2014 Record – 77-85
Ichiro, Dee Gordon, Mat Latos Michael Morse, Martin Prado
Jake Marisnick, Anthony DeSclafani
Projected 2015 Lineup
- 2B Dee Gordon
- 3B Martin Prado
- LF Christian Yelich
- RF Giancarlo Stanton
- CF Marcell Ozuna
- 1B Mike Morse
- C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
- SS Adeiny Hechavarria
Projected 2015 Starters
- Henderson Alvarez
- Jarred Cosart
- Mat Latos
- Tom Koehler
- Dan Haren
This team made huge strides in 2014, improving by fifteen wins without making any drastic moves in the offseason. Now, going into 2015, they’ve found a way to continue to improve their team, and they’re hoping that the development of superstar slugger and Marlin for the next 13 years Giancarlo Stanton (and hopefully a full season of health for him) can lead to another 15 win increase.
X-Factor – Ichiro
Adding Ichiro to any team’s bench is intriguing, mostly because I still remember the crazy hype he had in Japan and the fact that he was one of the first players ever to come over from the international leagues and actually exceed expectations. He’s 41 now, and not as fast or as masterful with the bat as he once was. Still, he is Ichiro, so not only should he be able to provide a spark off the bench, but he’s going to give veteran leadership that this young team definitely needs.
Most To Prove – Jarrod Saltalamacchia – C
The former Braves top prospect has bounced around the league for the last few years unable to find a home with any big league squad. At one point, he was regarded as the second coming of Johnny Bench. A few years later, he was sent back down to the minors because he couldn’t throw the ball back to the pitcher. Now it’s time for the 29-year-old, career .240 hitter to prove that he actually belongs in the majors and in the starting lineup. If not, this deal with the Marlins could be his last.
2015 Impact Prospect – J.T. Realmuto – C
Saltalamacchia is a bit of an unknown in the starting lineup (see above), so if he does fail to play at a level that warrants starting him, the 24-year-old Realmuto could find his way into the lineup, especially when you consider the fact that current MLB backup Jeff Mathis can’t hit a lick.
Why They’re Worth Watching
Stanton has as good of a chance to go yard as anyone in the league on a nightly basis, so if you like longballs, there’s at least that you can tune in for. But this team really has a solid chance of going from worst to first in the NL East within two years, which is something worth tuning in for.
Stanton plays at MVP level again, the pitching staff stays healthy, and the Nationals sputter, leaving the top of the division wide open. 90-72
Another huge leap is too much for the team, the rotation is battered, and they can’t find a backstop to help ease the pain. 80-82