As I sit here writing, Miami has just won their 12th game of the season, beating Philadelphia 5-1. If we were talking about the Dolphins, this 12th win might be cause for celebration, and Miami would probably be headed to the playoffs. But this is Fish Stripes, so you know that we are talking baseball, and that the Miami Marlins will need quite a few dozen more wins to put themselves into playoff contention.
Yet, this is where Miami expected to be headed into the year. The Marlins knew they would lose tons of games, but hopefully the young talent in the system would at the very least make the losses sting less.
Hey, guys, they've done quite a bit more than just that.
Marcell Ozuna was called up in late-April after the injury to Giancarlo Stanton, and after torching Double-A. Since his debut he has hit .299/.338/.463 and has played quality defense. What Ozuna is doing is far from MVP-caliber, however, it is still solid production, and the Miami Marlins should be thankful for what he has done.
Similarly, Derek Dietrich has hit for a .281/.343/.438 slash line, with a .343 wOBA. Like Ozuna, Dietrich's production is far from unprecedented. He is just hitting like player that belongs in the major leagues and that is enough for to celebrate, at least for the Miami Marlins.
Ultimately, "belonging in the majors" is how many teams would like to describe their top young talent.
Twenty-year old Jose Fernandez, with his nine strikeouts per nine innings, 3.48 ERA and 3.44 FIP through 44 major league innings, has similarly proven that he belongs with the Fish. If his age and pedigree are any indication, Jose Fernandez is primed to improve upon his already good numbers in the coming years.
The Miami Marlins have gotten solid production from the players on the 25-man roster who matter for the future of the franchise. Plus, the players still on the farm have been impressive in 2013.
Christian Yelich has torn apart Double-A with .306/.374/.648 line, six homers, and a whopping .343 ISO through 123 plate appearances for Jacksonville. Yelich might find himself in Miami orange, blue, or yellow by the All-Star break, and he is already exciting fantasy baseball players with his potential to produce a high on-base, coupled with power and speed.
Brian Flynn has made his way up to Triple-A, and could find a place on the big league team before the season is out. Also, 2012 first round pick Andrew Heaney made his season debut for the high Class A Jupiter Hammerheads, striking out nine batters in four and one-third innings pitched against a Daytona Cubs lineup featuring top Cubs prospects such as Jorge Soler and Javier Baez.
Of course, all these early season stats should come with a "small sample size" warning printed on the label in big red lettering, but no matter the sample size the Miami Marlins have gotten solid production from all the right pieces. Those that are not yet on the major league team seem to have what it takes to get there, and those that are already there seem to have what it takes to stay.
The Miami Marlins are at the point where they realize that the light at the end of the tunnel is in fact a light and not an illusion. The light may be far away and it will take some time and effort to reach; but for now at least, it appears that the future of the Miami Marlins has been laid in the hands of the right players.