The 2014 Miami Marlins did one heck of a job of bringing the franchise back to relevance, improving from just 62 wins (and 100 losses) in 2013 to 77 while hanging around in the playoff conversation for a good chunk of the regular season.
What can this Marlins team accomplish with a healthy Giancarlo Stanton and an inevitable Jose Fernandez return on the horizon? Here's our 3 Bold Predictions for the 2015 Miami Marlins.
1. Giancarlo Stanton will hit .300 with 40 home runs
Stanton saw his 2014 season come to an abrupt end after suffering facial fractures and dental damage from an errant Mike Fiers fastball. With a protective mask on and a new decade-long megacontract in hand, we expect Giancarlo to improve even more in his age-25 campaign -- slashing .300/.405/.590 with 40 jacks and 115 RBIs for a career-best offensive season.
Can you say MVP? It's very, VERY possible this season.
2. Jose Fernandez will light the league on fire...after the All-Star break
The Marlins' young ace is at the tail end of his rehab process from Tommy John surgery, but don't expect Miami (or Fernandez for that matter) to rush things. Expect Fernandez to get in 10-12 starts after the All-Star break, with the 22-year-old posting 7+ strikeouts and giving up two runs or less in eight or nine of those outings.
3. Miami will be in the thick of the Wild Card race
One of the NL Wild Cards seems destined to come from the runner-up of the Cardinals/Pirates slugfest in the NL Central, leaving one spot to be fought over by the Giants/Marlins/Mets/Padres group of contenders. Miami has the offense and the underrated bullpen to make some major noise in that battle, along with giving the Washington Nationals a scare for a majority of the 2015 campaign.
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