Coming into the season, there were very low expectations for the Miami Marlins. It was less than two years ago that they were the talk of the baseball world by signing Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Heath Bell and trading for Carlos Zambrano. This past offseason, however, they traded Reyes and Buehrle along with Josh Johnson, John Buck and Emilio Bonifacio to the Toronto Blue Jays for prospects.
So once again for Marlins fans, the youth movement was on and they were in rebuilding mode. There was plenty of frustration early because instead of calling up young prospects early, they filled their rosters with veterans who are at the end of their careers like Juan Pierre, Placido Polanco, Kevin Slowey, Wade LeBlanc and Chad Qualls.
They were historically bad to start the year, going 16-42 in their first 58 games. However, we started to see the emergence of young players like Jose Fernandez, Marcell Ozuna, Adeiny Hechavarria and Derek Dietrich. When Jacob Turner, Nate Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez joined the rotation, the Marlins started to play above .500 baseball and it seemed like they could avoid what has now become inevitable.
The Marlins finally called up outfield prospects Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick on July 23. Yelich has proven he can hit at the big league level by starting his career with a .277 average, three home runs and 13 RBIs while going 8-for-8 on stolen bases.
Marisnick was always thought to be a little behind with his bat, but is already an above-average major league center fielder. He was considered a five-tool player in the minors and has only shown one of those tools so far.
The Philadelphia Phillies pounded the Marlins 12-2 on Monday night. This dropped Miami to 55-95 on the season, which means they would have to go 8-4 in their last 12 games to avoid just their second 100-loss season in franchise history. Their only other such season was the year after they won the World Series in 1997, so it was much more difficult to sit through then.
This season was supposed to see what lies in the future of the Marlins. We have learned that they have an ace in their rotation for next year in Fernandez, a potential future batting title winner in Yelich and a top slugger in Giancarlo Stanton. They also have a possible gold glove-winning shortstop and power arms in their rotation.
We saw the reemergence of former rookie of the year Chris Coghlan, who will be playing third base next year, and watched a journeyman minor leaguer name Ed Lucas not only get his first chance in the big leagues, but show that he belongs. While this season has had a lot of low points, this organization has re-tooled and rebuilt around their pitching.
They are getting back to the blueprint that won them two World Series. and that in itself is exciting.