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Could Marlins have won a World Series during 2010’s without Loria?

We are simulating the last 10 years using Out of the Park Baseball. Could a Jacob deGrom-led staff take Miami all the way?

MLB: Colorado Rockies at New York Mets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The 90’s and 2000’s had some great moments for the Marlins, specifically when they won it all in 1997 and 2003. Since then, Marlins fans have had some moments to cheer about, but we haven’t even come close to winning it all in the past decade. Who’s to blame? It is hard to point anywhere else but at Jeffrey Loria. His fire sales and lies eventually led the Miami fan base and community to beg for an ownership change.

The new era arrived in 2017 when Bruce Sherman chaired an ownership group with Derek Jeter. It began a complete 180 for the team that has us excited for the future of Marlins baseball. However, not enough time has passed for this new ownership group to secure a World Series.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Miami Marlins
Hopefully Jeter can bring a real World Series to Miami.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

How much potential was wasted during the 2010’s due to Loria’s mishandling of the franchise? The release of Out of the Park Baseball (OOTP) brought me an excellent opportunity to test that out.

The challenge was simple: Could the Marlins win a World Series during the decade if they had no human interference? I just allowed the computer to simulate everything. For better or worse, I needed to know.

This is what happened.


2010

It was a quiet year for the Marlins as they finished third in the division, going 83-79. Mike (Giancarlo) Stanton began his career—several months earlier than he did during the real 2010 season—and won NL Rookie of the Year, hitting .275 with 35 home runs. Dan Uggla and Hanley Ramírez were voted NL All-Stars. Josh Johnson had an excellent year while Aníbal Sánchez and Ricky Nolasco struggled. I know it has been a while since you have heard those names, but in 2010 they were key to the success of the Marlins.

Overall, I thought this would be one of the best chances to sneak into the playoffs because I had no idea what would become of the Johnson/Ramírez/Stanton core over the next few years.

Award Winners: MVP—Carlos González | Cy Young—Cole Hamels

World Series: Colorado Rockies over Tampa Bay Rays in seven

2011

The Marlins came back from 10 games behind over the last 40 games to claim first in the division with a record of 95-67. The first round unfortunately saw a quick exit as the Marlins came back from down 2-0 to force a Game 5 before being shut out by Adam Wainwright’s Cardinals. It wasn’t all bad as we saw Josh Johnson pick up his first NL Cy Young award, going 19-7 with a 2.21 ERA and 224 punchouts. We also saw big spending as the Cy winner signed a five year, $102 million extension. Hanley joined in on the action and agreed to a three year, $51 million extension. Stanton led the league in RBI with 124 in his second full year. Uggla left the team to sign with the St. Louis Cardinals.

New York Mets v Florida Marlins
Cy Young winner Josh Johnson
Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

Award Winners: NL MVP—Troy Tulowitzki | Cy Young—Josh Johnson

World Series: Colorado Rockies over Tampa Bay Rays in six

2011 HOF Inductees: Larry Walker, Rafael Palmeiro, and Jeff Bagwell

2012

This year brought the end of the Florida Marlins and the beginning of the Miami version. I wish it started on a good note, but the Marlins went from first to last in the division, finishing 73-89. OOTP recreates drafts, but the actual studs from the MLB draft are elevated by the game, as Christian Yelich went second, and José Fernández went eighth overall. The Marlins selected Yasiel Puig (some of you finally got your wish!) at number nine.

Josh Johnson was the lone bright spot on the season as he threw five complete-game shutouts.

Award Winners: NL MVP—Mike Trout | Cy Young—Adam Wainwright

World Series: Minnesota Twins over Los Angeles Dodgers in seven

2012 HOF Inductees: None

2013

We saw the complete collapse of the Marlins who still had the same core of Stanton/Johnson/Ramírez yet finished with a record of 57-102. Puig somehow won the batting title in his rookie year with a .344 AVG in 130 games.

I was beginning worry about what the simulations were going to do to the Marlins after this. The Marlins finished with the worst record in the majors, but that allowed them to draft Jacob deGrom with the first overall pick in the 2013 draft which could change the Marlins future for the decade. Twenty-six picks later, the Miami Marlins selected Miguel Rojas which meant he would probably remain the franchise shortstop for the rest of the decade.

Award Winners: MVP—Carlos Gomez | Cy Young—Stephen Strasburg

World Series: Washington Nationals over Boston Red Sox in six

2013 HOF Inductees: Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mike Piazza, Roger Clemens, and Curt Schilling (the simulation apparently sees nothing controversial about steroids usage)

2014

The Marlins finally traded Hanley to the Dodgers for a couple prospects of no significance, but the young, new core had just arrived to Miami to give them one more push. The Marlins claimed Justin Turner off waivers, and deGrom began his rookie campaign. The core of deGrom/Johnson/Puig/Stanton did it again as the team went from worst in the division to a wild card spot with a record of 88-74. The Marlins came out victorious in the NL Wild Card game, beating the defending champions before losing the NLDS in five to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Award Winners: MVP—Andrew McCutchen | Cy Young—Corey Kluber

World Series Milwaukee Brewers over Boston Red Sox in six

2014 HOF Inductees: Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, and Gary Sheffield

Florida Marlins v Chicago Cubs
Sheff makes the Hall in 2014.
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

2015

This season saw the Marlins with their best chance yet, but they began the year by trading away Puig. Johnson disappointed with an ERA over four. However, the Marlins didn’t seem phased as deGrom and newly-acquired starter Carlos Martínez both posted ERAs under 2. deGrom finally added another NL Cy Young to the Marlins trophy case. The Marlins won the division with a 99-62 record before meeting the defending champions led by Miguel Cabrera in the first round. The Marlins beat the Brewers in four to advance and face the Giants in the NLCS. The Marlins beat them in six to advance to the World Series.

At this point, I was watching the simulation wondering if would I even have to play out the other five years. Is it possible this team could win it all? The answer was no: the Marlins were swept by the Houston Astros.

Moving forward, the team still has two of the best players in the sport in Stanton and deGrom, but the clock is ticking.

2010-2015 Simulation Summary

  • 2010: 83-79; no playoffs
  • 2011: 95-67; lost in NLDS
  • 2012: 73-89; no playoffs
  • 2013: 57-102; no playoffs
  • 2014: 88-74; lost in NLDS
  • 2015: 99-62; lost in World Series

I hope you have enjoyed our simulation so far. As you await part two on the remainder of the decade, let me know on Twitter (@KingOfBuffalo) if you have any questions about a particular player or year.