Lewis Brinson wants to be here
Plenty of Marlins fans felt discouraged by the players acquired earlier this offseason in exchange for Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon. Nine total prospects—plus Starlin Castro! Remember him?—who certainly strengthened the farm system, but didn’t project as surefire core pieces.
- OF Lewis Brinson
- OF Monte Harrison
- 2B/SS Isan Diaz
- RHP Jordan Yamamoto
Fish Stripes will cover all four of them in greater depth headed into spring training, but let’s focus on Brinson right here. In some brief MLB action with the Brewers in 2017, he was a highlight machine.
Beginning his age-23 season in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, he slashed .331/.400/.562 in 76 games to earn a promotion. Milwaukee used Brinson primarily in center field, and he’s capable of sticking at that premium position in the big leagues.
There are concerns about his durability and contact skills, as expressed by ESPN’s Keith Law (Insider subscription required). Even so, he takes over as the top young player in the organization. Legitimate Mike Cameron potential here.
Another fun angle to this: Brinson was born and raised in Broward county! He excelled at Coral Springs High School and even rooted for the Marlins as a kid (h/t Clark Spencer, Miami Herald).
Considering that South Florida is such a hotbed of amateur baseball talent, you would expect the front office to invest more heavily in local products. For the time being, Brinson seems just as excited to play for the Marlins as fans are to watch him succeed.
Stable leadership at all MiLB levels
The Fish have famously lacked continuity—in any role—throughout their existence.
The minor league coaching ranks are especially prone to turnover, so credit them for making it a priority to retain all seven managers from 2017:
A few notables include former catcher Todd Pratt, who just led Single-A Greensboro to a division title (75-61 record), and Ray Nuñez, the longest-tenured skipper (entering 12th season in Dominican Summer League).
This will be a pivotal year for the Marlins’ affiliates. It’s been half a decade since we’ve seen so much upside in the farm system (back when Yelich, Ozuna and Jose Fernandez still had rookie eligibility).
All of the offseason acquisitions need to get acclimated to their new surroundings, then find a way to harness their immense talents. Despite the roles awaiting them on the active roster, most will spend some length of time in the minors.
These mentors have a big job to do.
New Marlins ownership still polarizing
Numbers never lie, but they can certainly mislead when presented without context.
The above chart visualizes the data collected by the FanGraphs “What Do You Think of Your Team’s Ownership?” polls. To the far right, receiving the lowest average score from readers, are Bruce Sherman, Derek Jeter and their fellow investors.
However, it’s worth noting that there were separate polls created for all 30 MLB teams. Miami’s had the fifth-highest vote total, surprisingly—and suspiciously—on par with rivals who compete in much larger markets. With new ownership dominating the headlines in recent months for a variety of reasons, it would seem that most of this feedback did not come from actual Marlins fans.
No— Lil Plane (@drewblez13) January 26, 2018
NOPE— Michael Grifasi (@MikeGrif561) January 26, 2018
Hell no— Scruffy Nerfherder (@EpicPapa) January 26, 2018
I’m 100% trusting the Marlins process https://t.co/UbWj8f9X2T— Matt Williams (@mattsm00th) January 27, 2018
Yes.— BirdmanEnFuego (@BirdmanEnFuego) January 26, 2018
As is, the team wasn't going to pass the Nationals in 2018. Or 2019. Then what? A reboot was going to happen. Better to do it now and get the most out of those pieces. The team they are building now will be be good faster than anyone expects.
Definitely. It was uncertain with the other moves but the Yelich deal seals it. They tore down the team and the talent they got back gives them a top 10 farm. Plus, the guys are spread out so it is in good shape for a while.— Paul (@pjl7) January 26, 2018
I am so ashamed and embarrassed.— MLR0907 (@mlr0907) January 26, 2018
I feel so bad for Marlins Fans.
Very mixed, yet not overwhelmingly negative.
One group that’s understandably unhappy with them? The Players’ Association.
Spokesman Greg Bouris confirms to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald that they’ve filed a complaint with commissioner Rob Manfred. Specifically, it alleges the Marlins are pocketing their revenue sharing payouts, rather than allocating them toward payroll.
At least in a few individual cases, that relationship will get more contentious before it gets better. An arbitration panel is set to decide on 2018 salaries for J.T. Realmuto, Justin Bour and Dan Straily, with the Marlins attempting to save a few hundred thousand dollars on each of them. Those hearings have been scheduled for Wednesday (Jan. 31), Thursday (Feb. 1) and Feb. 14, respectively.