The 2003 Florida Marlins
2002 Record – 79-83, 4th in NL East
2003 Record – 91-71, NL Wild Card
What changed? The Marlins were active in the 2002 offseason. Many Rangers fans remember the day when Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez agreed to a deal to leave the Rangers and join the Marlins. They also signed Todd Hollandsworth and traded for Juan Pierre.
How did they get there? Once again, the Marlins beat the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS. This time, it took them four games. From there, they went on to defeat the Cubs in seven games in the NLCS before shocking the Yankees in six games in the World Series. Josh Beckett won the World Series MVP after only allowing two runs in 16 innings of work.
What could they have in common with the Texas Rangers? The Marlins received significant contributions from top prospects during their 2003 run. Miguel Cabrera made his Major League debut on June 20th, hitting a walk-off home run in his first career game. He finished fifth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting. His teammate, Dontrelle Willis, ultimately took home the award. Willis made his first career start on May 9th and finished the season with a 14-6 record and a 3.30 ERA.
The Rangers’ farm system is currently loaded, and there’s a chance that multiple top prospects could have a significant impact on the 2023 team. We already saw Josh Jung make his major league debut last September. Jack Leiter, Owen White, and Justin Foscue are also be knocking on the door.