When Christian Yelich landed on the disabled list in late April, the Marlins were faced with a decision on who to call up. With Ichiro scheduled to fill in for Yelich in left field every day, the Marlins opted to add depth at first base by calling up Justin Bour. At age 26, Bour had just 74 major league at-bats under his belt.
Bour made the most of his spot starts and pinch-hit appearances, hitting .500 in his first 18 plate appearances. In late May, Michael Morse went on the disabled list, which gave Bour the full-time duties at first, and the rest was history as Bour would not surrender the first-base job for the remainder of the season. He capped off his surprising rookie season with the NL Rookie of the Month award for the month of September, via the press release from MLB.com:
First baseman Justin Bour of the Miami Marlins has been voted the National League Rookie of the Month for September. The National League Rookie of the Month for September, Justin Bour, will receive a specially designed trophy, suitably engraved, to commemorate his performance.
In 26 September games, Bour posted a slash line of .290/.321/.590 to go along with nine home runs and 25 RBIs. His home run total in September led all rookies and placed him third among all national leaguers. Over the course of the entire season, Bour had a batting line of .262/.321/.479 to go along with 23 home runs and a team-leading 73 home runs. In terms of Bour's performance among all National League rookies, he finished third in home runs and RBIs and ninth in slugging percentage.
While the club is not simply handing Bour the starting job for 2016, they have acknowledged that he will certainly be in the mix. In late August, Dan Jennings said that Bour was going to given a chance to play everyday and prove to the Marlins that he can be an everyday player. The former 25th-round pick is not the greatest defensive player, but his power in the middle of the order is something that the Marlins have lacked over the past few seasons, with the exception of that of Giancarlo Stanton. Bour made the most of that chance and has certainly given the Marlins something to think about heading into 2016.
The Marlins could opt to bring in a first baseman through free agency and operate a platoon at the position. Some right handed bats that are set to hit the open market this winter include Mike Napoli, Mark Reynolds and Steven Pearce. If the club wants to spend a good amount of money to upgrade the position they could go after everyday players in Chris Davis and Edwin Encarnacion, if the Blue Jays decline his option.