Miami Marlins: 5 Bold Predictions for the New-Look Marlins in 2012
It's safe to say the Miami Marlins were one of the more active teams this offseason.
After years of ranking near the bottom in league payroll, the team finally finished their new ballpark. In doing so, the Marlins ownership spent close to $200 million dollars on marquee free-agents such as Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell.
After a whirlwind of an offseason, here are five bold predictions for these new-look Marlins.
Ozzie Guillen Will Make an Impact
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Sometimes, you are just in the right place at the right time.
In this case, Ozzie Guillen and the Marlins both find themselves destined for one another. The Chicago White Sox and Guillen decided to part ways around the same time that the Marlins were looking to fill their manager position.
Guillen, a former 3rd base coach for the Marlins, looks like a perfect fit as the team begins the process of re-branding their image.
Ozzie Guillen is an upbeat, outspoken and in-your-face kind of manager, which will work wonders for this Marlins ball club. With the array of new faces all thrown together in one locker room, Ozzie will succeed in getting the club ready to play at their highest level.
One player that will benefit greatly from Ozzie's arrival is Logan Morrison.
After the team demoted him last season due to what most people assume was for his extreme use of twitter, Ozzie will be able to help guide Morrison into the potential star that the organization believes he can be.
Hanley Ramirez Will Have a Bounce Back Year
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By all accounts, Hanley Ramirez had a rough year last season.
He managed to finish in career lows in almost every statistical category across the board, due to nagging injuries and many felt the Marlins should have contemplated trade offers for their franchise star.
Hanley will make his return back to his All-Star level form though.
With newly acquired Jose Reyes taking over at SS, Ramirez will be switching to 3rd base.
With Jose Reyes now in the line-up, Hanley will succeed at his new position. Over the years, he's bulked up and become more of a power hitting SS. With Reyes leading off, expect Hanley's offensive numbers to return to what we all know he's capable of: a batting average around .300, home run totals in the mid-20s and his RBI total to reach around 80.
Hanley has a chip on his shoulder this upcoming season, due to all the doubters from last year as well as the fact that the team felt there was a need to replace his natural position at SS with a new, star player.
Jose Reyes Will Be Worth the Risk
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People speculate whether a big contract may be worth its value when signing a player who is coming off a career year.
Jose Reyes won the NL batting title last season after putting up a career high .337 average and was one of the prized free agents this offseason. Many teams wanted his services but had doubts with his past health issues.
The Marlins however, targeted him as soon as free agency started and were the most aggressive to sign him.
What a healthy Jose Reyes brings to the table is something that is hard to put a price on: a switch-hitting, speedy SS, with gold glove-caliber defensive skills.
Any team in the big leagues would love to have Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez in the same infield and manager Ozzie Guillen will find a way to make it work for the best.
Mike Stanton Will Establish Himself as Baseball's Next Great Power Hitter
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Listed at 6'5 and 235 lbs, Mike Stanton is built like a football player. At just 22 years old, he's already making a name for himself around the league as one of baseball's up and coming stars.
ESPN has named him baseball's next best thing in the MLB, and the great thing for Marlins fans is he's just getting started.
In his first 250 major league games, Stanton has already hit 56 home runs and 146 RBIs. Batting at the heart of a lineup that includes Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez and Logan Morrison, expect Stanton's numbers to continue to rise.
Mike Stanton will have his first 40 home run—100 RBI season, and will establish himself as baseball's next great power hitter for the next decade.
Josh Johnson Will Finish Top Five in Cy Young Votes
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Before his injury last season, Josh Johnson had a 3-1 record with an incredible 1.64 ERA.
When healthy, Johnson shows brilliance and has all the mechanics of a true ace.
The Marlins made some changes with their pitching staff this offseason, bringing in established veterans in Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell as well as Carlos Zambrano. With the extra arms, Johnson won't have to be relied on so heavily to carry the pitching staff as he was in the past.
If Johnson can stay healthy, expect All-Star numbers as well as his fair share of Cy Young votes to put him in the top five by the end of the season.
Still in his prime, Johnson has the potential to win 20 games and finish with an ERA under 3.00.