Coming into the 2019 season, the Miami Marlins will enter year two of the massive rebuild that Derek Jeter has helped implement. The Marlins missed the postseason for the 15th consecutive season after another bitter year in 2018. Miami floundered to a 63-98 record and finished 26.5 games behind the division champion Atlanta Braves. Miami will be looking to put 2018 in the rear-view mirror and hope that the 2019 calendar year will be much kinder to them.
Miami Marlins 2019 Preview
The off-season highlight for the Marlins was not a big signing. It was trading away their star catcher and franchise player in J.T. Realmuto. Many teams across the AL and NL entered the Realmuto sweepstakes, but it was the division rival Philadelphia Phillies who won the sweepstakes. In return, the Marlins acquired catcher Jorge Alfaro, RHP Sixto Sanchez, LHP Will Stewart, and international signing bonus pool allocation for Realmuto. A very disappointing return for Miami given the caliber of player Realmuto is.
— LastWordOnSports Inc (@lastwordonsport) February 7, 2019
The key off-season signings that occurred in Miami were the signings of Curtis Granderson, Pedro Alvarez, Neil Walker, and Sergio Romo. These signings are not eye-popping by any means, but they will give Miami some depth and experience. The best out of these signings could be Romo. If he proves he can still pitch at a high level, Romo will add some much-needed talent and experience to a bullpen that finished with a 5.34 ERA in 2018. And do not forget that Romo finished with 25 saves in 2018, while the entire Marlins bullpen combined for 30.
Perhaps the biggest strength Miami brings into the year is their defense. They finished with 77 errors and a .986 fielding percentage which was good enough for eighth in MLB. This will be crucial to their success in 2019, as they won’t be able to overcome giving opponents free runs.
The Marlins obviously have several weaknesses in their big-league club, but the most surprising weakness is the farm system. Outside of Cuban outfielder Victor Victor Mesa (who’s ceiling is up for debate according to many scouts), the rest of the farm system is not very impressive. The Marlins are ranked 28th in Keith Law’s 2019 farm system rankings. Law went on to say “The Marlins traded away several high-value major leaguers and got relatively little to show for it on the prospect side, so their system remains thin, exacerbated by a rash of injuries to first-round picks.”
Let’s not forget this was a team that had one of the best lineups back in 2017. Made up of Dee Gordon, Realmuto, 2018 NL MVP Christian Yelich, 2017 NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton, and Marcell Ozuna. Miami could have bolstered their farm system with plenty of top prospects, but instead got little to nothing for these stars they traded away.
New Jerseys, New Marlins?
The Marlins introduced their new 2019 jerseys this off-season, and they were nothing short of spectacular. These jerseys will attempt to bring a fresh start to the rebuilding Marlins, as well as bring out the Miami culture, something that is very important to Marlins CEO and part-owner Derek Jeter. One of his focuses is on reinvigorating Miami’s fan base, which has been apathetic since the tragic death of Jose Fernandez in 2016.
Here’s your first look at the Miami Marlins new jerseys and cap. pic.twitter.com/1yUx3FezRO
— Miami Herald Sports (@HeraldSports) November 16, 2018
An Important Year For Marlins
The 2019 season for Miami will be all about attempting to draw fans out to Marlins Park as the new ownership will look to lure the Miami community back to Marlins baseball. They will attempt to do this by continuing the emphasis on the fan experience and embracing the Miami culture. Of course, the Marlins will need to improve their on-field product, but if the fan base is re-energized and continues to support, the Marlins will have a bright future ahead of them. It all starts in 2019.
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