Why The 2018 Miami Marlins Are Better Than 2017’s Club

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MIAMI, FL - JUNE 29: Brian Anderson #15, Lewis Brinson #9 and Cameron Maybin #1 of the Miami Marlins celebrate after defeating the New York Mets 8-2 at Marlins Park on June 29, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 29: Brian Anderson #15, Lewis Brinson #9 and Cameron Maybin #1 of the Miami Marlins celebrate after defeating the New York Mets 8-2 at Marlins Park on June 29, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Does that headline make me crazy? That’s up to you to decide.

But I will tell you this: for all of the negative energy that has rained down on the Miami Marlins since the start of Spring Training, there are some numbers that just don’t lie. With half of the current campaign remaining, in a season in which the team’s record really is irrelevant, they might just rival the 77 wins posted by last year’s squad.

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MIAMI, FL – JUNE 27: Tayron Guerrero #56 of the Miami Marlins pitches in the ninth inning during the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Marlins Park on June 27, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Do I think they will get there? No. But will finishing 2018 in the vicinity of last season’s power-packed but pitching-challenged roster is possible. Could that make Miami Marlins fans realize that there might be a bright future for an organization under new management? I certainly hope so. If not, you are missing out on a quiet but hopeful story.

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE MIAMI MARLINS RECORD

Here is what I mean by the numbers. We all know that the start of the 2018 season was, as expected, a rough go. The Marlins stumbled out of the gate to a 5-17 record. But for the rest of the first half of the season, the Fish posted a 27-32 mark. That’s a winning percentage of .458. Over a full 162-game season, that translates to 74 wins and 88 losses. That’s just 3 games short of the 2017 Marlins team that fans seem to be missing so much. I certainly mean no disrespect to the players from that team, but they were a lopsided team. All hit, no pitch.

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MIAMI, FL – JUNE 26: Brian Anderson #15 of the Miami Marlins dives back to first base in the seventh inning during the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Marlins Park on June 26, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

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Now, the new management has not shown its trade deadline cards yet. They could use the next month to peel off any reasonable chance of the team winning much more than the 64 games they project to if you simply duplicate their first half performance. But with fingers crossed, if J.T. Realmuto, Derek Dietrich and Starlin Castro finish the season in Miami, this team is showing that it’s capable of winning perhaps 41-42 games in the second half. That would get them to 73-74 wins. With all of their Midwest and West Coast travel finished for the year, they could ride their puddle-jumping schedule to a record that would not impress at first glance. In the long run, it would show that the process of turning this club into a sustained winner is underway.

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MIAMI, FL – JUNE 8: Drew Steckenrider #71 of the Miami Marlins throws a pitch during the eighth inning against the San Diego Padres at Marlins Park on June 8, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /

THE BIG RISK TO MY OPTIMISM

Frankly, I’d be surprised if Castro was not traded, since the team has other options at his position. He carries a hefty contract, and he might net a good prospect in return. As for a Realmuto, if he is traded I may have to rethink my optimism, short and long term. That is, barring a gigantic return in a deadline deal.

Miami Marlins
MIAMI, FL – JUNE 27: Starlin Castro #13 of the Miami Marlins runs the bases after hitting a solo homerun in the ninth inning during the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Marlins Park on June 27, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Regardless, my point is that the team has stabilized over the past few months. They’ve played close to .500 ball and beaten the teams surrounding them at the bottom of the standings. Those are three things Miami Marlins fans could not say last season.

Next: Pablo Lopez and the Miami Marlins, the Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship

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