After watching the Florida Marlins in living color over the past four days, I feel fairly confident when I say that they are in for some rough days over the next couple of months. There is absolutely talent on this team. Note that Dan Uggla and Hanley Ramirez are all-stars and they have a top end of the rotation starter in Scott Olsen.
From my viewpoint, this team has been kept afloat from the unlikely success of many players. Jorge Cantu, Luis Gonzalez and just about every single pitcher on their staff. The Marlins are a group of recycled veteran castoffs that have gelled incredibly well for the first two months of the 2008 season. The reason why I feel that this team is about to nose dive to fourth place is simply that they cannot expect all of these players to continue their unusual success all at the same time. Also, when you look at what internal support they have coming to them there are a couple of talented young pitchers returning from serious arm problems (Josh Johnson and Anibal Sanchez), which can always go either way, more recycled pitchers and Josh Willingham may not be returning at all this season.
The Marlins Triple-A affiliate, the Albuquerque Isotopes (don't even get me started about how bad of an idea it is for a team with such a bad fan base to have its next best talent in NEW MEXICO!!! I mean the travel costs alone should be enough to get the cheapest owner in baseball to want to play the AAA team in Dolphin Stadium when the Marlins aren't playing in front of 5,000 people -- Give them a new stadium, my ass!) have outfielder John Gall playing some great baseball, third-baseman Dallas McPherson is an instant power source, but a liability with every other facet of his game and prospect Gaby Hernandez who isn't putting up great numbers. Essentially, the well has run pretty near to dry for these reclamation projects that GM Mike Hill has brought in, particularly on the pitching end of things.
One final reason why the Marlins have been winning and will not continue to do so. They have a lot of power in Uggla, Ramirez, Mike Jacobs and even Cody Ross but nobody is on base when they hit home runs. Between all of those hitters they have 52 homers and 122 RBI's, that is 2.34 RBI's per home run. This is a statistic that nobody probably cares about, but I believe the power numbers of power hitters are another way to display deficient team on-base ability. Guess what? The Marlins team OBP is .323 and the OBP of their opponents is .338. Even at the average, that is probably 50-75 more runs in the season and 5-8 more wins. Seeing as it seems they have overcome this deficiency so far, thus I tend to bet that the scale will balance itself the remainder of the season.
The Florida Marlins have been a great surprise once again, but this time I do not expect for them to have the opportunity to win another World Series and defy logic and economics once more.