When the Miami Marlins finally take the baseball field in 2020, what kind of team will they be and who will take the lead on the clubhouse?
If the Miami Marlins are really going to take a step forward in 2020, which player will be the one to leave them down that path?
It’s hard to imagine this team moving through the National League East without a more recognizable face than the one who runs the team in the front office and the one who manages the players on the field.
Who is fit to lead? Which player will stand out? Who will make a run toward the regular season awards? Which prospect will make the biggest impression this coming season?
Jeter, Mattingly, and the team’s president of baseball operations, Michael Hill have all stressed the hope for success in 2020. They’ve also preached that the franchise has made adjustments from last year. While baseball is in a holding pattern right now, it’s important that those adjustments are evident as the players walk back on the playing field.
The obvious choice is Brian Anderson. The third baseman has been in the Marlins organization since 2015 and showed he could become an all-star type player last year before injuries cut short the final month of his MLB season. Then there’s Jonathan Villar who may be nothing more than a rent-a-player until the trade deadline. But the veteran who came over from Baltimore figures to be a big part of the offensive resurgence of this franchise.
The Marlins signed Matt Joyce who has had success as a veteran outfielder. Matt Kemp is still fighting for a spot on the 26 man roster, but should he make the club, I have no doubt he will be called upon to show younger players the proper way to conduct themselves in this game.
The Marlins were one of the worst offensive teams in the Majors in 2019. A .241 batting average collectively, only 146 home runs to speak of, and one of the lowest run-scoring teams in baseball – there’s a lot to improve on. The same could be said for the pitching staff. Miami had one of the worst bullpens in baseball. While the pitching staff is young and exciting, I see a lot of questions still be answered.
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While spring training gave everybody a chance to see what can be this season, unless the rotation is dominant from the start, what Mattingly hopes will be a major improvement might be the status quo.
It has been said that once all 30 teams have been cleared to resume practice and prepare for the season, it will take one month of preparation time before baseball becomes real. The Marlins can’t lose the momentum they had at the time of the work stoppage. I know we’ve talked about this before, but no other team benefited as much from a hot start in February and March.
Hopefully, fans get to see the same kind of exuberance from the remaining 48 players in Major-League camp. And hopefully, by then we will start to see leaders emerge.
Hill has stated this off-season that he’s excited about the changes made to the team’s roster and the organization. It’s not hard to do considering what the team has been through the past two seasons. But unless somebody is willing to step forward and play follow the leader, the Marlins may wind up being a team full of hope and once again a failure at the plate.
As Mattingly said a few weeks ago should that happen, there will be plenty of disappointed people not only in the front office but in the clubhouse and those who came to see the players prove they could win.
Let’s hope that doesn’t happen. There is too much to be excited about right now – even with everyone waiting to play the game again.