Miami Shocked Baseball in 2020. Can they do it again in 2021?

First and foremost, I would like to start by welcoming you to The WAR Room. We are going to try to give you the best baseball content we possibly can! The offseason is upon us. Plenty of MLB teams will be making moves to better their teams for 2021 and beyond. One of the teams I would like to focus on is the Miami Marlins. In a crazy and strange year for baseball in 2020, one of the craziest and most unusual outcomes was the Miami Marlins making the playoffs. Yes… you heard that correctly. The Miami Marlins, with 2020 NL Manager of the Year Don Mattingly, not only made the playoffs, but they swept the Cubs 2-0 in the Wild Card round, before losing to the Braves 3-0 in the NLDS. Let’s be real here, nobody thought the Marlins had a chance. Especially after going 57-105 the season prior. The Jeter regime has seen a lot of turnover and a lot of trades to lower salary. A team that once had promising stars in Giancarlo Stanton, J.T Realmuto, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna ended up fueling a rebuild that has been filled with uncertainty.

The 2020 season gave every team a real fair shot to make the playoffs in a 60-game season and the Marlins are definitely an example of this, but heading into 2021 fresh off a playoff appearance this team has some real bright spots to surprise people once again in the near future, albeit with some inevitable bumps along the way. Let’s take a look at what has to be done this offseason to continue to make that happen.

Top Prospects Need to Perform in a Full Season

The Marlins have plenty of top prospects in their system. According to MLB.com, they are the 5th ranked farm system in baseball and have plenty of top 100 prospects in their system. With the highest being future front-line starter Sixto Sánchez. With Sánchez looking like he has a bright future at the top of the rotation for the Fish heading into 2021 after recording a 3.46 ERA in 7 starts, the team needs more than just him to perform in 2021. While the Marlins have plenty of up and coming pitching prospects coming along, the hitting has left something to be desired. Jazz Chisholm, another one of their top prospects, struggled in limited action in 2020, but he does show promise with the glove and bat at SS for the Marlins.

Top prospect Sixto Sanchez

In addition to that, they need 2019 5th overall pick JJ Bleday to really be the cornerstone in the lineup for the Marlins towards the end of 2021. He profiles as a right fielder and was rated as one of the best pure hitters coming out of his draft class. I think Bleday is going to be one of those guys that is going to come up right away and help this team win games right away in 2021 and beyond.

Go get a Bat

The promise the Marlins have in their major league ready pitching and in their farm system is very encouraging. Sixto Sánchez, followed by Sandy Alcántara makes for a really nice 1 and 2 in the rotation with pitchers like Braxton Garrett, Max Meyer and so many more coming up through the system as the Marlins really went out of their way to get more starters. The hitting, however, has some improvements to be made. While they do have some decent bats like Miguel Rojas, who hit .304, and starling Marte, they need to go out and get someone that can help mold this young and upcoming lineup. I think Didi Gregorius would be an interesting fit. Here is why. At only 31, he hit a really solid .284 with 10 homers. He is a shortstop by trade and is still a really good fielder. If they choose to have Chisholm start the season with the big-league club, they could move him to second and have Rojas play third base, which would make for a really nice middle infield. Didi could be relatively cheap. If I would have to guess, maybe 2 years-$30 million. This would help the lineup immediately and provide a much needed veteran presence.

Bullpen Help

I think one of the other big pieces that the Marlins need to go out and get is the bullpen. They had a team ERA of 5.05 which was 13th in MLB in 2020. The good news is that this free agency class has a lot of decent bullpen arms. Just to name a few, Kirby Yates, Trevor Rosenthal, and Blake Treinen. One of the recommendations I would have is to try to get Yates or Brad Hand. The reason being that they could be good and relatively cheap bounce back candidates for 2021, after less than inspiring 2020 campaigns. In addition to that, they have been top closers in all of baseball at least once in recent years and do have that veteran leadership and experience to guide the Marlins if a postseason run were to happen for them in 2021 or in the near future.

One thing is for sure, the Marlins did shock a lot of people in 2020. Could a regression be in play? Absolutely. But Marlins fans, you need to know one thing. The future is bright and winning is attainable as soon as this next season.


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