Cellar dwellers with bright futures: Marlins

As the 2014 pennant race starts to kick into gear, we explore a number of teams who need to look to 2015 and beyond for their chance to compete. The fourth and final team we’ll discuss is the Miami Marlins. (Click here to see the rest of the series.)

The Marlins have had four losing seasons in a row, and could be on the way to a fifth in 2014. However, while not spectacular, their 44-50 record through the All-Star break is an improvement from years past. They might not be in serious contention in 2014, but they have undoubtedly gotten better, and should continue to do so in the future. The Marlins’ farm system is far from the best in baseball, but this is partly because several of their top prospects are already in the majors. However, they do have several prospects in the minors who they hope will contribute in the future.

Impact hitters proving their worth

The Marlins’ best hitter, and one of the best players in baseball, is right fielder Giancarlo Stanton. in 2014, the 24 year old leads the National League in home runs (21) and RBIs (63) and has raised his batting average to .295. Stanton is already in his fifth year, and was an All-Star for the second time in 2014. He figures the cornerstone piece of the Marlins franchise; the player to stand strong during the rebuilding period and carry them to future contention.

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The new Home Run Derby

The new home run derby format could in fact be a brilliant innovation to a stagnant event. Last night’s event was a good test run for how this event may go in the future. In fact, performances from several of the participants displayed a helpful case study for how to tinker with the model so it best meets its potential.

But speaking from only experiencing one such newly-formatted derby, my commentary must be less evidence-based and more in the realm of logical/hypothetical.

The new format’s biggest changes spring from the change to a bracket setup. (ESPN)

The bracket is definitely a major shift from the derby of years past, and it’s almost surely here to stay. That’s mostly a good thing, though there’s definitely room for improvement.

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