The Miami Marlins are expected to endure yet another mediocre season of baseball in 2017. The Fish are projected to finish at 77-85 by Pecota, and with a starting rotation built out of number 3 starters it is a fair projection. The Marlins can find optimism in their boy’s roaming the outfield. The combination of Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, and Marcela Ozuna has the potential to be the best at the position group in all of baseball. Stanton is the oldest of the group at 27 (the age most athletes begin to enter their prime) and if they can put it all together this team may surprise a lot of people. Now lets dive deeper into each player and discuss what this team needs from them.
Marcell Ozuna was scorching hot through the first half of 2016. Ozuna was able to carry a .307 batting average and 17 home runs into the All-Star break, and earn himself his first All-Star nod. A nagging wrist injury marred his second half though, and he limped to the finish line with a .266 average and 23 home runs. Marcell is projected for a 2.5 WAR in 2017, but has peaked at 4.5 in 2014. If Ozuna can stay healthy and maintain his first half production from 2016 maybe he can come closer to that 4.5 win season of 2014.
Christian Yelich finally found some pop in 2016. Yelich maintained his superb hit tool with a .298 average, but was able to go from 7 home runs and a .416 SLG% in 2015 to 21 dinger’s and a 483 SLG% in 2016. If he maintains his numbers from 2016 in 2017 he will build on his reputation as one of the best all around hitters in the game. Plus if he can take his solid defense from left field to center his value will rise even more. Yelich is projected for a 3.8 WAR in 2017, but will not surprise many if he can come close to or surpass his 5.8 WAR from 2016.
Stanton has the most to prove out of this group in the coming season. An MVP caliber 2014 has been followed by a couple of disappointing seasons that saw Giancarlo play in 74 and 119 games respectively. Giancarlo performed to his usual standards in the 74 games he was able to suit up for in 2015, but 2016 showed statistical drops along the board. His .240/.326/.489 slash line statistics(AVG/OBP/SLG) are all a far cry from career highs of .290/.395/.608. First Stanton needs to stay healthy, and then he needs to find his groove from 2014. He is only projected to see 484 plate appearances in 2017 with a 3.8 WAR, but if he can get those plate appearances closer to 600 we may see him outperform that on pure volume. If he can secure those 600 appearances and perform to his 2014 numbers then we will see an overdue MVP caliber year from the Marlins 300 million dollar man.
The Perfect Storm:
These three players have the potential to put this team on their back and carry them into contention. They will need some help though, like the starting rotation carrying it’s load and the bullpen to mop up when they can’t. As a group they are projected for a WAR of 10.1, but if they all perform to their career bests they can attain a 16.3 WAR. This a group that hasn’t seen anyone of them enter their prime, so if they could earn even more wins for the Fish it would not be shocking. If the Marlins perform up to expectations across the board and pull in an extra 6+ wins from their outfield this team has the ability to enter the wild card race.
Cistulli, Carson. “2017 ZiPS Projections – Miami Marlins.” FanGraphs Baseball. N.p., 16 Jan. 2017. Web. 04 Apr. 2017.
Grossman, Jori. “The Miami Marlins Boast a Star Studded Outfield.” Isportsweb. N.p., 14 Mar. 2017. Web. 04 Apr. 2017.
Healey, Tim. “Marcell Ozuna Suffers Left Wrist Sprain, Is Considered Day-to-day.” Sun-Sentinel.com. N.p., 01 Sept. 2016. Web. 04 Apr. 2017.
Veronesi, Nick. “2017 Season Preview for the Miami Marlins.” Isportsweb. N.p., 03 Apr. 2017. Web. 04 Apr. 2017.
All statistics are from baseball-reference.com