The Miami Marlins are building an identity through changes to the team’s hitting strategy this coming season.
It’s a question the Miami Marlins must figure out, but it has not been discussed too often over the course of the offseason. What kind of identity will this baseball team have in 2020?
Over the past four seasons, while Don Mattingly has steered the untamed ship, which the first two seasons under his direction the Marlins looked like a baseball team that if given the right coordinates, could make a run toward the playoffs.
The last two seasons have been an exercise in patience and many apologies. The Miami faithful has been asking for a winning product for years now. No winning season since 2009. No playoff berth since 2003. No real belief the guidelines set by the new ownership group and management would produce anything worthy of raising an eyebrow.
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Now, the course is set. And now the coaching staff, including James Rowson, will help establish an identity the team can help foster way beyond the next two months.
"“In Miami, Rowson’s mission is to reverse the fortunes of a sluggish squad that ranked at or near the bottom in several significant statistical categories a year ago,” Joe Frisaro of MLB.com writes."
Rowson, as has been discussed before here at Marlin Maniac, might become the most important addition to this franchise in 2020 because of what he accomplished in Minnesota last season. Mattingly brought him in to help this roster learn to hit better and to become more consistent at the plate and on the bases. He and hitting coach Eric Duncan could form one of the best coaching units in all of MLB this season.
"“I always say, we [coaches] create the culture, but the players on this team will create their identity,” Rowson said. “And their identity will be about them. Every team has its own identity.”"
The 307 home runs the Twins hit last season are a testament to the need for organization in hitting as an individual and as a team. The 146 home runs last season by Miami was clearly the lowest mark in MLB in 2019. The .241 batting average was an embarrassment.
The atmosphere with the Miami Marlins is different than the one the American League Central team displayed last season. Rowson, along with Mattingly and the coaching staff, knows this is not the same situation. There are small steps to take and then there are bigger moves that will create better results as the season wears on.
"“We’re going to encourage the same thing here, to get these guys to be free,” Rowson said. “Play the game the way they play it, be themselves, and they’re going to create a great identity here in Miami.”"
The Marlins front office brought in heavy hitters in Jesus Aguilar, Jonathan Villar, and Corey Dickerson. The team brings back Garrett Cooper, Brian Anderson, and Jorge Alfaro. There are Isan Diaz, Jesus Sanchez, Monte Harrison, and Lewin Diaz who have plenty of pop in their bats. It makes for an interesting 60 games this season.
"“What Rowson is encouraging and working toward is having the Miami players themselves develop their own personality,” Frisaro wrote."