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Marlins will look to build on promising offense next season

Even though they might be without an outfielder.

Photo: Pedro Portal/ Miami Herald

Even though the Miami Marlins offense finished with the 27th best offense in the league, it was still probably the Marlins strong suit. The offense was ravaged by injuries, as key players Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Derek Dietrich, Justin Bour and Dee Gordon all missed time due to injury or suspension.

Miami has plenty of promising young bats, which sets them up to be one the MLB’s better offenses if they can stay healthy. Miami’s offense was stagnant during the second half of the season, especially during August. Miami scored the fewest runs of any team in August, and they hit the fewest home runs during that month.

Along with Stanton and Bour going down to injury that month, Christian Yelich (.267), Ozuna (.168), and Ichiro (.196) all had their worst batting averages. Aside from that brutal month of August, Miami’s offense showed plenty of promise and potential. Third baseman Martin Prado, who just signed a three-year extension, had one of his best seasons with the Marlins.

He led the team in batting average (.305), and in hits (183). The middle infield is the main weakness for this Marlins offense. Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, known primarily for defense, had a batting average of just .236, and he only drove in 38 runs. Second baseman Dee Gordon, who was suspended 80 games earlier in the season for PED use, saw his numbers decline.

Gordon saw his average drop from .333 in 2015 to .268 in 2016. Miami used a rotation at first base, especially with Bour being sidelined for most of the second half. Bour’s main backup was Chris Johnson, but Dietrich and Miguel Rojas also saw time at first base. When Bour is healthy, he is a power source for Miami. In 2015, he hit 20 doubles and 23 home runs.

The outfield is the Marlins jewel, as they have All-Star talent everywhere in the outfield. Starting in left field, Christian Yelich had a career year, as he led the team in RBI’s (98), and in OBP (.376). Yelich had a batting average of .298, and he had a career-high 172 hits. He also had a WAR of 5.3, the best he’s ever had in his career. Over in center field, Marcell Ozuna was an All-Star, and he was the only one on offense to represent the Marlins.

Despite a second half cold spell, Ozuna still finished with solid numbers, as he batted .266 with 23 homers and 76 RBI’s. Finally, in right field, Giancarlo Stanton struggled for most of the first half, but he got back to normal before getting injured. Stanton raised his average from the .190’s to .240, and he led the team in homers with 27. Ichiro was the primary backup in the outfield, and he was solid this season.

He eclipsed the 3,000 hit mark, and he had a batting average of .291. Miami saw another star blossom at catcher, where J.T. Realmuto made a name for himself behind the plate. He posted a batting average of .303, he hit 31 doubles, and drove in 48 runs.

Miami will look to build on an offense that saw many players have career years. While they would like to upgrade at shortstop, it is not an immediate concern, especially since Hechavarria brings a lot defensively. Look for Miami to become a top-15 offense if they can stay healthy next season.