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2020 Marlins

5 Reasons to Watch the 2020 Marlins

MLB and the MLBPA finally got it together. The public had long since turned on billionaires and millionaires squabbling amid a global pandemic, unprecedented unemployment and pushes for social change and justice. Reports flooded out once the two sides agreed to a semblance of a season in 2020. Now, baseball fans can turn some of their attention to what was once the national pastime. And South Florida can support the 2020 Marlins, because, hey, you never know.

The Miami Marlins have struggled to find their footing in South Florida despite a pair of World Series championships. Years of incompetent ownership, boarding on villainous at times, gave way to a new group seeking to reshape the franchise’s fortunes.

The Marlins have transformed their operation, not only on the field but also in the community. The team sports a diverse set of voices from CEO Derek Jeter to GM Mike Hill and COO Caroline O’Conner. They’ve been active during the pandemic, participating in food distribution drives and other community outreach programs.

On the field, the Marlins are coming off a 105-loss season, but the future is bright. Heady trades and considered free agent signings have helped retool the farm system, which is now considered among the best in the league. The Major League product should be improved as well.

With a new season on the horizon, here are five reasons to watch the 2020 Marlins.

1 – 2020 Marlins Schedule Sprint

The schedule for the 2020 Marlins will be no joke. The team has amongst the most difficult schedules across baseball’s new landscape.

Miami will face their NL East counterparts 40 times. They’ll face AL East opponents the other 20. Last season, the Marlins posted a 24-52 record against the NL East. Their only winning mark came versus Philadelphia (10-9). The Marlins had losing records against Atlanta (4-15), the Mets (6-13) and Washington (4-15). Also, Miami was swept by the Tampa Bay Rays (0-4).

For 2020, this schedule will be a gauntlet. The defending champion Nationals may have lost their MVP candidate (Anthony Rendon), but they still sport three aces. The Braves built a strong team with stars. And the Phillies spent aggressively in free agency, while the Mets hold a loaded pitching staff.

Tampa Bay won 96 games in 2019 and sport three aces of their own. The Yankees have perhaps the deepest roster in the AL. Oh, and after winning 103 games, they added Gerrit Cole, who’s coming off a 20-5, 2.50 ERA, 326-strikeout season.

Boston is retooling its roster and neither the Blue Jays nor the Orioles can say they’re more talented than Miami. That said, six teams on the Marlins schedule averaged 93 wins last season.

2 – 2020 Marlins Youth Movement

The Marlins have a talented young core. Those players are being paired with savvy veteran additions, while top-shelf prospects near the big leagues. All this combined for Miami’s manager, Don Mattingly to say the 2020 Marlins will “make some noise.”

Miami’s roster holds a number of young, capable players. Isan Diaz, Jorge Alfaro and Brian Anderson all look like foundational talents. The pitching staff sees the likes of all-star Sandy Alcantara take the hill every fifth start. Caleb Smith and Pablo Lopez demonstrate the depth of the rotation.

These players will soon be supplemented by prospects. Monte Harrison, Jazz Chisholm, Lewin Diaz and Jesus Sanchez are all nearing the bigs. Jerar Encarnacion and JJ Bleday, among others, are sharpening their skills in the minors and have bright futures.

Pitching prospects like Sixto Sanchez, Edward Cabrera, Braxton Garrett and the newly drafted Max Meyer have the franchise’s fortunes on the rise.

The team added utility sparkplug Jonathan Villar and outfielder Corey Dickerson to provide veteran leadership and production.

Although an expanded 30-man roster, which will be reduced as the season progresses, could see some of these prospects make their Major League debuts, it’s unlikely for most. Players will accrue a full year of service time in this abbreviated season. This may keep the Marlins from calling up some of these prospects in order to maintain an extra year of contract control.

3 – Universal DH

It’s a long time coming for the National League, but the Universal DH will finally be deployed across the baseball landscape. Although some purists see this as a negative, the Universal DH will certainly help the 2020 Marlins. (Here are 5 Reasons the Marlins Benefit from a Universal DH.)

Sure, the Marlins have had success in the past with pitchers at the plate, but not recently. Long gone are the days of Chris Hammond and Dontrelle Willis. Jose Fernandez connected on two career home runs, but it’s been more than four years since a Marlins pitcher hit one out.

Since 2015, Marlins pitchers rank 14th out of 15 NL teams in On-Base Percentage (.137) with over 1515 Plate Appearances. In addition, they sport the highest strikeout rate of all NL teams (45 percent).

Among the free agent signings for the Marlins this year, outfielder Matt Joyce and first baseman Jesús Aguilar could both fill this role. If Aguilar mans first base instead, Garrett Cooper could see time at DH. Signing veteran catcher Francisco Cervelli could also mean that Alfaro will get a break from catching duties for a turn at DH.

All of this can only help a lineup that connected on the fewest home runs and second-fewest runs scored in baseball last season.

4 – New Rules

One of the complaints against baseball has long been the games are too long. In recent years, MLB has instituted certain rules to accelerate the pace of play, including limiting the amount of mound visits a team can make. But playing without a clock means games could last for hours beyond the normal window of time.

This season, in an effort to reduce the number of pitching changes and, in turn, cut down the average time per game, MLB instituted a rule change that requires pitchers to either face a minimum of three batters in an appearance or pitch to the end of a half-inning, with exceptions for injuries and illnesses.

In addition, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports that MLB will implement a rule in which extra innings games will feature innings starting with a runner on second base. This will expedite the ending of games given that the schedule will be so tight this year. Long games will create greater problems this year than they normally would.

The runner-on-second rule has been in place in the minors for two seasons. It premired in the World Baseball Classic, then was tested in the Gulf Coast and Arizona Leagues. In 2018, all minor leagues adopted it.

Under the rule, the runner at second will be the player in the batting order position previous to the leadoff batter of the extra inning. So, usually, the player who made the last out in the previous inning or a pinch runner for that player. If the placed runner scored, it’s considered an unearned run.

The Marlins have decent speed up and down the lineup, and an expanded roster would mean even more speed for Mattingly to deploy. This could help the Marlins improve on 7-9 record in extras last year.

5 – You Never Know

An MLB team has gone from worst to first 13 times since 1990. Despite winning two World Series championships, the Marlins have never won the NL East. They might need to do so to ensure their postseason spot.

In their 27-year history, the Marlins had 11 years when they started the season’s first 60 games at .500 or better. Last season, their record at the 60-game mark was 23-37. Teams won’t have the luxury of a slow start to this season since it’s a sprint.

Washington went from a 19-31 record through 50 games last season to a World Series championship, so strange things have happened before. Even the expansion Florida Marlins had a 61-game stretch in 1993 where they won 30 games.

Unfortunately, MLB didn’t expand the playoffs from 10 teams to 16, which had been discussed in prior iterations of the potential deal with the MLBPA. It’ll be three division winners plus two wild cards per league in the postseason.

For the 2020 Marlins, they’ll want to target 35 wins or so for a possible playoff berth. It won’t be easy, considering the schedule. If the Marlins find themselves out of contention as the trade deadline nears, they could flip some of their veteran talents, like Villar, Aguilar or new closer Brandon Kintzler, for prospects to help the rebuild.

Uncertain Future for MLB Among Rule Changes, Labor Differences

Baseball is at a crossroads.

From the no- spitting rule to the trade deadline fast approaching, there are a huge number of changes coming to the MLB that have rustled the feathers of the union and players at this time. With a huge amount of speculation from the MLB and the rush towards returning to sport after the Coronavirus pandemic, the uncertain future and ongoing disagreements continue. In this article, we will be looking at the changes to the MLB and what to look forward to for the return to sport.

 

The Return To The MLB Following The Pandemic

A return to the MLB is something that is being strongly considered at this time as a number of the worlds leading teams to head back to training in the coming weeks. With a number of the New York’s major teams such as the Yankees training in Florida until the pandemic dies down in the heart of New York, there are many wondering when a safe return to the MLB will continue. With many in the league hoping for a quick return to the league, there was an ergonomic plan for the return to sport sent to the Union on the 25th of May. This will, of course, determine when the league will return in a safe manner. This is something that the MLB higher-ups have been criticised for throughout this process as the union as well as some players who believe the higher-ups are pushing for a return to the sport without considering the health of players and the staff involved.

 

Ongoing Negotiations At The MLB

As the talks continue for the resumption of the league ion the near future, there is a vast amount of uncertainty surrounding the league at this time. With the resumption of the league still up in the air as well as changes to the league with new rules and legislation, the 2020 season is set to be a huge year for the sport. In addition to this, there are ongoing talks for the contract to the minor leagues. With the contract coming to an end in September, there is a vast amount of talk surrounding the future of the MLB purchasing the minor leagues and giving it a revamp. This will provide the minor league with the stability that it needs at this uncertain time with the sponsorships and funding for the development of the leagues. With the rosters expanding, in the new season, the MLB is looking to make the most of the downtime and come back stronger when the game returns soon. Though this is proving to be difficult at this time with disagreements between several teams as well as the unions, there are soon to be some major news with the resumption of the baseball league to screens.

 

The Oncoming Trade Deadline

Whilst talks for the beginning of the 2020 league continue, there is also the deadline for trades fast approaching. Despite there being no live sport played at this time a number of the major basketball leagues are looking to sign brand new players. With the deadline fast approaching on July 31st of this year, all signings have to be secured at this time. One of the most high-profile trades at this time is Kris Bryant. With several MVP players being moved in the offseason with several clubs in the league already approaching the Cubs to purchase the player for the 2020 season, this is definitely one to watch in the near future. Many have been placing bets on the MLB season as well as popular trades on the 2020 transfer market in any of the different betting sites available.

 

The Proposal Of The Non-Spitting Rule

The final major way that is being changed is the implementation of the non-spitting rule. This is one of the newest legislation to come out of the Coronavirus pandemic and is proposing that players are not able to spit in the dugout. This, however, is a rule that may not be able to be enforced as there are different reasons that players spit. This has had many players upset with fans unsure as to what the future holds for the MLB as a whole.

With this in mind, there are a huge number of changes coming for the MLB that are set to see them come out stronger in the near future.

 

Jeffrey Loria: Your worst person in Miami sports history

We probably didn’t need to do this.

It was kind of a foregone conclusion, when we selected 52 of the least popular sports figures in South Florida history — split into Sports Figures and Athletes brackets — that the frugal, former owner of the Miami Marlins would eventually tear down the nets like he tore down baseball in this market.

Still, we went through it anyway, and Jeffrey Loria was the big winner… or loser.

(We won’t show his face because, well, why?)

He was never really challenged, not against another former Marlins owner (John Henry), not against former Dolphins GM Mike Tannenbaum, not against the destroyer of the University of Miami football program Nevin Shapiro, not in the Futile Four against former Dolphins coach Nick Saban — who upset Loria’s son-in-law David Samson in the Awful Eight — and certainly not in the Final against the person you oddly deemed the worst athlete (former Dolphins offensive lineman Jonathan Martin).

This was a rout.

And why not?

Loria did win a World Series as owner, but he also made decision after decision to destroy the Marlins franchise. (Oh, and he called me a “piece of crap columnist” once, so I’ll acknowledge some bias.

He’ll probably take this condemnation as a compliment.

What was strange was the other side of the bracket, where four former Dolphins (Martin, Dion Jordan, Mike Wallace, Jay Cutler) were the last four left, not exactly the quartet we expected. In fact, Dolphins kept beating Heat, Marlins, Panthers and Hurricanes players in terms of how much you disliked them.

But no one beats Loria, not at this game.