The Miami Marlins are back! In Jupiter! Wait, don't leave! I've got a couple things that you may want to keep an eye on in between Miami Heat games and Miami Dolphins TMZ Sports news.
The Marlins aren't entering the 2014 season with many expectations, nor much hype, but there are a few story lines to keep an eye on as first pitch nears. Real baseball is still a month away, but here are a few things to watch as the Marlins warm-up throughout March.
New Faces! Oh no, they aren't that good!
The good news is the Marlins went out and spent some money! The bad news is the Marlins spent that money at the Dollar Tree, and spaghettios is for dinner! Dammit! Hey, we know what the Marlins are about at this point, so we might as well scrounge through the $5 DVD bin and find something worth watching once or twice.
The Marlins have added: Matt Angle, Jeff Baker, Joe Benson, Brian Bogusevic, Carter Capps, Juan Diaz, Rafael Furcal, Reed Johnson, Garrett Jones, Carlos Marmol , Casey McGehee, Jimmy Paredes, Henry Rodriguez, Josh Rodriguez, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Jordany Valdespin, and Ty Wigginton.
It's as if they sought out to acquire every single player that batted 8th for another team at one point in his career. You know that guy in your fantasy league that is in last place and just decides to drop his entire team, then proceeds to build an entire new team off waiver-wire pickups? He's the Marlins! Because screw it!
Inevitably one or two of these players will make the Marlins look like geniuses. Also inevitably, the Marlins will suck every single RBI or stolen base out of him right up until the point that someone will offer a left handed reliever for him and then he's gone.
Who will "win" the fifth starter spot?
Anthony DeSclafani, Brian Flynn, Brad Hand, Jonathan Bugsbulberry, Andrew Heaney, Tom Koehler, Alexis Rodgarciaiano, Justin Nicolino and Kevin Slowey. Those are contestants on this crappiest game show ever. Actually, I made up two of those names, but I'm not telling you which ones, because you're reading a Marlins Spring Training Preview, and let's be honest you deserve to be punished.
Can anyone hit? Like, literally, just one person, can they hit?
The Marlins ranked last in the National League in average, OBP, SLG and runs scored last season. I'm no MLB analytics guru, but I have seen Moneyball three times, and I feel confident in saying that seems bad. The addition of Saltalamacchia and a healthy Giancarlo Stanton should help, but beyond that there isn't exactly any Silver Slugger award winners in this lineup. What I'm saying here is watch for Marlins attempting to touch home plate, because you may not see it too often.
How good is Christian Yelich?
Highly regarded 2010 Marlins first round pick Christian Yelich has arrived, so that's exciting. Question is how good can he be now? The Marlins are likely to put him toward the top of the order, because he lacks power right now (just four home runs in half a season last year). The Marlins have had a long line of hyped prospects that turn out to be just meh, including new ex-Marlin fart joke extraordinaire Logan Morrison, so it will be interesting to see how Yelich blossoms in his "breakout season".
How much more super awesome can Jose Fernandez be?
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Over the past few months I've read about how Jose Fernandez's rookie of the year campaign was just a taste of things to come, mainly because he's training like a World Strongest Man competitor.
In addition to Fernandez being a year older, stronger, and MLB wiser, he's pulling cars around high school tracks and biking triple digits miles in just a few days. He was already one of the best, so it will be exciting to see him continue to get even better as his career goes on. Even the most jaded Marlins fan still keeps up with what Jose Fernandez is doing, he's one of the few things left worth watching.