2014 Miami Marlins: No Team for Old Men

By J.S.Cruz
Steve MItchell-USA TODAY Sports

In a couple of months, 2014 will arrive: there will be a new World Series champion and MLB will be getting ready for the spring.

Going into Spring Training in 2014, the Miami Marlins must have a season where they cash in on its farm system. Many of its young players run the risk of stagnating in the minors.

At this point next year, the organization will not have the luxury of inviting old players, or anyone looking for a second chance on the diamond. Its talent has to be fully exhibited and tested. It can be more than a chess game for Mike Redmond to give these youngsters the right amount of time and squeeze them to win games, but it is the only way the Marlins can see what they really have.

Why not buy some experience around its youth?

On the mound, it looks the Marlins has finalized the names in its rotation. Last year, it was Jose Fernandez every five days on the mound until he got shut down in September as the anchor. It also was Nathan Eovaldi with his blazing fastballs. There was the quiet Jacob Turner with his two-seamer. Henderson Alvarez left a great impression at the end of the year with a no-hitter.

The Marlins’ first draft pick in 2012, Andrew Heaney, could be the left-handed pitcher needed, and may be the fifth starter at the beginning of the season. Steve Cishek broke out in 2013 as a closer. His streak of 29 consecutive saved games is alive.

On the field, the Marlins have at least two players competing by position. Jeff Mathis may open the season as the regular catcher, as Rob Brantly must prove the caliber of his bat. If Brantly has another bad season, 2008 first-round draft pick Kyle Skipworth will be next in line.

At first base, Logan Morrison has the job, but only if Jose Abreu does not sign with the Marlins. Donovan Solano looks like the regular at second base, but Derek Dietrich will be his shadow from the very first day; plus, Dietrich is a great defender. Adeiny Hechavarria may win the Gold Glove in 2014 at short, and it looks he will be a Marlin for years to come.

The Marlins are waiting for Colin Moran to ascend from the farm system to take his place at third, while Chris Coghlan will have another shot. Zack Cox, the other big prospect in the organization, does not look ready, but the Spring Training will say the last word.

It is a shame these four players cannot all play in the outfield: Christian Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Jake Marisnick. They will enter the 2014 as the top group of talent in the organization. Ozuna and Marisnick will need game time in center field at this level, not in Triple-A.

To have an idea of the prospects in the organization, only two names are mentioned here that belong in its 20 top prospects. These players need a role, not advice, even if the nucleus of the 2014 Miami Marlins only be 24-years old on average.

J. S. Cruz is a Miami Marlins writer for Rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @jscruzme and on Facebook.

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