After the death of Jose Fernandez, can an up-and-coming Miami Marlins team make a splash in 2017? If so, their pitching needs to help out their young studs.
Last season, the Miami Marlins were hoping for a breakout season in 2016. Unfortunately, the season ended in tragedy with the passing of ace and franchise cornerstone Jose Fernandez. While the loss of their star pitcher was a dark spot for their future, the Marlins still have plenty of young talent to get excited about.
2016 Gave the Fish Plenty to Be Excited About
Their outfield is stellar with the likes of Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna. Stanton is a superstar who puts up big power numbers each year, and last season was no different. He hit 27 home runs and drove in 74 runs in just 119 games. Yelich batted to the tune of a .298 average with 21 home runs and 98 runs batted in. Ozuna was able to hit the 20 home run plateau with 23 of his own to go with 76 runs batted in.
The young stars aren’t just limited to the outfield for Miami. Dee Gordon, the Marlins’ second baseman, has shown speed on the base paths. He swiped 30 bases last season and led the National League the two previous seasons. His season was abbreviated by a PED suspension, however. Third baseman Martin Prado led the team in batting with a .305 average and helps provide veteran leadership to a young franchise on the rise. First baseman Justin Bour showed some power with 15 home runs, and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria was ninth in the NL with 1.9 defensive wins above replacement.
Catcher J.T. Realmuto played well on both ends. He batted .303 and was able to throw out an NL-leading 28 attempted base thieves. He also flashed a little speed with 12 stolen bases, which is not bad for a catcher.
But Their Pitching Needs Help
Pitching was not a bright spot for the Marlins last season. After Fernandez, Tom Koehler led the team in wins with nine and strikeouts with 147. Adam Conley had the best earned run average after Fernandez with 3.85 in 2016. Wei-Yin Chen contributed a 5-5 record with 100 strikeouts and a 4.96 earned run average in 123.1 innings pitched. The pitching staff will have to step up for this to be a successful season in Miami.
Their bullpen was led by closer A.J. Ramos, who racked up 40 saves to go along with his 73 strikeouts in 64 innings pitched. He also put up a 2.81 earned run average and earned an All-Star selection. Their bullpen, however, will give him plenty more help after the acquisitions this offseason.