The Blue Jays are set to face the Marlins four times this season with the new division structure.
With the interleague matchups set to have each corresponding division face each other, the Blue Jays will take on the NL East during this year’s regular season schedule. The NL East is a tough division that has four playoff contenders in the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, and the reigning World Series champions the Washington Nationals.
The NL East team that I haven’t mentioned, the Miami Marlins, are seen as bottom feeders allowing opposing teams to trounce on them. While the Marlins are by no means contenders, this is not a team that the Toronto Blue Jays should take for granted.
While still in their rebuilding stages, the Marlins acquired two players in the offseason to play for their major league team. Those players are Jonathan Villar and Jesus Aguilar. With the Orioles last season, Villar slashed .274/.339/.453 with career-high numbers in hits (176), home runs (24) and stolen bases (40). While Aguilar didn’t have the best year in 2019, he’s just a year removed from bashing 35 homers.
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They also signed Corey Dickerson who’s expected to man left field for the fish. Dickerson is a career .286/.328/.504 hitter and has batted .300+ in two consecutive seasons.
Two former members of the Blue Jays organization have found success in Miami and are regular players on the team. Last season, Jon Berti appeared in 73 games where he slashed .273/.348/.406 with 17 SB. While he never appeared at the major league level in a Jays uniform, Harold Ramirez was with the Jays in the minors and signed with the Marlins once he became a free agent. He appeared in 119 games last season with the Marlins and slashed .276/.312/.416.
One thing the Marlins haven’t gotten credit for is the development of their players. The likes of Miguel Rojas, Garrett Cooper, Brian Anderson and others have come up through the Marlins system and have made themselves into valuable contributors on the big league field.
Despite their solid but by no means great offence, their biggest strength on their roster may be their young rotation. It’s anchored by Sandy Alcantara who made his first All-Star appearance last year while throwing close to 200 innings with a 3.88 ERA. Caleb Smith struck out 168 batters while only giving up 128 hits. While inconsistent, Jose Urena has shown he can be a major league calibre pitcher, and Jordan Yamamoto is just getting his career started by posting an opponent average of .191 and 82 strikeouts in 15 starts.
The Jays play the Marlins in two separate series this year. The first matchup will be August 11th and 12th with the Jays at home and the first two days of September with they visit Marlins Park. By August 11th, the Marlins could have their top prospect Sixto Sanchez on their major league roster. Sanchez is ranked 22 on MLB Pipeline’s top 100 prospects and has a career ERA of 2.58 in the minors.
Another Marlins prospect who goes by the last name Sanchez could also be on the roster when the Jays and Marlins play each other. Jesus Sanchez is ranked 80 on the top 100 prospect list and has a career minor league slash line of .296/.342/.459.
In the four times that the Blue Jays play the Marlins in the 2020 season, they need to go all out and do their best to pick up those wins. While the Marlins are an easier team to face than their counterparts, no win is guaranteed and the Jays need to have a must-win mindset.