Miami Marlins Youth Showing Promise After Strong First Month

by Chase Carder | Posted on Sunday, May 4th, 2014
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.Miami Marlins

The disappointments from the 2012 season still leave a bitter taste in Miami Marlins fans’ mouths. They were left with the saddened realization that money can’t always buy wins. Proven veterans couldn’t win games in a new, beautiful stadium and Miami seemed doomed to live with the 2012 debacle for at least half a decade. Credit the front office though, as just two seasons later, Miami has put together a young, exciting and talented roster. After overhauling the team over the past two years they have the second youngest roster in baseball. They’ve put together a core starting rotation of three guys yet to turn 25, led by arguably the best young arm in baseball, Jose Fernandez.

On the other side of it, they’ve managed to put together a lineup filled with young guys glowing with potential, led by all world slugger Giancarlo Stanton. Bottom line, the Marlins own two of the brightest, young superstars in baseball, plus a large complimentary base of youth and talent. Not a bad formula. This young group finished April strong, sweeping the Braves at home for the first time since 2006. They finished 6-4 in their last 10 and finished the month with an impressive 12-4 record at home. Why should fans believe this success will continue? For the month, they outscored their opponents by 22 runs, finishing 6th in the league in runs scored and 5th in team batting average. On the pitching side, their starters finished the month with a 3.32 ERA, good for 9th in baseball.

Pitching: Ace Jose Fernandez has proved his magically dominant rookie season was no joke. Four of his six starts this season have resulted in zero earned runs allowed. His 1.59 ERA is good for 5th in the league and the 21 year old leads the majors in strikeouts with 55. These stats along with his 4-1 record put him in serious consideration as the early season Cy Young frontrunner. He dominates hitters with an explosive fastball and nasty curveball, using these two pitches a combined 91% of the time. With only eight walks on the season, his command continues to improve and Fernandez is a pitcher set to dominate this game for a very long time.

After Fernandez, Nathan Eovaldi has shown flashes of greatness with his hot start. What’s most impressive about this start: through six starts he has 35 strikeouts compared to five walks. FIVE WALKS!!! His command is exceptional and his fastball, slider combination is one of the most deadly in the game. He throws his fastball with elite velocity, averaging out at 96 MPH. His two seam fastball may be the toughest in the game, with lots of movement and coming in on average at 96 MPH, he gives hitters nearly no chance at success. With an ERA of 2.38, he’s also shown reliability to go deep into every outing, lasting at least six innings in six starts.

This 24 year old is set to be a pretty dominant number two, to Jose Fernandez’s one. After Eovaldi, Miami comes at opponents with another young arm in 24 year old Henderson Alvarez. One of the best ground ball pitchers in the game already, Alvarez is off to a promising start with an ERA at a very respectable 3.28 through six starts. His two seam fastball deems to be his most effective pitch, throwing it 57% of the time at a respectable velocity of 92.5 MPH. While Alvarez is no future ace, he shows the command and stuff to be a reliable starter for the long term future of this staff.

Hitting: The most impressive and surprising start of Miami’s season so far is the explosion of production at the plate. Their outfield of Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna might be the most exciting in baseball because of their youth and talent. Stanton’s start has been exactly what the Marlins hoped and expected. At the month’s end he leads the NL in RBIs by a wide margin with 32 and is second in home runs with eight. He’s given the fans a fun show by blasting some of the longest home runs of the early season. Yelich possesses one of the most beautiful and pure swings in the game and that is a big reason why I believe he is a future star. He also had a promising first month collecting 32 hits and hitting for a .288 average. Yelich has the potential to be one of the most dangerous leadoff hitters in baseball, and with Stanton hitting behind him it’s very likely he could lead the league in runs scored. Ozuna is another young slugger with the potential to hit over 30 home runs a season during his prime. The 23 year old is off to a hot start hitting four home runs and collecting 31 hits. His average sits at .298 and he’s driven in a respectable 16 runs.

In the infield, Miami may have found their future shortstop in 25 year old Adeiny Hechavarria. The young Cuban finished April with a .282 average and hit safely in six of his last seven games. Jarrod Saltalamacchia has enjoyed the new scenery in Miami and has been a solid upgrade for them at catcher. The once claimed bust has flashed his always praised power potential blasting five home runs at months end. At only 27 years of age, this could end up being a huge addition for the future of this organization. While I’ve spoken mainly of youth here, it’s worth noting the hot starts of veterans Casey McGehee and Garrett Jones. The two have combined for 32 RBIs and 62 hits, and Mcgehee finished the month still hitting above .300.

Miami’s impressive start is no joke, I guarantee everyone that. With more experience, the youth of this team will continue to flash more and more consistent production. Now I’m not saying this 2014 roster is a playoff team at year’s end, but this is a team that could contend as early as next year and could finish this season with a .500 record or better. If they can pull that off they would exceed expectations and the Marlins’ fan base should be ecstatic at the journey this youthful roster has begun.

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Chase Carder
About the Author

Chase is a University of Tennessee class of 2018 graduate, Chase is a big fan of all sports and has been passionately following baseball since birth. He's a lifelong Braves fan and you can follow him on Twitter @ChaseCarder15.

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