The Miami Marlins have a starting rotation that could be as good as any in Major League Baseball next season and for years to come.
It’s hard as a Marlins fan to look at the potential of the team’s starting rotation, at least the first four arms in the rotation, and not salivate over the potential of an Atlanta Braves-like staff from the early 1990s.
I’m not saying there is a Tom Glavine or Greg Maddux amongst the youngsters the front office has acquired in recent years, but I am thrilled at the prospect of there being a consistent group of arms who can dominate games, even if the batting order decides it wants to take the night off.
The best part about having these riches to use on a nightly basis is there are more young pitchers waiting in the wings in the Marlins minor league system, looking to prove they are the next big thing. It’s not just the pitching staff, as Joe Frisaro wrote for MLB.com, but all eyes are on these players to take another step forward.
"“After going 57-105 in 2019, ownership expects more in ’20. As constructed, can the Marlins make about a 20-win improvement in ’20? That will largely depend on the progress made by their young players. Brian Anderson has shown he can be a talented regular, and the rotation has some promising starters,” he adds."
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"“To me, the rotation is the key to this entire process. Sandy Alcantara, Caleb Smith, and Pablo López must continue to take big strides forward, and prospects like Monte Harrison, Jesús Sánchez, and Lewin Díaz could be position players who make an impact in ’20.”"
There should not be a dramatic change to the 2020 roster, but there will be a few new names to watch closely. The rotation will start with the three names mentioned above, then there are others – Jordan Yamamoto, Robert Dugger, and Elieser Hernandez, who will fight for two spots. Prospect Nick Neidert figures to be the first name that could sneak into the rotation, with Sixto Sanchez and Edward Cabrera next in line.
If you are looking for a prospect to break out and surprise everyone this season, it might be Braxton Garrett, who had a solid 2019 campaign and looks to make more of an impression on the front office and the coaching staff.
"Per MLB.com, “The seventh overall pick in 2016, the Alabama high school product required Tommy John surgery after just four pro starts, costing him all of 2018. Garrett looked like his old self last season, pairing a low-90s fastball with a plus curveball in high-Class A, and could move quickly in 2020 as he puts elbow reconstruction further behind him.”"
Garrett should start the season at Double-A Jacksonville, but as we have seen in recent years, that does not mean he won’t be given consideration for the Majors before the end of the season. Both Yamamoto and Dugger began their 2019 campaigns with the Jumbo Shrimp and were on the parent club roster later on in the year.