The band is back together. Again.
The Covid-19 pandemic prevented Major League Baseball from beginning their season. With so much uncertainty moreover racial unjust, the beat will go on for MLB.
MLB and the MLB Players Association finalized a return-to-play plan on June 23.
Teams take their talents back July 1. A few exhibitions will be played; the regular season will begin with Opening Night on July 23, followed by Opening Day on July 24.
It will be a tight season; each team will play 60 games. To limit travel distances, teams will play a majority of games against their division opponents (40, or 10 against each division opponent) and the rest against their geographic counterpart in the other league (in other words, AL East vs. NL East, AL Central vs. NL Central, AL West vs. NL West).
The postseason if the season can get that far, especially with testing of the players for the coronavirus, will be worth the hype. Just before the start of the regular season, MLB and the MLBPA came to an agreement on an expanded postseason format featuring 16 teams (eight from each league).
The postseason will begin with four best-of-three Wild Card Series in each league (so eight total), with the higher-seeded team hosting all three games. The winners of those series advance to the best-of-five Division Series. The winners of the Division Series advance to the best-of-seven League Championship Series. The winners of the LCS advance to the World Series.
With those details shared, let’s preview the Miami Marlins season.
The fact is the Marlins have not made the postseason since 2003. The two times the franchise made the postseason as a wildcard, they won two World Series titles.
I don’t see an MVP contender on that roster walking through the door. Leading me to believe the fish will not be making the playoffs; however, they can play with the “why not us mentality” and make it keep it exciting.
They lost 105 games last season, finishing last in the NL in runs and the majors in homers. They also finished last in attendance, drawing 811,302. Good news fans will not be in attendance.
The team did take some needed steps to improve. Trading for Jonathan Villar to play third base, picking up first baseman Jesús Aguilar, signing Corey Dickerson to watch leftfield and adding Brandon Kintzler for close games out. These moves will keep Miami exciting.
The bright side is the young talent on the mound. All under the age of 30. Led by All-Star right-hander Sandy Alcantara. Top prospect Sixto Sanchez will bring the added heat to the group.
The fish needed to draft better, including internationally. The last Miami first-round pick to play a game for the team was the late pitcher José Fernández, drafted in 2011.
Outfielder Lewis Brinson who was once their top prospect has only led the team to move on from expectations possibly. On the bright side, Caleb Smith, as a lefty starter, struck out 26.0% of the batters he faced but gave up NL-leading 33 home runs. They both can get better; it has to be now.
Don Mattingly received a new deal. He is perfect to lead these young fish. He sends the message the team needs to improve while they can take a deep breath and enjoy the ride with those in the clubhouse.
Projected record: 25-35, 4th in NL East.