Are the Florida Marlins Sleepers in the NL East?
The Marlins had an up and down year last season, finishing with an 84-77 record, good for third place in the NL East.
Hanley Ramirez - .301/.400/.540, 122/92 K/BB, 33 HR, 35/47 SB
Dan Uggla - .260/.360/.514, 171/71 K/BB, 32 HR, 5/10 SB
Chris Volstad - 84 IP, 2.88 ERA, 148 ERA+, 1.33 WHIP, 52/36 K/BB
Jorge Cantu - .277/.327/.481, 111/40 K/BB, 29 HR, 6/8 SB
Ricky Nolasco - 212 IP, 3.52 ERA, 186/42 K/BB, 1.10 WHIP, 121 ERA+
Jeremy Hermida - .249/.323/.406, 138/48 K/BB, 17 HR, 6/7 SB
The pitching staff outside of Volstad and Nolasco.
Their offense. It's very potent, and they have a lot of pop in that lineup.
Health. The Marlins had several key players out with injuries in '08, which definitely hurt their chances at success.
Dan Meyer, Emilio Bonifacio, Leo Nunez
Scott Olsen, Josh Willingham, Mike Jacobs, Arthur Rhodes
Gaby Sanchez. If he gets the starting job at 1st, he can put up some good numbers.
Andrew Miller. I believe he will live up to the hype, and he will do good things for the Marlins this season.
Matt Lindstrom. It'll be his first year as closer, but this 100-mph fireballer has the stuff. He just needed the opportunity, and he's got it now. He's THE key pitcher in that 'pen.
Key(s) to Success
Stay healthy. The Marlins had various players go on the DL the past couple years, hurting mainly their pitching staff. If everybody can just stay healthy, they might have the best team on paper in that division. It's a big if.
They also need consistent offense from guys like Jorge Cantu and Dan Uggla. Those guys had good years overall, but really struggled at different times during the season. If those guys can stay solid consistently, it would be a huge boost.
C: John Baker
1B: Gaby Sanchez
2B: Dan Uggla
SS: Hanley Ramirez
3B: Jorge Cantu
LF: Cody Ross
CF: Cameron Maybin
RF: Jeremy Hermida
RP: Scott Proctor
RP: Leo Nunez
RP: Taylor Tankersley
RP: Logan Kensing
SU: Renyel Pinto
CL: Matt Lindstrom
I expect everything to click for the Marlins, and this young team will emerge as a serious contender in the NL East. They should take the Mets and Phillies by surprised.
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