1997-Florida Marlins over Cleveland Indians
2003-Florida Marlins over New York Yankees
2009-Florida Marlins over ????
It’s been six seasons since the Marlins last World Series title, and if history is any indicator, the stars are aligned for Florida to claim the Fall Classic once again. South Florida’s franchise hasn’t even been around for 20 years but already they have had more postseason success in that span than storied franchises like the Chicago Cubs, Seattle Mariners, New York Mets, L.A. Dodgers and Cleveland Indians. During the past 15 years, only three teams have won multiple World Series titles: the Yankees, Red Sox and yep you guessed it, the Florida Marlins. However, unlike New York and Boston who seek to build dynasties, the Marlins self-destruct after each championship; selling off their top players and in turn alienate their fans. With that in mind, the Marlins are off to a torrid start in 2009, and here are six reasons (besides the astrological signs) that Florida will win this year’s World Series.
1) Starting Pitching: The Marlins own one of the best starting quartets in the game with Josh Johnson, Anibal Sanchez, Ricky Nolasco and Chris Volstad. They also have an x-factor in 5th starter Andrew Miller who has the stuff of a future ace but still needs to harness his control. None of these pitchers is over 26-years-old and all of them have lots of room for improvement. If they can stay healthy and continue to mature this fearsome foursome could become any playoff opponent’s nightmare.
2) Infield Power: The keystone combination of Hanley Ramirez at short and Dan Uggla at second combined for 65 homeruns last season, astonishing numbers for a pair of middle infielders. That number could increase this year as Ramirez moves down in the lineup and Uggla cuts down on his strikeouts. First baseman Jorge Cantu is capable of hitting 30 HRs and so is the heir apparent at 1st Gaby Sanchez. Throw in the speedy Emilio Bonifacio (who already has an inside-the-park homerun) and this is an infield that is capable of going deep over 100 times in 2009.
3) Outfield Upside: Often overshadowed by their infield peers, the Marlins’ outfield is poised for a breakout season in 2009. Jeremy Hermida has started the year on a tear and may finally live up to his limitless potential. He is flanked by speedy leftfielder and former #1 pick Cameron Maybin (who is still just 22) and Cody “the Toy Cannon” Ross in center. Super utility man Alfredo Amezaga can play any position in the outfield and is capable of stealing 15 bases off the bench. Although they may not match the infield’s power, this bunch is more than capable of holding their own among the NL East’s best outfields.
4) Youth is Served: The average age of a Florida Marlin is only 26-years-old, and while many may cite this inexperience as a reason they won’t win it all, it hasn’t stopped them before (the average age for the Fish in 2003 was only 27-years-old). The regular season is a 162-game marathon that wears down even the most conditioned players, especially older veterans with some mileage on their engines. The Marlins crop of youngsters may experience some hiccups along the way, but their relatively young age should have them fresh come playoff time.
5) Zero Pressure:The Marlins are playing in one of the best divisions in all of baseball, but the pressure to win the NL East falls squarely on the shoulders of the New York Mets and defending champion Philadelphia Phillies. The Marlins were an afterthought coming into the season, but have raced out to an 11-1 start which already puts them five games up in the division. Although the spotlight in the NL has been shifted to Florida, if the young players can continue to play carefree baseball, the Marlins should cruise to the NL East title.
6) Odds and Ends: The Marlins have a well respected coach, Fredi Gonzalez, who has improved the team each year he has managed (71-91 in 2007, 84-77 in 2008, ??-?? in 2009). Florida is an extremely likable bunch of players with no bad apples and good chemistry, something that can’t be overlooked come playoff time (see the 2004 Red Sox). The Marlins will be able to play the “nobody believed in us” card in the postseason, and everybody except the Yankees love an underdog. The franchise has shown the ability to make key acquisitions at the trade deadline to improve their squad for the postseason push (Arthur Rhodes in 2008, Jeff Conine in 2003). And of course, the Mayans have been predicting this title run for over 1500 years, and they’re never wrong (besides the time they guessed that LC and Spencer would end up together on The Hills).
So hop on the Marlins’ bandwagon now before it fills up as quickly as Dolphin Stadium for a mid-April game, it just might be the best decision you ever make (outside of stockpiling your basement with Crystal Pepsi).
Filed under: Baseball, world series | Tagged: 2009 forecast, 2009 world series, britney spears, dan uggla, emilio bonifacio, florida marlins, hanley ramirez, josh johnson, NL East, the hills, world series |