Are the Miami Marlins an actual contender?

The Miami Marlins knew exactly what they needed to do during the past two offseasons.

There was no question that they had the starting pitching to contend. The problem was that the Marlins could not hit their way out of a wet paper bag and that there were issues in the back of their bullpen. The likes of Luis Arraez, A.J. Puk, Yuli Gurriel, and Matt Barnes, amongst others, were brought in to help solve those problems.

Should we trust the Miami Marlins just yet?

Thus far, those additions are working. Puk as been a strong presence in the Marlins’ bullpen. Arraez is flirting with a .400 batting average. Gurriel has provided a solid veteran bat in the lineup. And that production has led to a strong showing in the standings as well as the Marlins currently hold one of the Wild Card spots.

Of course, it is fair to wonder how valid their record is. The Marlins have a -28 run differential, easily the worst of any team currently holding a playoff berth. Their 29-34 Pythagorean record is just one game better than the Reds. They are dead last in the NL with 254 runs scored. But the Marlins are also 16-4 in one run games, the best mark in the majors. That does make a difference.

Teams have outperformed expectations in the past. The 2021 Mariners won 90 games despite a -51 run differential (and a +90 fun differential). The Marlins knack for winning close games and impressive rotation could allow them to replicate the Mariners’ success from 2021. If the Marlins can continue to hold a Wild Card spot through this month, and towards the All Star Break, maybe it will be time to believe.

The Miami Marlins have been one of the biggest surprises in baseball this year. Maybe it is time to start believing in them.

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