The Miami Marlins haven’t had a lot to feel good about in recent seasons, but the rebuild is beginning to bear fruit. The Marlins rotation has been a talking point since around the All-Star break of 2019, and though they’re not yet a fearsome unit, they’re worth keeping an eye on. They finished the year 16th in the majors by ERA, 20th by FIP, 14th in HR/9, and 22nd by fWAR. They didn’t generate a lot of groundballs, but that’s playing to strength given their ballpark. The biggest area of improvement looking ahead to next season will be control, as they finished second-to-last with 3.50 BB/9. Still, given where the franchise has been in recent seasons, any unit climbing from the cellar is noteworthy.
That said, the first wave of talent often becomes the last wave of prospect-gathering trade bait. At least for the time being, however, the Marlins aren’t overeager to move their starting pitching. Still, that doesn’t stop teams from asking, particularly about Caleb Smith, per MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman. Smith, 28, is the veteran at the front of their young group, and his trade value remains high due to having just over two years of service time. He struggled with the long ball in 2019, but it was an overall successful campaign: 10-11, 28 starts, 4.52 ERA/5.11 FIP, 153 1/3 innings. Smith definitely made strides in securing his spot as a major leaguer, though it would not be surprising were the Marlins to pivot and decide to move him.
Regardless, President of Baseball Ops Michael Hill suggested the Marlins are secure in their starting options heading into 2020, and they’re unlikely to make a major acquisition in that regard, per Wells Dusenbury of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The current group includes Smith, 2019 All-Star Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez, Jordan Yamamoto, Jose Urena, Elieser Hernandez, and Robert Dugger. Alcantara and Smith are probably the only two with their rotation spots guaranteed. The rest of the group should have no trouble conjuring a sense of urgency, as top prospect Sixto Sanchez finished the year in Double-A, as did Edward Cabrera, perhaps their most promising arm after Sanchez.
The Marlins felt secure enough in this group (and the intriguing group of prospects coming behind them) that they dealt Zac Gallen to the Diamondbacks for young shortstop Jazz Chisholm. The position player side of the ball should soon see an influx of intriguing young talent get their chance in the big leagues. Along with Chisholm, the Marlins added JJ Bleday with the 4th overall pick in the draft and acquired another top prospect in Jesus Sanchez from the Rays. Chishold and Sanchez are likely to reach the majors in 2020, along with centefielder Monte Harrison. Chisholm, Sanzhez, and Harrison are the Marlins #3, 4 and 5 ranked prospect by MLB.com. On both sides of the ball, patience will carry the day for now in Miami. Given the gusto with which their division mates have approached the offseason, Miami is all but assured to finish 2020 in the NL East cellar for the third consecutive season.