The theme this year for the Marlins is new! New stadium, new uniforms, new coach and a completely new team! The expectations in Miami and around the baseball world will be very high for the Marlins, after the way they went and spent at the Winter meetings. First year manager Ozzie Guillen will look to lead this team to a worst to first turnaround. New additions Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell will prove they were worth every penny spent on them. The team brings back a solid core of players from last years last place 72 win season. Mike Stanton and his light tower power should compete for the league lead in homers. Getting Josh Johnson and Hanley Ramirez back healthy will be key for them if they want to compete in the NL East. Let's take a look at what Miami will look like come Opening Day.
Starting Rotation- Josh Johnson will be the ace of the staff if he is healthy, if he has any Spring Training setbacks look for the fresh face of Mark Buehrle to tow the rubber come Opening Day. Look for Ricky Nolasco and Anibal Sanchez to compete for middle of the rotation spots, both guys have the stuff to be front of the rotation guys so they should be okay here. Carlos Zambrano should be the fifth starter if he can control himself, a change of scenery was probably the best thing to happen to him and having Guillen as his skipper will help him out a lot.
Bullpen- New closer Heath Bell will be their man to secure a lot of wins for them and with his All Star talent should do a great job. The reliever formally known as Leo Nunez, Juan Carlos Oviedo, will be the 8th inning setup man after being the closer last year. Randy Choate, Edward Mujica, Michael Dunn and Ryan Webb will be the other setup men and specialists in the 'pen. Look for Wade LeBlanc to be the long reliever, and could even compete for a rotation spot.
Catcher- John Buck looks to build on a good first year in Miami and possibly produce a little more at the plate. Look for youngster Brett Hayes to back him up.
Infield- Jose Reyes will be a shortstop, a move that Hanley Ramirez wasn't too happy with, but Ramirez will slide over to third base. This has the makings of being one of the most exciting sides of the infield in all of baseball. Veteran Omar Infante will be at second base, if he plays like he did in the second half will only help this team. Youngster Gaby Sanchez will be at first base, Sanchez is one of the more exciting players to watch in baseball and will continue to impress. Veteran Greg Dobbs will be a utility man for them along with outfielder Emilio Bonifacio.
Outfield- Power hitting youngster Mike Stanton will be in right field and will keep turning heads. Speedster Emilio Bonifacio will be the starting CF, but look for Chris Coghlan to give him some competition for the job. Logan Morrison will be in left and will look to build off a productive 2011. Scott Cousins will see some time also when guys need a breather.
1. Jose Reyes- 2011 Batting Champ, .330 clip with 50+ Steals.
2. Emilio Bonifacio- He is like another lead off man, should excite when he gets on.
3. Hanley Ramirez- One of the best hitting shortstops, oh I mean third basemen.
4. Mike Stanton- Should easily eclipse 30 &100.
5. Gaby Sanchez- Another powerful bat.
6. Logan Morrison- Will easily hit close to .300
7. John Buck- Good hitting catcher.
8. Omar Infante- Could move up to #2 if Bonifacio struggles.
9. Pitcher's Spot- Just Bunt!
Just looking at the teams layout for the upcoming campaign most people are going to put them in the playoffs, but they are in the toughest division in baseball. One thing Marlin fans will know is that this team will not finish in last place, if they do, can we say BUST! We see them at about 85 wins this season, but in their division every win will be earned. All these predictions could change so much if the ever so hyped Yoennis Cespedes signs with Miami. In Guillen's first year they probably will not make the playoffs and are probably a year out from making a deep run. Best of luck in 2012 Marlin Fans and enjoy all the new additions!