Marlins remember Jose Fernandez as they start 2017

Marlins miss Fernandez for many reason

Michael Hill, the Marlins’ president of baseball operations, wore a black lapel pin with the number “16,” the jersey worn by Jose Fernandez, the charismatic ace who died when his boat crashed late last season. “He’s gone, and that’s something that we all have to come to grips with and accept,” Hill said. “But his memory will always be a bond for this team and for me as well.”

Said manager Don Mattingly: “I actually thought about him this morning, just that you miss this guy.”

While the story line around the death of Fernandez dominated the headlines at the end of the 2016 season, now is when you really start to feel the baseball impact of his tragic loss.

Even with Fernandez, the Miami staff was going to be the big question mark for Miami because of the guys behind him.  Now that Fernandez is gone the Marlins pitching staff is going to be a huge challenge.

Jose Fernandez

Edinson Volquez, Dan Straily, Tom Koehler and Wei-Yin Chen are all excellent back of the rotation starters.  The problem is that foursome is the top four of the Marlins rotation.  In a division that includes deep starting staffs like the Nationals and Mets, this will make getting to the playoffs for Miami something that will take a career year from all four starters.

The Marlins should still be a fun team to watch. We all know about the big bopper Giancarlo Stanton, one of the best young superstars in the game and well worth the price of admission.

Christian Yelich

But he is joined by Christian is ready to take the next step from an unknown talented young major league player to legitimate major league superstar

Last season that line-up had issues scoring runs, despite a high batting average.  Manager Don Mattingly believes this year the young sluggers are ready to take that nice step.

So, pitching is a problem for Miami but it will be a team well worth watching and they might not be ready to overtake the Mets and the Nationals, but they will give them plenty of grief.