The 2019 campaign was a difficult season for Miami Marlins fans.
As always, baseball remains entertaining and a good way to spend time, even when your team loses nearly twice as many as they win. Such was the case in 2019 for the Miami Marlins, who posted 57 wins against 105 losses. They will be better in 2020, but how much better is open to discussion. Will they still be so bad that they lose their chance to compete for the playoffs within the first month of the season?
Late in December, I published a piece where I predicted that Miami would compete for a playoff spot late into the season. Using the “Steamer” projection at Fangraphs.com at the time, Miami projected as a 67-win club. My final computation landed at 86 victories. If that sounds impossible to you, I encourage you to read it. You’ll feel better if you do, I promise. If you don’t understand how WAR translates directly to wins, here’s a crib notes version, quoted from Marlin Maniac:
"It’s common knowledge that WAR stands for “Wins Above Replacement.” A replacement level player is one such that, if a team is comprised entirely of such players, they’ll win 29.4 percent of their games, or 47.628 wins. That translates to a 48-114 season.When you dig into the more advanced mathematical aspect of it, you need to realize that there are 2,430 games played every major league season, and each of those games will have a winner and a loser. The “average” team will be 81-81. In other words, if you divide every team’s record by 162, the average will in fact, be 81-81.Since 81-minus-47.628 is 33.372, and there are 30 teams, that’s 1001 WAR available for the entire major leagues, but I’m sure “they” meant to divvy out exactly 1000.So a team that projects to be an “actual” 48-114 club will have a WAR projection of roughly zero, and a .500 club will have somewhere around 33.3 WAR."
I feel as if Miami could easily outpace that 67-win projection. Since that piece was published, the club has acquired Francisco Cervelli, Ryan Cook, Stephen Tarpley, Brandon Kintzler, and Matt Joyce, most of whom will be on the Marlins Opening Day roster.
After adding the new acquisitions into the mix, the “Depth Charts” tool over at Fangraphs currently has Miami as a 70-win ballclub. Some feel that even that new, revised projection is a little low:
There’s nothing wrong with this “pie in the sky” mentality. I’m not trying to be a Pollyanna here, although those who doubt Derek Jeter‘s motive and ability to build a winner will quickly find fault with the logic.
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It’s entirely plausible that Miami outperforms everybody’s expectation. I felt it was a plausible enough outcome that I put $5 on them to win the World Series. At +25000, I stand to make a 25,000 percent profit and take home $1250.
Still, I know it’s at best, extremely unlikely. That’s why I didn’t put more on it. A .500 record, however, that’s completely a possibility considering recent developments.
Pitchers and catchers report in two weeks, spring is nearly here, and before you know it we’ll be catching Miami in live game action. Until then, keep checking back here for all the latest Marlins news, developments, and conspiracy theories.