1. The elevation of Hanley Ramirez into a superstar
-Scary as this might sound for the rest of the National League, but Hanley Ramirez continues to get better and better. And this year, he will be more dangerous than ever. All indications point to Hanley hitting in the #3 hole, which would give him tons of RBI opportunities and a great chance to eclipse the 100 RBI mark for the first time in his young career. Look for Ramirez to put up monster numbers at the dish as he establishes himself as one of the top 5-10 players in the game.
2. The maturation of Cameron Maybin
-On the last day of the 2008 season, the Marlins inserted Cameron Maybin into the leadoff spot against the New York Mets. The Mets were fighting for their playoff lives and needed all the help they could get on that fateful day. Unfortunately, the Mets got no such help from Maybin. He killed us. Maybin went 2-4 with a double, stolen base, and a run scored; all of which helped eliminate the Mets from playoff contention. Maybin possesses a unique blend of speed, quick wrists, and power, which will make him quite the threat atop the Marlins lineup.
3. Can Cantu do it again?
-Jorge Cantu was one of the biggest surprises in baseball last season when he hit 29 homers with 95 RBI and a .277 batting average. Prior to the 2008 season, Cantu had not had a good season in the bigs since 2005. The steady Cantu was a consistent force in the Marlins lineup, even with his low on base percentage (.327). Will Cantu be able to produce in 2009? If he puts up big numbers again, the Fish will have a dynamite lineup.
4. Chris Volstad
-Yet another Met killer. The big right hander beat the Mets on game 160 last season, dominating them from the start. What an impressive guy. Did I mention that he had a 2.88 ERA in bigs last season through 14 starts (15 games)? How impressive is that? This guy has all the makings of a stud and I, for one, cannot wait to see what he can do.
5. Will Scott Proctor's Arm fall off?
-Probably not. Joe Torre is in LA...thankfully..for his sake.