So another offseason has come and gone for the Marlins. After a magical run into the 2020 playoffs, the Marlins look to do it again. With every single major media outlet predicting that the Marlins will finish 5th place in the NL East, Miami is left asking: Who even are the Marlins? Are they a playoff team or 50-win team? If you asked me on the day the 2020 season ended, I would have said the latter was reasonable. Now, after the late moves made in Miami, I would argue the former.
Here’s why the Marlins can make a run:
The starting pitching is young, but they have the potential to explode as a top-5 rotation in this upcoming season. In his piece on MLB.com, Thomas Harrigan explained that the Fish have the potential to be the best rotation in baseball. Although I believe this is a premature prediction (especially for this season), if Sandy, Sixto, and Pablo reach even half of those expectations outlined, the Marlins will be in a contending spot. With depth spots allocated to high potential arms Elieser Hernandez and Trevor Rogers, the Marlins staff is in the best position it has been in, maybe ever.
Oh boy. This was a sore subject last year for Miami. Past Garcia and Kintzler, they lacked consistency. Our bullpen ranked in the bottom of the majors leading to losses in games before Kintzler or Garcia could seal the deal. But now with Dylan Floro, Anthony Bass, and John Curtiss to fill the gaps, the Marlins bullpen is solid. They are not the best bullpen in the league by any means, but they would 100% be a top-15 bullpen (above average). In combination with top starting pitching, the Marlins could become a force to be reckoned with defensively.
The Marlins offensive output will not change. The Adam Duvall signing helps, but does not put the Marlins in a significantly better position in the 2021 season. Their bats last year performed much worse than what was *statistically* expected of them, though. In combination with another year of experience and a positive regression to their mean (20th-25 rather than close to dead last), there should be a little more production. Although Brian Anderson, Starling Marte, and Adam Duvall will most likely be the names accredited with any increased success, I expect a slight increase in overall performance.
Overall for the Marlins
This Marlins team has what it takes to do it again if the starters perform as expected, the backend bullpen overperforms similarly to last season, and the hitting performs as expected. If the Marlins make the playoffs it will be in the Wild Card, but that is nothing to scoff at. They have the perfect balance of confidence from last year and returning grit to beat the odds. Yes, they have to have an outlier performance in all three categories; but, hey, they did it once. Nothing is impossible in Miami.