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Mystery Marlins: Miami Weekend Series Preview

At the age of 30 and 3300 minor league at bats, Justin Ruggiano has exploded on the National League with a vengeance -   Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE
At the age of 30 and 3300 minor league at bats, Justin Ruggiano has exploded on the National League with a vengeance - Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

It is August 10th, and this will be the first time we get a look at the revamped Miami Marlins team. They made some big splashes this winter bringing in top SS FA Jose Reyes, top pitching free agent Mark Buehrle, top closer FA Heath Bell, and one-time World Championship manager Ozzie Guillen. They also added a dinger machine to the new stadium,and with great expectations started the 2012 season.

The starting lineup looked like it could unseat the Phillies

1st - Gaby Sanchez

2nd - Omar Infante

SS- - Jose Reyes

3rd - Hanley Ramirez

LF - Logan Morrison

CF - Emilio Bonifacio

RF - Giancarlo Stanton

With a rotation of Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Anibal Sanchez, Zambrano, and Ricky Nolasco they looked ready and by all account they were. The team peaked on June 3rd, with a 31- 23 record and tied for 1st place. From there they went 3 - 17 and kissed the season good-bye.

Only one thing went right for the Marlins. They were indeed better then the Phillies. The bad news was the fact the Phillies were a last place team.

Gaby Sanchez - Now a Pirate after an awful 1st half

Omar Infante - Now a Tiger

Hanley Ramirez - Now a Dodger

Logan Morrison - quickly becoming the next Nick Johnson

Emilio Bonifacio - now a second baseman

The only constants have been Stanton and Reyes.

So what will we see this weekend?

1st base is now manned by Carlos Lee who is hitting alot of singles for the Marlins. He comes into this game courting a 14 game hitting streak (21 / 50) but with only three doubles out of those 21 hits. Carlos Lee is a Marlin because it was not that long ago the Marlins thought they were competing for a postseason berth.

2nd baseman Emilio Bonifacio is hurt again so the likes of Nick Green, Donavan Solano, or Donnie Murphy will be manning 2nd base.

SS - Jose Reyes

3rd Base - Same three as second base along with Greg Dobbs

C - John Buck, Brett Hayes

LF - 10 different players have taken at least an inning in left field for the Marlins. I'm going to guess that Bryan Peterson will be seen most of the time this weekend. Austin Kearns might get some play as well as Scott Cousins. It would be like watching the Dodger left field group before Shane showed up.

CF - The biggest surprise in baseball just might be the continued success of one Justin Ruggiano. Ruggiano spent a bazillion years in the Tampa Bay system after being part of a trade from the Dodgers in 2006. He got about three callups and around 200 major league appearances in six years. They cut him loose and the Marlins signed him for minor league depth. On May 27th he got his first National League at bat and has not looked back. He's 30 years old. Never say never

Boom - how about a wRC+ of 182, higher then any center fielder in the NL not named Matt Kemp.

RF - Giancarlo Stanton - continues to be one of the best power hitting kids in history

Player               HR From   To   Age   PA   OPS
Mel Ott             115 1926 1931 17-22 2644  .975
Eddie Mathews       112 1952 1954 20-22 1874  .944
Alex Rodriguez      106 1994 1998 18-22 2271  .906
Tony Conigliaro     104 1964 1967 19-22 2046  .849
Frank Robinson       98 1956 1958 20-22 1967  .899
Bob Horner           91 1978 1980 20-22 1369  .864
Ted Williams         91 1939 1941 20-22 1942 1.114
Ken Griffey          87 1989 1992 19-22 2422  .860
Johnny Bench         87 1967 1970 19-22 1963  .823
Jimmie Foxx          86 1925 1930 17-22 1976 1.033
Mickey Mantle        84 1951 1954 19-22 2201  .896
Al Kaline            82 1953 1957 18-22 2575  .846
Andruw Jones         80 1996 1999 19-22 1890  .811
Boog Powell          79 1961 1964 19-22 1508  .833
Miguel Cabrera       78 2003 2005 20-22 1716  .889
Giancarlo Stanton    77 2010 2012 20-22 1327  .887
Orlando Cepeda       76 1958 1960 20-22 1906  .858
Juan Gonzalez        75 1989 1992 19-22 1390  .802
Joe DiMaggio         75 1936 1937 21-22 1361 1.006

Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/10/2012.

I'm counting eight current HOF and three probable HOF above him. Leaving only the Kid, Boog, Andruw, and Bob Horner as players who have hit more home runs at his age who did not go on to be some of the greatest home run hitters in history.

The bench is so full of no names you'd expect to find Elian Herrera, Luis Cruz, and Scott Van Slyke here.

We miss Josh Johnson and Nathan Eovaldi but we get Buehrle, Nolasco, and Wade LeBlanc. A decent trio for a team in such disarray.