Yes, there is a reason to believe the Miami Marlins will be a better baseball team in 2019.
It might not be apparent at the moment, but the Miami Marlins are building a foundation for the future, which is a cause for optimism this season and beyond.
The numbers may say this is still a 63-98 ballclub, but don’t tell that to the front office or to the coaching staff. There are youngsters who make this team one to watch in two or three years. But for now, with the start of the 2019 season less than two months away, the Marlins like every other MLB team is thinking about making a lasting impression on the baseball world.
Hopefully, it will be a better one than in 2018.
Here are three reasons for optimism for the Marlins in 2019.
Year two of trusting the process – This is the second season the Marlins will follow the blueprint that CEO Derek Jeter talked about beginning in October 2017. If this organization is going to trust the process, it must follow through with the co-owners plan to start from the ground up.
This means that Marlins will continue on the same path of building through young pitchers and using its resources through the farm system to produce a winner.
Miami won’t be one of those teams that can win games with one swing of the bat, In fact, they may be the worst team in MLB in terms of hitting home runs this season. That doesn’t matter to the front office or to manager Don Mattingly. What does matter is that they’re able to put runners on base and use timely hitting the score runs.
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Veteran Neil Walker and Curtis Granderson have been added to provide leadership and the ability to hit in the clutch. We shall see if these two acquisitions, which are low risk and high reward, pay off for a young nucleus.
A call to young arms – The Marlins will start the season with Jose Urena, Dan Straily and Wei-Yin Chen at the front of the rotation. After that, we get to see just how good this young pitching staff can be in the future.
Sandy Alcantara, Trevor Richards, Pablo Lopez, and Caleb Smith are all capable of starting for this team and showed promise last year. Add Nick Neidert, Zac Gallen and other minor league candidates and the Marlins have a staff that could be one of the best in the next two seasons.
I will be interested to see how new pitching coach Mel Stottlemyer, Jr uses his young arms effectively and is able to find consistency throughout the rotation.
If the front five can give this team six or seven innings a game, that will ease things for the bullpen. Last season it wasn’t as much the starting pitching as it was the bullpen maintaining the lead going into the eighth and ninth inning that proved costly for Miami.
It can’t get much worse, can it? – Marlins lost 98 games last year. It was expected. With a team teetering on the 100-loss season, there is hope for this year, but likely a 90-plus loss season is predictable.
But it should be better than last year.
If Mattingly can get these players to once again buy into the system, and play with more consistency, it’s not unthinkable that the Marlins could approach 70 to 75 wins in 2019.