Restoring the rosters: No. 16 – Florida

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This is part of a series of articles examining what every team’s roster would look like if given only the players it originally signed. I’m compiling the rosters, ranking them and presenting them in a countdown from Nos. 30 to 1.
No. 30 – Cincinnati
No. 29 – Kansas City
No. 28 – San Diego
No. 27 – Milwaukee
No. 26 – Baltimore
No. 25 – Chicago (AL)
No. 24 – Chicago (NL)
No. 23 – Pittsburgh
No. 22 – Detroit
No. 21 – Tampa Bay
No. 20 – New York (NL)
No. 19 – Houston
No. 18 – Oakland
No. 17 – St. Louis
The Marlins are known for developing young talent and then spinning the players once they begin to get expensive. But the talent that comes in via trades doesn’t help them here. As far as procuring talent through the draft and internationally, they’re a middle-of-the-road team, as they’ve managed to surround the superstars with surprisingly little depth.
Josh Beckett
Josh Johnson
Chris Volstad
Scott Olsen
Rick VandenHurk
Ronald Belisario
Logan Kensing
Jason Vargas
Randy Messenger
Ryan Tucker
Tim Wood
Yorman Bazardo
Two studs, an impressive youngster and that’s really it. The bullpen is about as poor as any in these rankings, even in light of Belisario’s breakthrough season with the Dodgers. After Volstad, the choices for the rotation were Olsen, VandenHurk, Sean West and a broken down Nate Robertson. West will probably be a legitimate fourth starter by this time next year, and he has considerable upside going forward. There isn’t a whole lot of promise after that, though.
2B Luis Castillo
CF Randy Winn
1B Adrian Gonzalez
LF Miguel Cabrera
RF Josh Willingham
3B Chris Coghlan
SS Alex Gonzalez
C Brett Hayes
SS Edgar Renteria
OF Jeremy Hermida
1B-OF Mark Kotsay
C-INF Gaby Sanchez
C-1B Jeff Bailey
There are several directions in which one could go here. I’ve opted for offense in the corners and the best defense up the middle. Obviously, one has to make room for both Adrian Gonzalez and Cabrera, and I chose to go with Cabrera in left field and Coghlan at third base, though one could argue that they should swap positions. Or for Cabrera at third, Willingham in left and Hermida in right.
I think Alex Gonzalez is a better player than Renteria right now, though I may be in the minority there.
Catcher is a big problem, but it’s too late for a Charles Johnson comeback now. Willingham, Sanchez and Bailey are all former Marlins prospects who have moved off the position, for good reasons in every case. Still, it’d probably be worth seeing whether either Sanchez or Bailey could handle a pitching staff. Hayes is a decent enough defender, but he’s a 25-year-old hitting .246/.284/.337 in Triple-A.
If Bailey can’t catch because of his old physical issues, he’d be bumped off the roster in favor of Ross Gload or Kevin Millar.
The Marlins have three more very talented corner players on the way in Mike Stanton, Logan Morrison and Matt Dominguez, but they’ve really struggled to develop pitching and it probably hasn’t helped that they’ve been guilty of rushing arms through the system. They can’t complain about bad luck when they’ve come up with both Johnson and Volstad during the decade, but they’ve run through so many other arms and haven’t come up with any durable fourth starters or quality relievers. Having a couple of additional legitimate major league arms would have gone a long way towards boosting their playoff chances this year.

Who will be the 2016 World Series’ breakout star?

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  Javier Baez #9 of the Chicago Cubs looks on prior to game six of the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Watching baseball most every day between April and October is a lot of fun, but it also can be a bit desensitizing. People like me and like many of you see some of baseball’s biggest stars every night and some of those same stars multiple times a week. We appreciate them but, after a little while, we tend to take them a little bit for granted.

The World Series, however, is a time when a lot of people who only watch their own team on a regular basis start watching other teams. It’s also when a lot of people who don’t watch a lot of baseball in general pay closer attention to a sport that may only be their second or third love. These people are getting a first glimpse, in many cases, of some truly special players performing on baseball’s biggest stage for the first time. They’re seeing stars break out. Their very act of paying attention to them now contributes to the breakout. It’s a cliche, but October is when stars are born.  It’s like relativity or something: they’re born because so many people are looking on, seeing their light for the first time.

The Indians have a handful of exciting young players who have not fully captured national attention as of yet. Sure, Francisco Lindor has been on the radar of baseball obsessives for a few years now, but he’s just completing his second big league season and is, for all practical purposes, entering the national spotlight for the first time this postseason. Jason Kipnis has played for six seasons and, for many of those seasons, was one of baseball’s most underrated and overlooked stars. Eventually, as happens with a lot of players like that, hardcore baseball fans came to truly appreciate him . . . but is he that well known to casual fans and those who have not seen much of the Indians over the past few years? Could his playing this World Series with a sprained ankle turn him into something bigger than he already is in the public consciousness?

The Cubs have a bit more of a national following and have had players in advertising campaigns and the like. As a result, even casual fans know who Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo are. But have they seen them play as much as they’ve seen their images in TV commercials? Even if they have, there are still some generally overlooked and relatively unknown players on that Cubs roster. Catcher Willson Contreras didn’t come up until the middle of June. If you’re a Cubs fan or a fan of one of the many teams the Cubs have vanquished on their way to the World Series you know and love (or, possibly, loathe) Contreras well, but most people haven’t had a chance to see him much. Now he’s poised to play in the Fall Classic. Second baseman Javier Baez has been up and down in his brief major league career, but he’s been electric down the stretch and in the postseason, having drastically cut down on his strikeouts and having flashed some serious leather of late. There’s something about him that just screams “superstar,” and he now has the chance to show that to the world.

The idea of a “breakout star” is a bit amorphous. It could be someone young who shows himself and his talents to the world for the first time, like a Lindor or a Baez. It could, on the other hand, be someone who has been around for a long time — say, a David Ross or a Rajai Davis — who creates a signature moment for himself in the Fall Classic with one big swing of the bat. Heck, Edgar Renteria did both of those things in two different World Series, announcing his presence on the national stage with a big hit in the 1997 Series and bowing out gracefully with a big hit in the 2010 Series. Someone could create a prologue or an epilogue to a wonderful career, starting tonight.

Ultimately the question in the headline above is a rhetorical one, not a predictive one. We don’t know who will make the 2016 World Series his own and who will, in turn, make himself into a household name. But a short series, laden with drama like the World Series, all but guarantees that we’ll have one. A player who, after the next five to nine days, will forever be known by both the baseball obsessives and the casual fans. Watching that star being born will be just as enjoyable as watching the overall content at hand.

World Series Game 1 Lineup: Schwarber and Coghlan in, Heyward out

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 18:  Chris Coghlan #8 of the Chicago Cubs reacts after lining out to end the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the ninth inning of game three of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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The Cubs and Indians have released their lineups for Game 1 of the World Series.

Joe Maddon makes two notable changes: Kyle Schwarber as the DH and Chris Coghlan in right, with Jason Heyward on the bench.

Heyward has been close to a lost cause at the plate all season for the Cubs and is 2-for-24 in the playoffs this year. While his defense is a plus, Maddon has decided that he’d rather have the lefty Coghlan facing Corey Kluber.

1. Dexter Fowler (S) CF
2. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
3. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
4. Ben Zobrist (S) LF
5. Kyle Schwarber (L) DH
6. Javier Baez (R) 2B
7. Chris Coghlan (L) RF
8. Addison Russell (R) SS
9. David Ross (R) C

For the Indians:

1. Rajai Davis (R) CF
2. Jason Kipnis (L) 2B
3. Francisco Lindor (S) SS
4. Mike Napoli (R) 1B
5. Carlos Santana (S) DH
6. Jose Ramirez (S) 3B
7. Brandon Guyer (R) LF
8. Lonnie Chisenhall (L) RF
9. Roberto Perez (R) C