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Marlins Season Preview

Spring Training is finally coming to a close, and the fresh breath of new life enters MLB clubs around the league. The Miami Marlins enter April baseball with chips on their shoulders. Each player has individually expressed that this squad has something to prove: that they are here to contend. The atmosphere around Major League Baseball suggests that no one believes the Marlins were quite good enough to be in a legitimate NLDS series. Last year, those claims were well-founded, as a young Marlins roster overperformed statistically and utilized a small sample size of games to sneak into the playoffs. With a revamped roster, Miami looks to stun the baseball world again, or at least prove that they aren’t one-hit wonders. 

 

Here is a preview of what Miami will bring to the table in 2021:

 

Electric Young Arms

It is no surprise that this tops the list. The Marlins look to bring a top-5 rotation into the 2021 season, headed by Sandy Alcantara. With Sixto Sanchez starting his year in the minors, the definitive rotation consists of Sandy, Pablo Lopez, Elieser Hernandez, Trevor Rogers. These exceptionally talented young arms improve with each outing and will be the most well-rounded pitching core the Marlins have seen in years. With 3/4 of these arms (and 4/5 once Sixto is back) coming off fresh Postseason experience, there is even more experience to go on. Sandy, Pablo, and Sixto are all dark-horses to win the NL Cy Young and look poised to lead the Marlins to many victories throughout the season. Expect an electric win-filled year from these arms.

 

Stable Backend Bullpen Arms

 

The Marlins have not had a surplus of arms in years. With timely trades and signings, the Miami bullpen is a force to reckon with going into this season. Anthony Bass and Yimi Garcia, two solid righties, cement the backend of the rotation, and hope to be as effective as the Garcia/Kintzler combination was last year. Unlike 2020, however, there is a solid middle of the bullpen to look forward to. Dylan Floro, John Curtiss, and Richard Bleier provide stability in the middle innings in games where the young arms reach their pitch limit. With multiple members of this bullpen posting sub-3 ERAs throughout their careers, expect the bullpen to be one of the most successful Miami has seen.

 

High Potential Bats

 

Since the illustrious trades of Stanton, Yelich, and Ozuna, it has been no secret that the Marlins couldn’t contend on the offensive end. Last year, although successful, was no different. This year may be different. The Marlins field 8 guys, 6 of whom have had above-league-average years at the plate. Starling Marte, Corey Dickerson, Adam Duvall, Jesus Aguilar, Miguel Rojas, and Brian Anderson make up this list, with each trending upwards throughout their respective careers. Jorge Alfaro and Jazz Chisholm are the two bats in the everyday lineup without past success, but both have high upsides that can push them over the top. Also keep in mind that the Marlins first man out, Garrett Cooper, is statistically this team’s second best hitter. For the first time since the trades, the Marlins have an above average offensive core.

 

Overall for Marlins

 

This Marlins team will surprise some people. I predicted halfway through Spring Training that this Marlins team would make the playoffs, and I am sticking to my guns. After a month of watching and covering this team, it is clear that last year was no fluke. Whether or not they make the playoffs this year, there will be exciting baseball and many wins in Miami for years to come.

 

For more, check out “Marlins on Tap” sponsored by Biscayne Brewing Company on the Five Reasons YouTube channel.

Marlins Trade for John Curtiss

The Marlins made another impressive move the other day, going out and trading for John Curtiss. Curtiss, who helped lead the Rays to an AL Championship this past season, had a 3-0 record with a 1.80 ERA last season. Although he stumbled in the postseason, the Marlins have added another quality arm to their bullpen. With Detwiler, Cimber, Bass, Floro, and now Curtiss added to the mix, the bullpen looks strong headed into the 2021 season (at least stronger than it was last year). 

Curtiss Makes Marlins ‘Pen Even More Stable

Curtiss provides even more stability to the Marlins bullpen and could be a key piece in a well-balanced bullpen. In his 2/17 press conference Don Mattingly expressed how reliant the Marlins will be on pitching this season, maybe even more so than last year. Now, with an elite starting rotation and a solid bullpen to back it up, this season and its future are looking much brighter in Miami.

Marlins Bullpen Depth Looks Good

Miami’s bullpen is now the strongest it has been in a long time. The depth they have is unprecedented for the Marlins and when combined with Sandy, Sixto, and Pablo on most nights, could be the deciding factor in high caliber games versus the strong NL East. The Marlins have solidified themselves as a top 20 team at this point, but their in-division competition may make it look otherwise. 

Overall Takeaway

It looks like Miami is pushing to compete this season. Regardless of the outcome, they have made extremely solid moves in an attempt to win. For a young Marlins team, the goal is to perform better this year than last; however, that may just mean the bats start working and the pitching is good, not necessarily a playoff berth. That is all Miami can ask for, and now, all that is left is to see how it pans out.

The Biggest Sports Events Coming in 2021

2020 was a disruptive year for sports but, thankfully, many major sporting events are returning in 2021. Here are the key ones sporting fans the world over are hotly anticipating.

 

February 7: Super Bowl LV

 

The highlight of the sporting year for many fans is just around the corner. The 55th Super Bowl sees defending champions Kansas City Chiefs taking on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at their home stadium in Tampa, Florida. The Chiefs have produced some impressive performances during the regular season and they are favorites to win, but the Buccaneers could come out on top yet. To keep up with the latest news and odds, check out this helpful guide to Super Bowl betting.

 

21 March – 5 December: Formula One World Championship

 

The final may be a long way away, but the 2021 Formula One World Championship is set to get underway in March. The calendar consists of 23 races around the world. Having recently matched Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world titles, Lewis Hamilton will be doing everything he can to win the 2021 world championship.

 

Image source: https://pixabay.com/photos/golf-golf-ball-golfing-hole-1284011/

 

April 8 – 11: Masters Tournament

 

The 85th edition of the Masters Tournament is the first of the four major golfing championships due to be held in 2021. The others being May’s PGA Championship, June’s US Open, and July’s The Open Championship. The 2021 Masters Tournament will be held at the iconic course of Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. Dustin Johnson will be hoping to hold on to his 2020 win, but no one has achieved a successive win since Tiger Woods in 2002, so Johnson has his work cut out.

 

11 June – 11 July: Euro 2020

 

Soccer fans the world over are eagerly anticipating this year’s UEFA European Football Championship for two reasons. Firstly, the tournament was postponed from last year, so fans have been waiting a long time. And despite the competition now being held in 2021, it will still be named Euro 2020. Secondly, as a romantic gesture to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the European football championships, the tournament is uniquely taking place across numerous European cities, like Rome, Baku, and Bilbao, with England’s Wembley Stadium hosting the final.

 

28 June – 11 July: Wimbledon Championships

 

The third Grand Slam tournament of the year, the Wimbledon Championships, is one of the most prestigious tennis tournaments on the planet. Defending singles champions Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep will be hoping to cling on to their title at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon, London. But whether they can manage to do so remains to be seen.

 

23 July – 8 August: The 2020 Summer Olympics

 

The biggest and longest-running sporting competition on the planet is due to return in 2021, having been postponed for the very first time in its modern history. Despite the 2020 Olympics now being held in 2021, the games are still being called the 2020 Summer Olympics. The multi-sport event will be held in Tokyo, Japan. Tokyo 2020 will see several new competitions being introduced, including freestyle BMX, 3×3 basketball, and baseball. The games will also see karate, surfing, and skateboarding making their Olympics debuts.

 

November 5 – 6: The Breeders’ Cup

 

Rounding off the international horse racing calendar in November is the prestigious Breeders’ Cup. The best horses and jockeys in the world will be heading to the iconic racing venue of Del Mar in San Diego. Kentucky Derby winner Authentic won the Classic in 2020, but he has now retired, so he will not be back to compete. However, plenty of other horses and jockeys are waiting to step up to the plate.