Rob Neyer gives his N.L. East preview for 2011. I will spot you what he wrote about the Marlins.
Watch out for the Florida Marlins. Basically a .500 team a year ago, the Marlins should benefit from full seasons from youngsters Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison, plus the considerable talents of Hanley Ramirez. They've also got a young and (mostly) talented pitching rotation, led by Cy Young candidate Josh Johnson. Trouble spots? Sure. They're obviously going to miss Dan Uggla, and we're still waiting for someone to explain why Chris Coghlan is the Marlins' new center fielder. Everything adds up to third place, but if you're looking for this year's 2010Cincinnati Reds, the Marlins have to be somewhere on your list of candidates.
Sounds about right to me. Well, with the exception of Mike Stanton and LoMo playing a full season. They were both called up during the season, LoMo in July and Stanton in June. But that quibble is more pedantic than anything else.
Click on the link to read about the rest of the teams in the East.
For the Marlins to win a spot in the playoffs a lot of things are going to have to go right. The starting rotation staying healthy and preforming up to their talent. Gaby, Stanton, LoMo and to some degree, Coghlan avoiding the sophomore slump and to continue improving. Also the three outfielders need to learn to play the outfield competently, they will one day. But when that happens if up for grabs.
Not to mention the bullpen needs to be of the shutdown sort. That we will just have to see if it happens.
If the Marlins hit on all cylinders, the other teams in division should be worried. But hitting on all cylinders doesn't happen often. However, it did, eventually, in 1997 and 2003. So it is not impossible.
On a different note: the SB Nation has launched their Baseball Nation. You should check it out if you get the chance. Personally, I would bookmark it. But I'm not exactly unbiased.