2015 was another year to forget for the Miami Marlins. The team's playoff drought stretched to 12 years after another sub-.500 season, its sixth in a row. However, with a new manager in Don Mattingly, and a returning core of young, talented players, there is a reason to be fairly optimistic for 2016 if you support the Fish.
With things looking like they could be on the up for Miami, here are three (perhaps surprising) things you could see from this team over the course of the summer:
1. Three Marlins hit over 20 home runs
With Giancarlo Stanton, Justin Bour and Marcell Ozuna, the Marlins have a very good shot at achieving this feat for the first time since 2010. Stanton hit 27 homers in 74 games last year, so he is pretty much a lock to hit 20 dingers before the All-Star break.
Even though he suffered a down-year in 2015, Ozuna hit 23 home runs in 2014, so he definitely has the skill set to produce around 20 in 2016. Additionally, he will want to prove the doubters (and the Marlins) wrong after his highly publicized demotion to Triple-A earlier this season.
The wildcard in this prediction is Justin Bour. He hit 23 homers this past season and he is the left-handed power bat that the Marlins have been searching for forever, but they might not see him as an everyday first baseman. Having Justin Bour platoon with Derek Dietrich is a possibility, which would seriously reduce the number of plate appearances Bour gets. If Bour works on rounding his overall game, he could hit over 30 homers as a full-time starter.
2. The Marlins will close by committee
After trading Steve Cishek mid-season, A.J. Ramos was made the new closer. He had a lot of success early, but then struggled down the stretch. Couple this with the fact that Carter Capps was dominant to an almost unbelievable extent before his injury and the Marlins will most likely give both of them ample opportunity to close out games. This is not necessarily a bad thing as both are more than capable of handling the responsibility of shutting the door on a nightly-basis.
3. Tom Koehler pitches more than 180 innings again
While he has always been a middle of the rotation starter for the Marlins, Tom Koehler has been a workhorse for this organization. He has posted more than 180 innings for the last two seasons and don't look for that to change this season. Koehler will be the veteran presence of this rotation and he will lead by example and showcase his durability all year long.
The development of Jose Urena and Adam Conley (the likely number four and five starters) will depend on Jose Fernandez, Tom Koehler and Jarred Cosart eating up as many innings as possible, and Koehler has shown that he is capable of doing this.