The 2020 Miami Marlins, more affectionately known around these parts as “The Fish” may look a bit like a 2015 Barves reunion and that is a very good thing for the rest of the division. Still, after a 57-105 season, there is really nowhere to go but up. The team has added a boatload of 30-somethings on the offense this season in an attempt to better an attack that scored the least in last year’s NL (they were a half run behind the pathetic Giants hitters!) The pitching will be more of the same from last season: they will throw harder than anyone else; they will throw more sliders than anyone else; and they might just approach league average results.
Miam Marlins Depth Chart: Infield
The Fish traded for Jesus Aguillar so presumably that knocks Garrett Cooper back to a bench/left field combination. Aguillar is nothing special with the bat but Cooper is already 29 and carries a career .411 slugging percentage. I listed Jon Villar everywhere because he is their best hitter and if we can count on the Marlins for one thing it’s that they like to jerk their stars around. He is a bad defensive 2nd baseman who the team says they will try at 3rd this spring. We’ll see how that works out. Rojas is the definition of a replacement player at short despite his Braves-killing proclivities. On this team he projects as the 3rd best hitter which is a frightening prospect indeed. There is not currently a utility infielder on the 40-man so I listed the 29 year old who “manned” the position last season. I expect to see some waiver pickup for the last spot in the infield. Prospect Jazz Chisolm has an 80-grade baseball name and is now on the 40-man roster but finished the year in AA. He would hit 20+ homers for them but with atrocious D and a sub-.300 on base percentage.
Miami Marlins Depth Chart: Outfield
The team has no outfield depth at all. Dickerson was a trendy trade target for Atlanta back in 2018 but nothing came of it. He projects as the team’s 4th best hitter now and could be a force should he duplicate his 2019 production rates which are still very good. Louis Brinson has reached the point where most teams would cut bait, but the Fish will give him another year as they really don’t have any other options. He projects for a 69 OPS+ AND a negative defensive showing. Thank your stars for Ender folks! Finally, Brian Anderson is the team’s best player and will likely finish the year playing 3rd (again).
Miami Marlins Depth Chart: Catcher
The best part of the positional players is behind the dish. Alfaro will hit for a higher average than he is always projected for and is an excellent defender with decent framing ability. What Cervelli still has in the tank is anybody’s guess. I’ll root for him.Miami Marlins Depth Chart: Bench
Deven Marrero/Monte Harrison/Jesus Sanchez/waiver pickup
Manager Donnie Baseball has already stated he intends to go with a 5 player bench and 8-man bullpen. Joyce is on a guaranteed contract while Cooper is making the league minimum and is out of options. Berti somehow still has an option (he is 30!) but has been the most productive infielder at New Orleans for a couple of seasons now. He’s a bit of a butcher but I can see him winning the 3rd base job after the Villar experience moves back to short. Matt Kemp is the most interesting of this year’s NRI crop and may well platoon in left field. I wish him well. I listed a few options for 26th man but they are all more like futility infielders at this point.
Miami Marlins Depth Chart: Rotation
The league’s youngest collection of starters has some upside and projects for league average run prevention. Smith is a stylish leftie who somehow strikes out a batter an inning with a 90mph fastball. At 28 he is the old man of this group. Lopez, Alcantara, and Yamamoto all got about 25 starts in last year’s tryout camp and hope to improve with a year’s experience. They all have shown better stuff than results thus far. Dugger is a kid and I expect the team to bring in another veteran for the 5th starter’s role.
Miami Marlins Depth Chart: Bullpen
I listed 9 here as injury or ineffectiveness will likely claim somebody. Kintzler would be a 7th inning guy for most teams but is as good as this team needs as a closer. Old friend Jose “Urine” Urena will share set-up duties this year with hard thrower Ryne Stanek. The rest of the pen is actually pretty good and project as slightly better than league average as a unit.
Miami Marlins Top Prospects
Most of the team’s top prospects are currently at the lower levels of the minors. Players that may graduate to help the team this year include outfielders Monte Harrison and Jesus Sanchez. Harrison is a burner in center while Sanchez is a prototypical rightfielder except for too many strikeouts. Both are average prospects who will likely supplant Brinson and Anderson (because he moves back to 3rd). Neither is likely to be long-term building blocks. Nick Neidert and Braxton Garrett are a couple starting pitchers who profile as 4th starters with the chance for a little more should their control come around. Both will make appearances at some point.
Miami Marlins: The Verdict
Overall the fish will improve their record this year but aren’t really making much progress towards building a contending team. They have been fairly successful in building a MLB caliber pitching staff but by the time their positional prospects are ready for major league success they will need a whole new group of pitchers. This year looks a lot like our 2016 with the import of all the 30-somethings.
Predicted Finish: 63-99
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this piece, take a look back at former Atlanta Brave now a Miami Marlin, Matt Joyce’s Player Review.