The 2020 MLB season is now a 60-game dash, starting on July 23 and ending, hopefully, with a full-size postseason in October. Between now and the start of the season, we’ll be giving quick capsule previews of each team, reminding you of where things stood back in Spring Training and where they stand now as we embark on what is sure to be the strangest season in baseball history. First up: The Miami Marlins roster and schedule:
MARLINS ROSTER (projected)
When the season opens on July 23-24, teams can sport rosters of up to 30 players, with a minimum of 25. Two weeks later, rosters must be reduced to 28 and then, two weeks after that, they must be reduced to 26. Teams will be permitted to add a 27th player for doubleheaders.
In light of that, there is a great degree of latitude for which specific players will break summer camp. For now, though, here are who we expect to be on the Marlins roster to begin the season:
The Marlins are coming off of a disastrous 57-105 season, their second consecutive fifth-place finish. Their roster is not that much different. They replaced Starlin Castro with the more versatile Jonathan Villar, and added closer Brandon Kintzler, outfielder Corey Dickerson, and the power bat of Jesús Aguilar. Will that be enough to hang with the big dogs in the NL East?
The starting rotation has the potential to be a lot better than most people think. It was decidedly not very good last year, as Sandy Alcantara was the only member of the rotation to post a sub-4.00 ERA. Many rotation members struggled with control — Alcantara, Jordan Yamamoto, and Caleb Smith each averaged at least 3.5 walks per nine innings. However, Yamamoto and Smith also averaged nearly 10 strikeouts per nine innings. There’s potential here.
Last season, the Marlins had baseball’s second-worst offense, averaging 3.80 runs per game compared to the 4.83 league average. Adding Villar, Dickerson, and Aguilar will help in that regard but they also need some mainstays to break out. Jorge Alfaro is an obvious candidate, but the most ground could be covered by Lewis Brinson. The former top prospect has a career .531 OPS in 709 major league plate appearances. If he can somehow come anywhere close to league average, that would represent a significant boost in offense for the Marlins.
The bullpen is going to be an issue for the Marlins. Kintzler is solid, but he turns 36 on August 1, has shown inconsistency over his career, and is injury-prone. The Marlins don’t have a good fallback plan if Kintzler falters due to underperformance or injury. Yimi García would seem to be second-in-command but he’s plagued by the same issues as Kintzler. If the Marlins fail to make progress this season, it will likely be because of the bullpen.
Every team will play 60 games. Teams will be playing 40 games against their own division rivals and 20 interleague games against the corresponding geographic division from the other league. Six of the 20 interleague games will be “rivalry” games.
- July 24-26: @ Phillies
- July 27-28: vs. Orioles
- July 29-30: @ Orioles
- July 31-August 2: vs. Nationals
- August 4-6: vs. Phillies
- August 7-9: @ Mets
- August 11-12: @ Blue Jays
- August 14-16: vs. Braves
- August 17-20: vs. Mets
- August 21-24: @ Nationals
- August 25-27: @ Mets
- August 28-30: vs. Rays
- September 1-2: vs. Blue Jays
- September 4-6: @ Rays
- September 7-9: @ Braves
- September 10-13: vs. Phillies
- September 14-16: vs. Red Sox
- September 18-20: vs. Nationals
- September 21-24: @ Braves
- September 25-27: @ Yankees