One aspect of writing about sports, especially local sports teams, that constantly bedevils me is that we generally believe that our teams are better than they are. That comes naturally, of course, because we know our players better then we know the players from all the other teams. Sure, we know the stars, but it is often the guys in the trenches who make the difference in the success or failure of a team. So, forgive me if I seem to be looking at the Marlins through rose-colored glasses. Believe me, I know this team is unlikely to win more games than the team did last year, but there are pockets of hope that we should not lose track of, because they are likely our stars of the future.
The Marlins will have little proven talent, an abundance of hopefully emerging talent, and a lot of unknowns.
Much of the proven talent lies in the pitching staff, and Starlin Castro, Brian Anderson, JT Riddle and Miguel Rojas qualify as proven talent among the position players. Capable starting pitchers include Jose Urena, Sandy Alcantara and Trevor Richards. The team will also have returning injured pitchers Caleb Smith and Pablo Lopez. Relief pitchers that we are familiar with include Wei-Yin-Chen, Drew Steckenrider and Adam Conley, who have done well in the past, and newly signed Sergio Romo.
Outfielder Lewis Brinson showed flashes of future stardom last year, but inconsistency was his bugaboo. Austin Dean in the short time he was with the team last year looked like an outfielder who could become a starter. And, the pick-up of Curtis Granderson gives the outfield and clubhouse a veteran presence.
For the Marlins to be anything but mediocre in terms of team standings at the end of the season, a couple of these players need to rise to the top and lead this team until the younger players have time to blossom into productive assets.