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Miami Marlins 2018: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Expert Insight

Jose Urena

Jose Urena

Let the rebuild begin. After losing the late Jose Fernandez in 2016 and falling short of the postseason the past few seasons, the window of opportunity closed for the Marlins. The new Bruce Sherman/Derek Jeter regime decided to break up a talented core of young players. Gone are All-Stars Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna.

Miami hopes to build something sustainable, which means starting from the bottom and working its way up. But it will take time, because the Marlins depleted their farm system with trades and missed in drafts while trying to snap a long postseason drought.

This will be a transition year, as Jeter and Co. shape the organization to their liking. Holdovers from the core will play alongside prospects and reclamation projects, much like in ’13 following the blockbuster Marlins-Blue Jays deal in November 2012. 

Opposing Scouts Size Up the MARLINS

“It’s going to be a long rebuild — very ugly on the major-league side, and not a lot in the minors, either. They had some very bad contracts, obviously. They needed to get some money out of there and build for the future. The only mistake now will be if they don’t go far enough. They have very few top-100 prospects, and I don’t love much about the returns they got for [Giancarlo] Stanton, [Dee] Gordon and [Marcell] Ozuna. In Dan Straily, they’ve still got a starter who could interest teams in July. He’s got a good slider and changeup, excellent command and a real idea of what he’s doing. I’m not too high on the other guys; Jose Urena should strike out more hitters with the kind of arm he has, and Adam Conley was very hittable last season. Kyle Barraclough or Drew Steckenrider should close for them; they’re big-arm guys who miss a lot of bats.”  

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Hall of Fame broadcaster Felo Ramirez, who died on Aug. 21, was the Spanish radio voice of the Marlins since the inaugural 1993 season. He called both of the club’s World Series championships as well as five of its no-hitters.

How times have changed

The last time the Marlins played a season without Giancarlo Stanton was 2009, the year before the club’s all-time home run leader was called up from Double-A Jacksonville as a 20-year-old. In ’09, Dan Uggla and Hanley Ramirez manned the middle infield, Leo Nunez (later known as Juan Carlos Oviedo) saved games and Andrew Miller pitched in the rotation at the old ballpark. Stanton would arrive and supplant Jeremy Hermida in both position (right field) and number (27).

Welcome back

Don Mattingly’s return offers stability of sorts to a club with otherwise high turnover at the managerial position. He is the longest-tenured skipper in the NL East after the Nationals parted ways with Dusty Baker and the Mets with Terry Collins. Mattingly is 602–530 in seven seasons as a manager — 446–363 with the Dodgers (five years) and 156–167 with the Marlins (two years).

Pinstripe pipeline

Derek Jeter brought members of the Bronx brain trust to help him turn the organization around. Gary Denbo is the new vice president of player development and scouting, while Dan Greenlee, another former Yankees executive, is director of player personnel. 

Hometown glory

Justin Bour, who impressed at the Home Run Derby with 22 homers in the first round, could make his return to the national spotlight this summer in Washington, D.C., if invited. Bour attended George Mason University in nearby Fairfax, Va. He lost his matchup to the champion, Aaron Judge, in Miami.

Down on the Farm

The Marlins acquired 12 top prospects (21 players overall) from eight trades dating back to June, reshaping their farm system in the process. It is part of the organization’s strategy to build from the bottom up and create depth at all levels. 

Effective pen

Marlins relievers recorded 559 strikeouts in 2017, second most in team history. That’s the good news. The bad news: The pitching staff as a whole finished with just 1,202 overall strikeouts, fewest in the National League.

Projected Lineup

RF    Magneuris Sierra (L)
3B    Martin Prado (R)
1B    Justin Bour (L)
2B    Starlin Castro (R)
LF    Derek Dietrich (L)
C     J.T. Realmuto (R)
SS    J.T. Riddle (L)

CF    Lewis Brinson (R)
INF    Miguel Rojas (R)
OF    Braxton Lee (L)
1B    Garrett Cooper (R)
C/1B  Tomas Telis (S)
C    Chad Wallach
RHP    Dan Straily
RHP    Jose Urena
LHP    Adam Conley
RHP    Odrisamer Despaigne
LHP    Wei-Yin Chen
RHP    Brad Ziegler (Closer)
RHP    Kyle Barraclough
RHP    Junichi Tazawa
RHP     Drew Steckenrider
RHP    Nick Wittgren
LHP    Jarlin Garcia
RHP    Brian Ellington