The Miami Marlins are a better team in 2020

JUPITER, FLORIDA - MARCH 11: Manager Don Mattingly #8 of the Miami Marlins signs a autograph for a fan prior to a Grapefruit League spring training against the New York Yankees at Roger Dean Stadium on March 11, 2020 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
JUPITER, FLORIDA - MARCH 11: Manager Don Mattingly #8 of the Miami Marlins signs a autograph for a fan prior to a Grapefruit League spring training against the New York Yankees at Roger Dean Stadium on March 11, 2020 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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With two weeks left until MLB begins, the Miami Marlins are becoming a better baseball team before everyone’s eyes.

It sounds like a political question, but it is fitting to ask as the Miami Marlins are two weeks away from playing their first game of the 2020 season. Is this baseball team better than it was a year ago? On paper, it looks that way. In the field and on the mound, fans and media alike will have to wait and see.

You cannot help but look at what the Marlins front office, especially the work of Michael Hill, DJ Svihlik, Dick Scott, and Don Mattingly have done and not be impressed with the changes made to the Major League roster and the minor league system. Despite the work stoppage due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and the bickering back and forth between the league office and the players, the Marlins had a plan this season – to make a substantial leap in the standings this season to prove they are contenders for the future.

With 60 games to play and new rules with an expanded roster, Derek Jeter’s team may do that unintentionally, and could snag a playoff berth in the process. This is not how it was supposed to be scripted, but as Miami Marlins fans will tell you, their first two World Series titles were won under some of the most unexpected circumstances.

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This could be the same and another chapter in South Florida baseball history written with plenty of drama and intrigue.

The changes to Marlins Park, where the fences have been brought in to maximize the possibility of the long ball have players adjusting on the fly.

"“Marlins Park underwent some offseason alterations, namely replacing the natural grass with the state of the art “B1K: Batting A Thousand” turf by Shaw Sports,” writes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com.“Also, the outfield fences in center and right-center were adjusted. They are now 400 feet (from 407) in center and 387 feet (from 399) in right-center.”"

Some of the team’s top prospects have already made short work of the outfield by taking a few balls out over the centerfield fence.

The Marlins have a starting rotation that is a year more experienced and deeper, with interchangeable parts that will allow Mattingly to make adjustments sooner rather than later. The bullpen is more experienced and will have more opportunities to hold leads and save games this season.

The outfield is deeper and faster. There is more power in the lineup and the moves to add more players with versatility will suit the roster well. And above everything, the Miami Marlins continue to build the farm system with players who will make this team a contender into the next five seasons.

It looks like outfielder Monte Harrison is leading the way.

"“I love the energy that he plays with,” Mattingly said. “The confidence. He plays with that swag and that walk. He’s a guy that you look forward to cracking in here, breaking the door down, and basically showing us what he can do. I think the fans of South Florida are going to love this guy.”"

Based on the schedule and how the Marlins are now using a designated hitter to help score more runs, it could be the most interesting baseball seasons in the history of this organization. And if the Marlins are able to use this season to gain momentum for the 2021 campaign, fans will see just how good this team can be.

It’s just how Jeter planned it. OK, maybe not. But there is no denying any success this season will be the catalyst that proves the idea the new ownership group had is in full swing.

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