Mike Stanton is the favorite to break Gary Sheffield's single season mark of 42 home runs set in 1996.
It's the final season in the football Sun Life Stadium for the Florida Marlins, who are hoping for big things in 2011. A revamped roster hopes to compete with the likes of the Phillies Fearsome Foursome (Lee, Halladay, Hamels, Oswalt), the Braves (who hired ex-Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez in the offseason and acquired fan favorite second baseman Dan Uggla), and of course the NL East bottom dwellers in the New York Mets and Washington Nationals.
The Marlins are looking at a very compelling season. Also in distance lie milestones that are dangerously close to being set or reset for some records currently owned by former Marlins. Let's take a look at five milestones/records that are in danger of being set in 2011.
Franchise Mark Owned By: Dontrelle Willis - 68
Career Victories for Ricky Nolasco: 54
Verdict: Ricky Nolasco typically notches 13-15 victories a season. In fact Nolasco has averaged 14 wins a season since his injury riddled 2007 season, this despite his stint in the minor leagues in 2009 and a injury shortened 2010 season where he had 14. I originally predicted 13 wins for Nolasco but I've changed that to 15, just breaking Dontrelle's mark of 68 with 69.
Single Season Mark Owned By: Miguel Cabrera - 50 (2006)
Franchise Mark Owned By: Mike Lowell - 241
Career Doubles by Hanley Ramirez: 198
Verdict: While both milestones seem pretty far fetched, I believe both are within reach. For starters, Logan Morrison had 20 doubles last season in only 62 games, essentially one every three games (or series). If Morrison keeps that pace in 2011, he would have nearly 53 doubles. While Morrison hit only two home runs last season, the doubles stat alone shows his power awaits him.
As for Hanley Ramirez, he has yet to crack 44 doubles since the 2006 (46) and 2007 (48) seasons. Last season, Ramirez had 28 doubles in a down year. If he gets back on the saddle, like many fans and himself expect, we should see this record broken down the stretch of the season.
Franchise Mark Owned By: Dan Uggla - 154
Career Home Runs by Hanley Ramirez: 124
Verdict: Ramirez has only cracked the 30 HR mark once (2008), and since then hasn't cracked 25 HR in a single season. With Uggla gone and Ramirez knows he has to take charge this season, a season in which even owner Jeffrey Loria is expecting a playoff run and a Ramirez MVP. With Mike Stanton hitting behind him in the clean up spot, Ramirez should see plenty of good pitches, helping him surpass former teammate Dan Uggla.
Originally, Stanton was one of the guys I pegged to surpass Gary Sheffield's mark of 42 home runs this season. That won't happen this year, not at Sun Life Stadium. In fact, last season, Stanton hit only seven of his 22 home runs at home in 47 games versus 15 home runs on the road in 53 games. See the the difference? If Stanton breaks the record this season, he will have to hit far more of them on the road.
Franchise Gold Glovers: Catcher Charles Johnson (1996,1997,1998), 1B Derrek Lee (2003), 2B Luis Castillo (2003, 2004, 2005), and 3B Mike Lowell (2005).
Positions Without a Gold Gloves: Pitcher, Shortstop, and Outfield
Verdict: I know, I know—seems far fetched right? Well the one responsible for the majority of those Gold Gloves has returned in Perry Hill, the best in the game at instructing infielders. Hill, as you may remember, instructed the Marlins from 2002 to 2007, his expertise keeping the defensively inept Dan Uggla at second base.
Last season in the outfield, Mike Stanton had ten outfield assists and made spectacular plays, as evident in the photo. He should win the team's first Gold Glove for an outfielder.
Ramirez's competition for a Gold Glove this year is Troy Tulowitzki. Remember this, Ramirez had 10 errors in 2009—Tulowitzki had 10 in 2010 and won a Gold Glove. Ramirez had 16 errors last season and knows the pressure is on him to perhaps be the best player in the game in 2011 after a poor campaign last year. With Perry Hill onboard, Ramirez should win the Gold Glove for shortstop at long last.