Miami Marlins


The Miami Marlins are deeply entrenched in the rebuilding process and are trying to create a philosophy that promotes patience, optimism and determination. They will occasionally struggle for extended periods in the ultra-competitive National League East this season. Several of their young and talented ball players need to demonstrate signs of improvement not only from a statistical perspective, but in terms of conditioning, mental toughness, and athleticism as well. Pitching and defense will be areas of emphasis this season as the Marlins continue to cultivate an identity that goes well beyond new uniforms and team colors.
Team MVP: Brian Anderson

J.T. Realmuto was the unquestioned leader and primary offensive threat for the Marlins last season. After being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in February, it appears as if Brian Anderson is ready to become the focal point of the Marlins’ offense. Anderson led the Marlins last season in runs (87), doubles (34), and on base percentage (.357). Besides splitting time between right field and third base in 2018, Anderson had 3.9 Wins Above Replacement, the second-best figure on the Marlins, trailing only Realmuto's 4.3, according to

Versatility and consistency were hallmarks of Anderson’s first full major league season after playing 25 games for the Marlins in September 2017. Key factors in Anderson becoming the Marlins’ most valuable player this season will be his daily preparation and commitment to introducing additional elements of power into his overall offensive game. Last season, Anderson hit 11 home runs in 647 plate appearances with only four home runs coming on the road. He is scheduled to earn $585,000 this season, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts.
Best-Value Pitcher: Trevor Richards
The Marlins currently have a plethora of young pitchers who will play important roles throughout the season in the starting rotation. Pitchers Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez, Trevor Richards, and Caleb Smith are all pre-arbitration eligible ballplayers whose average age is 25 years old. While each of these young pitchers could easily provide significant value in comparison to compensation this season, look for Richards to be the first to emerge as the best value pitcher. He spent time during spring training working on a curveball and cutter to add to an arsenal that already features an outstanding changeup and fastball.
Jose Urena, the Opening Day starter for the second consecutive season, will earn $3.2 million in 2019. In two shocking moves, the Marlins demoted pitcher Wei-Yin Chen to the bullpen and released starter Dan Straily right before the conclusion of spring training. Chen and his five-year, $80 million contract have been a disappointment, and Straily became expendable due to the emergence of the talented quartet of young pitchers. Straily will receive roughly $1.2 million in termination pay instead of the $5 million he accepted to avoid arbitration back in January.
Best-Value Position Player: Jorge Alfaro
Second baseman Starlin Castro is in the final year of his seven-year, $60 million contract originally signed by the Chicago Cubs in August 2012. While it is highly unlikely for the Marlins to pick up the 2020 club option for $16 million ($1 million buyout), Castro will essentially be playing for his next contract this season. The four-time All-Star could be a very attractive commodity to several contending ball clubs at some point this summer if a need develops for middle infielders.
The best-value position player in terms of offensive production in comparison to compensation is Brian Anderson, who is also projected to be the Marlins’ most valuable player. However, the second-best on the Marlins this upcoming season could be the recently acquired catcher Jorge Alfaro. He is scheduled to make $570,000 in 2019 and has already demonstrated a high aptitude for pitch framing and arm strength. He will be tasked with handling the young and talented pitching rotation as well as being an active contributor to the Marlins’ offense.
Best Addition: Victor Victor Mesa
The Marlins have become synonymous with subtractions instead of additions. However, one shouldn’t overlook the impact Curtis Granderson could have in terms of clubhouse leadership, mentoring, and overall professionalism. While there aren’t any assurances the 38-year-old will remain with the Marlins for the entire season, his presence and energy could be exactly what the franchise needs to take the next positive step forward in rebuilding.
The best addition by the Marlins this off-season was the highly touted international prospect Victor Victor Mesa, a Cuban outfielder. He and his teenage brother, Victor Mesa Jr., signed for a combined $6.25 million, with the older brother receiving $5.25 million. Mesa will begin the season with the Marlins' AA affiliate, the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.
The acquisition of right-handed pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez from the Philadelphia Phillies in the trade for J.T. Realmuto was a close second. Sanchez is currently ranked 27th and Mesa 98th in Major League Baseball Pipeline's Top 100 prospects.
The X-Factor: Lewis Brinson
It’s safe to say the Marlins would love to see center fielder Lewis Brinson become their “X Factor” for the 2019 season. Brinson struggled mightily in 2018 over the course of 109 games. In 406 plate appearances, Brinson struck out 120 times while only achieving an on base plus slugging percentage of .577. He was plagued by right hip inflammation and the normal growing pains that accompany a ball player’s first full season at the major league level.
Brinson is still an enigma wrapped in a riddle for the Marlins. He possesses the talent and skills to excel, but can Brinson produce on a consistent basis at the major league level? In 20 spring training games, Brinson hit five home runs while achieving an on base plus slugging percentage of .896. He struck out 18 times over 57 plate appearances. If Brinson can find a rhythm and focus on the subtle nuances of his hitting mechanics, he will become the Marlins’ “X Factor” in 2019.


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