Putting a winning team together always seems to be a challenge in any sport. Playing in front a big crowd that is behind a certain team seems to be a big key to a successful franchise. We see this every year for Major League Baseball teams such as the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and the St. Louis Cardinals. When you do not win it is hard to bring out a big crowd. One of the biggest franchise that seem to struggle in both categories is the Miami Marlins.
In the city of Miami, baseball seems to take a backseat to the NBA’s Miami Heat. The Heat had the 6th best attendance in the NBA in 2016. Last season the Marlins finished 27th in Major League Baseball in attendance. The Marlins averaged 21 thousand fans per game which was the worst attendance in the National League. The Marlins have not had a winning season since 2009. This year’s Marlins are hoping to change that trend and get back on the winning track.
This Miami team will first have to overcome a horrific tragedy. At the end of last season in September, 24 year old Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident. Fernandez was one of the best pitchers in baseball, he made the all-star team in 2016 and led the team with a career high 16 wins. Jose was the 2013 rookie of the year and sadly passed away at the highest point of his career.
The 2017 Miami baseball team was very active this off season. The Marlins are pretty content with their hitters as their lineup should look the same as 2016. The pitching staff however looks a lot different.
Marlins top players:
Giancarlo Stanton: One of the best hitters in the game, he is a 3 time all-star, led the team last season with 27 home runs. Stanton has missed a combined total of 131 games the last two seasons with injures. The Marlins are going to have this power hitter healthy in order to contend.
Christian Yelich: The 2016 Silver slugger winner had a career high 21 home runs in last season. This young outfielders knocked in a team best 98 runs and hit for a near .300 batting average. Yelich and Stanton are one of the more dangerous outfield combinations in baseball.
Dee Gordon: This 2 time all-star is one of the fastest players in baseball. Gordon led the Marlins in stolen bases last season with 30. He only played 79 games in 2016 due to a suspension.
The 2017 Miami Marlins added a few pitchers to help their cause. Former World Series Champion Edison Volquez was added to the team as a free agent to be the ace of the staff. Dan Straily was traded from Cincinnati to be the number 2 guy in the rotation. Straily had his best season last season with a 14-8 record with a team that was in last place.
Miami has never won a division title in the franchise’s history. They are only one of two teams that have never won a division, the other is the Colorado Rockies. However, the Marlins have won two World Series, one in 1997 and the other in 2003. Both World titles were as the wildcard team. The Marlins are the only team in Major League baseball to never lose a playoff series. Miami will have a tough task competing in the NL East with Washington and New York but do have the pieces to make some noise in 2017.