The Miami Marlins begin their third year of the organization’s blueprint for success from team CEO Derek Jeter.
I don’t want to sound like I am raining on the Miami Marlins parade, but this is something we have heard before. After two losing seasons, it is believed the organization is about to take its biggest step towards becoming relevant in the National League East in 2020.
CEO Derek Jeter and Marlins skipper Don Mattingly believe this is the time fans in south Florida and across baseball’s wide landscape see a roster of impactful players, not just veterans and prospects working things out.
"“We’re starting to feel like we’re getting to the top of the hill,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said in a story by Joe Frisaro that appears on MLB.com."
I said last week that I believed the Marlins would win 75 games in 2020. Yes, you heard that last year as well. I admit I was being optimistic. This coming season, with the changes made to the roster, and prospects who have had another year to mature, it looks more like that is a possibility than in the two years passed since Jeter took over as part-owner and the man who runs the day-to-day operations of this baseball team.
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Some may say it’s still a sad state of affairs when you’re expecting to win 75 games as a benchmark for success. I see it as another chapter of growth and development.
Jeter has done exactly what he said he would do, sticking to a game plan that money thought was foolish, to begin with, but has shown to be successful on a minor league level. This year it must translate to the parents club, where Mattingly has been given the keys to a different lineup, which should mean more power in the middle of the order and speed on the base pads.
"“The additions of infielder Jonathan Villar and first baseman Jesús Aguilar immediately upgrade an offense that ranked last in the Majors in homers (146) and second to last in runs (615),” Frisaro adds.“The Marlins remain in the market for at least one more outfielder with a big league track record. Along with personnel, Miami also has hired James Rowson as its new bench coach. Rowson was the hitting coach for the Twins in 2019, a club that set an MLB single-season home run record with 307. The fences at Marlins Park moving in a bit in center and right-center field also should increase home run and run production.”"
Mattingly should also be able to choose from minor-league prospects who are on the cusp of making their MLB debut.
While the pitching was the biggest need for the short connotation upon Jeter‘s arrival, it’s safe to say the front office has secured enough arms for the next several years of success. The focus has been shifted to finding younger bats, mixed with veteran savvy to form a balance that wasn’t successful last season.
To say it’s a key year for both ownership and the coaching staff is spot on.
"“A big reason for optimism is several of the Marlins’ most-touted prospects should reach the big leagues at some point in 2020. Heading the list are right-hander Sixto Sanchez (Miami’s No. 1 prospect per MLB Pipeline), outfielders Jesús Sánchez (No. 3) and Monte Harrison (No. 5) as well as first baseman Lewin Diaz (No. 12).” Frisaro added.“The position players have the best chances to reach the big leagues before the pitchers, as the Marlins are being cautious with their young starters. All are expected to open the year at Wichita, the new home of the organization’s Triple-A affiliate.”"
The important dates Marlins fans need to remember are pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 12 to the Jupiter, Fla. The first full-squad workout is on Feb. 17. The first spring training game is set for Feb. 22 in St. Lucie, FL against the New York Mets.
The Marlins first home game in Spring Training is scheduled for Feb. 23 against Washington in a split-squad game. The Marlins Opening Day is March 26, against the Phillies at Marlins Park.