiny Hechavarria. He appears ready to make the jump to the highest level of the organization. With the dearth of available options, a starting job is his to lose.
Filling the need
Sierra isn’t all the way ready to play in the big leagues. He played in AA for the majority of the season in 2017 and found success, though wasn’t dominating the competition. His slash-line of .269/.313/.352 suggests a player with promise who is still growing.
He did see some MLB action as a September call-up, though. His numbers are impressive, albeit with a small sample size. Most telling is the fact that he only work four walks in 64 plate appearances. Not enough for someone who figures to bat at the top of the order.
Consider that the Marlins drafted two pitchers in the Rule 5 Draft that are nowhere near MLB ready. They’re holding open auditions during spring training this year.
Sierra will struggle mightily throughout the course of an entire MLB season. Pitchers will have a chance to adjust, and he’ll be forced to adjust in kind. But with precious few options, even the hint of success will be enough to compel the Miami Marlins to trot him out for 162 games.
Of all of the prospects Miami brought back during the Winter Meetings, Sierra figures to be the one we see first.