2022 Season Preview: Miami Marlins

Image: Miami Herald

Miami Marlins

2021 Record: 67-95 (.414 win%, 4th in NL East)

2021 Payroll: $58,157,900 (27th)

 Projected 2022 Lineup:

1. 2B Jazz Chisholm Jr., .243 AVG/.308 OBP/.446 SLG, 2.4 fWAR

2. LF Jorge Soler, .238 AVG/.331 OBP/.466 SLG, 1.8 fWAR

3. 1B Garrett Cooper, .263 AVG/.344 OBP/.449 SLG, 1.8 fWAR

4. RF Avisaíl García, .265 AVG/.329 OBP/.446 SLG, 2.4 fWAR 

5. CF Jesús Sánchez, .253 AVG/.318 OBP/.474 SLG, 1.8 fWAR

6. DH Jesús Aguilar, .262 AVG/.340 OBP/.467 SLG, 1.6 fWAR 

7. 3B Brian Anderson, .241 AVG/.327 OBP/.404 SLG, 1.6 fWAR

8. C Jacob Stallings, .246 AVG/.321 OBP/.379 SLG, 2.6 fWAR

9. SS Miguel Rojas, .266 AVG/.322 OBP/.389 SLG, 2.1 fWAR

Projected 2022 Rotation:

1. Sandy Alcantara, 200.0 IP/3.94 ERA/1.26 WHIP, 2.8 fWAR

2. Pablo Lopez, 166.0IP/3.82 ERA/1.21 WHIP, 2.4 fWAR

3. Trevor Rogers, 154.0 IP/3.76 ERA/1.23 WHIP, 2.3 fWAR

4. Elieser Hernandez, 140.0 IP/4.65 ERA/1.28 WHIP, 1.0 fWAR

5. Jesús Luzardo, 132.0 IP/4.35 ERA/1.36 WHIP, 0.8 fWAR

Projected 2022 Top 3 Relievers:

1. Anthony Bender, 63.0 IP/3.71 ERA/1.27 WHIP, 0.4 fWAR

2. Richard Bleier, 62.0 IP/3.66 ERA/1.30 WHIP, 0.3 fWAR

3. Dylan Floro, 57.0 IP/4.08 ERA/1.36 WHIP, 0.1 fWAR

Offseason Recap:

The Marlins made a myriad of moves this offseason in an attempt to compete in a tough NL East this season, beginning their campaign in late October by giving a two year extension to the consistent defensive presence that is Miguel Rojas. Then, in late November, they surprised many by giving Sandy Alcantara a five year extension worth fifty-six million dollars, locking up one of the best pitchers in the league for what most consider to be a bargain. 

Also in November, they made two major trades to shore up the lineup. In need of a starting catcher for 2022, they traded for former Pirate Jacob Stallings, who is set to take a major role for the team this season. Then, they added utilityman and 2021 All-Star Joey Wendle in an attempt to solidify a well built infield. 

Despite this, the outfield was a clear need, especially center field. In order to fix this, they signed Avisail Garcia and Jorge Soler to four and three year long contracts respectively. The team was vocal about being in search of a clear cut center fielder, but as of now plan to slot Jesús Sánchez, who primarily played right and left field last season, into the starting center fielder role. 

2022 Season Preview:

Teams will be afraid of the Marlins starting rotation. The trio of Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez, and Trevor Rogers is going to be a problem for opposing hitters, and it puts the Marlins in the hunt for a playoff spot. 

Rounding out the rotation is Elieser Hernandez and Jesús Luzardo, who offer more questions than answers. Hernandez is likely a placeholder until Sixto Sanchez returns from injury or Max Meyer gets called up from AAA, but could prove himself as a true option before then with some good performances. Luzardo, despite his struggles last year, shows a good deal of potential with his arm and looks to bounce back in a big way. 

The lineup, however, is in desperate need of any clear starpower. It’s well rounded, lacking any true problem players, and is fairly deep with the addition of Joey Wendle as a utility player. But being well rounded most likely won’t be enough to win games. With their best pure hitters in the lineup being young and inexperienced, they will need a breakout year from a couple of said players to look like a true threat to opposing teams.

Similarly to the lineup, the squad’s relieving group is average at best. With a probable late season mix of Cody Poteet, Louis Head, Dylan Floro, Richard Bleier, Anthony Bender, and either Sixto Sanchez or Eliser Hernandez, it is fairly deep but lacks any high-end arms.

Something that may fly under the radar is the Marlins defensive talent, which is likely to regress comparative to 2021 with a new outfield group. Jesús Sánchez, despite being a good left and right fielder, probably should not be manning center. Jorge Soler, while making the offense better, is a liability wherever he plays in the field. 

The Marlins are a good team, and definitely improved in the offseason. It might not be enough to compete with the team at the top of the division, but with a bit of luck and some good hitting, the explosive talent of the starting rotation could be enough to sneak the team into the playoffs. 

Record Prediction: 74-88

Without a major surprise in the starting lineup, the Marlins probably won’t have enough talent to win enough games to be considered a contender. While they do have a very good starting rotation, their average lineup, below average relief staff, and poor outfield defense is likely to keep the team from truly competing with the Mets, Braves, and Phillies at the top of the relatively strong NL East.  

However, if the Marlins get on a hot streak and trade for a strong bat at the deadline, it’s very possible that the squad gets into an expanded playoffs, where their strong pitching staff makes for a scary opponent.

Player to Watch #1: SP Sandy Alcantara 

Sandy Alcantara is really, really good. He sports a ninety-eight mph sinker that pairs with a deadly changeup, creating a combo that hitters just can’t seem to get a hold of. He hasn’t finished a season with an ERA above 4.00 since he was sent to the Marlins in the Marcell Ozuna trade, and it seems as if he’s only getting better. 

He put both fans and MLB insiders on notice after last season, in which he pitched 205 innings with a 3.19 ERA. A true workhorse in a league largely devoid of them, Alcantara is a hot dark-horse candidate for NL Cy Young in 2022. After receiving a major extension this offseason, the Marlins hope that he improves upon his very good 2021 season and solidifies himself as the team’s ace for years to come. 

Player to Watch #2: 1B/RF Garrett Cooper

Garrett Cooper, 31, has been fighting for a starting role for the past three years, and he is finally going to get that role. He is likely to start every single day for the first time in his career, and he’s the guy to watch out for in this Marlins lineup. 

Over the past three seasons, Cooper has hit .282 with a .357 OBP with thirty home runs in 804 plate appearances. His bat has been overwhelmingly consistent since he entered the MLB, yet analysts predict him to take a step back this season. As the best overall hitter in this Marlins lineup, look for him to exceed those expectations and perhaps break out into a star role.

Player to Watch #3: SP Jesús Luzardo

The Marlins traded Starling Marte for former top Athletics pitching prospect Jesús Luzardo at the Trade Deadline last year, and despite a rocky start with the team, it is starting to look like it might work out. Luzardo seemingly lost his mojo after a solid rookie year with the Athletics, posting a 6.61 ERA in 18 starts last season. 

Moving into the Spring, his position in the starting rotation was in question. However, it looks like he is bound to bounce back in 2022. His fastball is averaging around 98 mph in spring, 2 mph higher than his average last season. He’s getting more swings and misses, which is translating into more strikeouts and less solid contact. Luzardo is a prime breakout candidate for 2022, and may add another deadly arm to this Marlins rotation.

Categories: 2022 Season Preview

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