2021 Miami Marlins: The Price is Right

The Marlins surprised the league with a 2020 Playoffs series win. Now, The 2021 Miami Marlins look to build on that momentum. They made history on Nov. 13 when the club named Kim Ng its new general manager. Ng is the first female MLB GM and the first Asian-American MLB GM. She takes over a rebuild entering its fourth year. The Marlins have a loaded farm system and a payroll in the $60 million range this season and no commitments on the book for 2022.

2021 Miami Marlins: Breakdown

2021 Miami Marlins: 1st base

Regarding 1st base, the Marlins will depend on this duo to handle the first base bag, 30-year-olds Jesús Aguilar and Garrett Cooper. They provide above-average bats and decent defense.

Miami practically stole Aguilar after a quiet season with the Brewers and the Rays in 2019. Aguilar signed a four-year deal but failed to duplicate his powerful 2018 season which included the All-Star team as he hit 25 doubles, 35 home runs, and 108 RBIs.

In what turned out to be the steal of the season, Miami claimed him off waivers. The Marlins made the most out of the $953,704 adjusted salary they paid to Aguilar. He led the team in hits (52), doubles (10—tied with Miguel Rojas), walks (23—tied with Jon Berti), and had the second-best mark in home runs (8), RBIs (34), and extra-base hits (18). Out of the second spot, he set the table for Miguel Rojas and Brian Anderson. Aguilar had the best exit velocity (89.3 MPH) among Marlins hitters, according to Statcast.

Juan Paez notes some of the reasons for Aguilar’s success at the plate included limiting ground balls (GB% decreased from 42.9% in 2019 to 37.5% in 2020), doing damage against fastballs again after struggling a year ago, and continuing to increase his contact percentage. He finished 2020 at 79.9%.

Top Pick Max Meyer

With the third pick in the 2020 draft, the Marlins hooked Max Meyer out of Minnesota for $6.7 million. Miami broke with recent tradition by selecting a pitcher in the first round. Miami viewed Meyer as “the most athletic college pitcher in this draft with the most electric stuff”. In a pitch-heavy draft, Meyer projects as major league ready. At Minnesota as a Freshman, Meyer produced a school-record 16 saves, continuing his dominance on the U.S. collegiate national team with seven saves. Meyer joined the rotation a month into his sophomore year. He ended up striking out 46 in 27 2/3 innings. Max shares a connection with Hall of Famer Paul Molitor (1977) as the highest pick in Golden Gophers history.

According to MLB scouts, Meyer ranked as the ninth-best prospect in this year’s draft, said Meyer “owns the best slider in the 2020 Draft, a wipeout 87-91 mph offering with which he can add and subtract depth.” Additionally, he has a plus four-seam fastball and a decent changeup. His franchise-record of $6.7 million demonstrates Max is expected to be a front-line starter. Svilhik compared Meyer to the likes of Tim Lincecum and Sonny Gray. Strong and athletic, his fluid delivery or filling the strike zone with quality stuff.

Meyer, who both pitched and played in the outfield for the Golden Gophers over the past three seasons, had a career 2.07 ERA with 187 strikeouts/41 walks over 148 career innings. In four starts, Meyer went 3-1, had a 1.95 ERA, held opponents to a .155 batting average, and struck out 46 batters in 27 1/3 innings.

Meyer was named a preseason All-American entering his junior year. He went 3-1 with a 1.95 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, and 46 strikeouts in 27.2 innings pitched. The season was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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