|2007 Team Previews: The Florida Marlins|
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on April 07, 2007
2006 Record 78-84
Off the Hook:
The Marlins don’t much look like a franchise that’s won two World Championships in the last 10 years. Instead they look like a franchise that’s in the process of rebuilding – and that’s because they are. That’s not to say that the Marlins are a team without a plan – they’ve got one and it’s a very good one – develop pitching and find major league ready talent in trade. It’s been an extremely successful exercise and Marlins are a team on the rise, but the rise isn’t going to bring them to the top this year.
Strengths: Young developing talent. It’s doubtful that anywhere else in baseball are you going to find a team this stacked with young developing talent. Down the road the rotation looks like it could develop into the best in the Majors while the offense is just missing a little seasoning. This team will hit some rough spots and a few of the current players may not work out, but their pitching is what you need to watch for this season.
Weaknesses: Experience. Three fifths of the Marlins staff made the jump from AA last year to the big leagues, and among the position players only Miguel Cabrera, Alex Sanchez and Miguel Olivo have more than one full season of experience under their belt. That will lead to a lot of ups and downs as players handle slumps, get figured out by other teams and generally run into some developmental walls. How this team will shake out after that is a big question. If you believe last years numbers and development continues this team should be a contender next season, but some of last years stars could merely be one season wonders and 2007 will tell us which.
Keys to success: For the Marlins to win this year they’d need to have the young pitchers on the staff take a tremendous step forward and the Mets and Phillies would have to struggle to a great extent.Prediction: The Marlins have a lot of growing up to do but they are actually a pretty good team. Still unless the pitching steps it up the Marlins will not finish anywhere higher than third. They’ll likely battle for that spot with the Braves who are also in the process of rebuilding. It’s smart to remember that the Marlins aren’t building for this year but for the future, still don’t count them out of the playoff chase as a real dark horse contender.