The Miami Marlins are a strange puzzle to solve at mid-season. They were projected to have one of their best seasons in years due to their promising young talent and the solid veterans they had brought in. However, the Marlins have been struck by the injury bug more than other teams have. Consequently, they currently sit at 4th place in the National League east, eleven games out of first place, and ten games out of the nearest wild card spot.
Coming into spring training, many baseball experts picked the Marlins to be a breakout candidate this year and why not? They had two of baseball’s hottest, young stars and the veterans that they added were supposed to provide them with enough support to get the job done. However, both of their bright, young stars landed on the disabled list as well as several of the veterans.
The Miami lineup featured Giancarlo Stanton, Martin Prado, and Dee Gordon. Coupled together with the other position players, it was projected to be able to output some good offense. However, Stanton, Gordon, and Prado have each gotten hurt and the rest of the lineup has not been able to help make up for their production.
Graphic via espn
The Marlins’ pitching staff boasted Henderson Alvarez, Dan Haren, and Matt Latos. Alvarez suffered a shoulder injury in his fourth start of the season and has not pitched since. Haren and Latos have each been injured and neither has lived up to the expectations that they started the season with.
Miami is one of the best defensive teams in the league. They have only committed 39 errors in the first half of the season. Their defense is anchored by the strong play of Dee Gordon and Giancarlo Stanton.
Surprisingly, their pitching has done better than expected, given the injuries to Alvarez, Haren, and Latos. Their pitching staff has a decent ERA at 3.79 and their bullpen has been better than many of better playing teams.
The Marlins most glaring weakness is hitting. They rank 26th in runs scored despite the enormous contribution of Stanton. While Dee Gordon is a solid complement to Stanton, the Marlins lack a true menace in their lineup after Stanton. The return of Martin Prado should provide them with some improvement, but it will not have a major impact.
The Second Half
The returns of Henderson Alvarez, Martin Prado, and Giancarlo Stanton should enable the Marlins to finish the second half stronger than the first. However, the Marlins need more help than their returning stars can provide. Their most glaring need is obtaining another hitter in the center of their lineup and obtaining another pitcher wouldn’t hurt either.
Unfortunately, the Marlins appear to be holding to their normal philosophy of trying to ride young talent. Their young stars have long and bright careers ahead of them, but they do not have the ability to carry the team right now. Therefore, it is reasonably safe to predict that the Marlins will finish in the bottom half of the National League East this year.
Graphic via marlinmaniac