Miami Marlins: 3 Predictions for Jonathan Villar

JUPITER, FL - MARCH 10: Jonathan Villar #2 of the Miami Marlins in action against the Washington Nationals during a spring training baseball game at Roger Dean Stadium on March 10, 2020 in Jupiter, Florida. The Marlins defeated the Nationals 3-2. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
JUPITER, FL - MARCH 10: Jonathan Villar #2 of the Miami Marlins in action against the Washington Nationals during a spring training baseball game at Roger Dean Stadium on March 10, 2020 in Jupiter, Florida. The Marlins defeated the Nationals 3-2. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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Can newly acquired centerfielder Jonathan Villar help the Miami Marlins become a better team on the bases and defensively in 2020?

If Jonathan Villar is able to do the same things in a Miami Marlins uniform as he was last season in Baltimore, then the trade that brought the team’s centerfielder south to the National League might be one of the greatest trades in team history.

Villar was thought to be the team’s new third baseman but has since moved to centerfield. He has since shown an ability to get comfortable not only in his new surroundings but in a position he is not totally familiar with.

The Miami Marlins are counting on him to help revitalize a flatlined team batting average and to provide leadership on the field and in the clubhouse with players who are just getting their feet wet on the Major League scene.

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Talk of baseball coming back in May is still on the table, however the Marlins on sure when and if that might happen. But when it does as team CEO Derek Jeter said everybody will be ready to play. Villar is waiting to show that he is just as proficient in a new league with a new team and new beginnings.

Here are three predictions for the Miami Marlins new centerfielder in 2020.

50 Stolen Base

The Marlins have some speed on the base pads. Villar just accentuates it with the 40 swipes he had last season in the American League.

This year, Villar gets on base – possibly from the second or third spot in the batting order and move runners around. The Miami Marlins scored just 615 runs in 2019, which was 29th in the league just ahead of the Detroit Tigers. The coaching staff hopes Villar is “instant” offense in South Florida.

Villar stole four bases this spring. The combination of he and Brian Anderson at the top of the batting order should allow the team to produce more at the plate. Given the former Baltimore Orioles star is a switch hitter makes him that much more valuable to this roster.

Golden Glove Stuff

The one thing the Marlins must get from all of their outfielders this coming season is some solid defense. The knock against playing in Marlins Park used to be the outfield was deep and cavernous. Now, that has changed.

The front office decided to move the fences in to help the offense score more runs with the long ball. But the detriment to such a move is opposing hitters will have a shorter porch to swing for. Can Villar, with his speed in centerfield, track down as many balls as needed to stop power hitters from ending games with one swing of the bat?

Look for Villar to give the team another added dimension in the outfield and also act as a guide for Corey Dickerson and possibly Matthew Joyce – the two front runners to start in the corners this season.

If Villar can master being in the outfield, it should be he brings home a Gold Glove for his efforts.

Home Run Leader

When Villar was acquired this offseason, the first thing I thought of was he should be a better offensive weapon than Starlin Castro. Had the 28-year-old been on this roster last season, his 24 home runs would have led the team.

There is plenty of opportunities for him to swing for the fences early and often.

Granted, the Marlins added other potential offensive weapons to the roster this offseason and have hitters in the lineup like Anderson, Garrett Cooper and Jorge Alfaro who could all approach 25-30 homers this season. It’s Villar who must be the catalyst,

It would be something if the Marlins had four hitters with 30 or more home runs after such an awful season last year at the plate.

If manager Don Mattingly decides to bat Villar in the leadoff spot, he will get plenty of chances to leave the yard. It’s up to him to make the most of those chances he is given.

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