Marlins a budding juggernaut

Miami is stockpiling a dangerous combination of young talent

Updated: August 3, 2013, 12:56 AM ET
By Mike Petriello | ESPN Insider

If you're shocked by the idea of actually having something positive to say about the laughingstock Miami Marlins, you'd be far from alone. They have arguably the most despised owner in sports in Jeffrey Loria, a man who successfully talked Florida taxpayers into publicly funding a gaudy stadium that no one goes to. They underwent yet another fire sale last winter, less than a year after opening the new park. They just bid farewell to Loria's hand-picked hitting coach Tino Martinez after allegations of verbal and physical abuse, all while the offense Martinez led challenges historical marks for futility.

Stripped of most of their veterans after the blockbuster trade with Toronto last winter that earned them near-universal grief, the Marlins lost 41 of their first 54 games, the worst season-opening stretch for any team since 1987. You probably haven't given them much of a thought at all since then, and it's understandable why that might be the case.

But that means that just about no one seems to have noticed that the Marlins have the fourth-best record in the National League (29-24) since May 31, two bona fide superstars under the age of 24 and a roster that is turning over the placeholders to include young and talented prospects.

It's not easy to be a Marlins fan right now -- but as you could see watching Jose Fernandez strike out 14 batters on Friday night -- they are shaping up as a juggernaut in the not-too-distant future.


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