Spring training is well underway, so what better time to start running through our annual team-by-team previews? We're running these in reverse order of 2015 finish, and now the Miami Marlins are up.

Previous: COL | MIL | OAK | PHI | CIN | ATL 

The Marlins are one of baseball's most unpredictable franchises. They have an impressive core of young talent and they make flashy moves, but owner Jeffrey Loria seems to make decisions on a whim. They had seven different managers from 2010-15, and they haven't reached the postseason since 2003 -- only the Mariners (2001) have a longer postseason drought.

This past offseason, Loria not only brought in Don Mattingly to call the shots as manager, he also hired Barry Bonds to be his hitting coach. This is Bonds' first full-time job in baseball since retiring as a player. If nothing else, the Marlins now have two big name -- and instantly respected -- men in the dugout. Leadership has been lacking in recent years, starting at the top with Loria. Let's preview the 2016 Marlins.

The lineup

As always, the lineup is subject to change throughout the season as players emerge and decline. Here is our best guess as Miami's starting nine. Err, eight:

1. 2B Dee Gordon
2. LF Christian Yelich
3. RF Giancarlo Stanton
4. 1B Justin Bour
5. 3B Martin Prado
6. CF Marcell Ozuna
7. C J.T. Realmuto
8. SS Adeiny Hechavarria

The Marlins have two of the very best players in baseball at their position in Gordon and Stanton. Gordon missed time with a thumb injury last season and still led baseball in hits (205) and stolen bases (58). He's hit .311/.342/.398 (108 OPS+) in over 1,300 plate appearances the last two years, leaving no doubt he's one of the top leadoff hitters in the game.

Stanton is, quite simply, the best pure power bat in the game today. A wrist injury sabotaged his 2015 season, yet he still managed to crush 27 home runs in only 74 games, finishing 10th in the NL in homers. His 64 home runs over the last two years are 10th most in all of baseball. Each of the nine guys ahead of him have at least 210 more plate appearances.

The question with Stanton remains his ability to play a full season. Last year it was a broken bone in his wrist. In 2013 a hamstring injury limited him to only 116 games. In 2013, knee surgery sidelined him for a month. Stanton has played in only 458 of 648 possible games over the last four years. When he's healthy, he's one of the most devastating offensive forces in the game. Keeping Stanton on the field is imperative if the Marlins want to contend.

Yelich and Ozuna are two immensely talented young players who the club is surely banking on reaching the next level with Bonds mentoring them. (Ozuna spent most of the winter on the trade block.) Yelich in particular stands out as a breakout candidate given his plate discipline and pure hitting ability. If Bonds can get him to hit the ball in the air a little more often, particularly to his pull side, he could become very dangerous very quickly.

Prado is Prado, a reliable bat-to-ball veteran. Hechavarria is taking little steps forward each season. Bour, a former minor-league Rule 5 Draft pick, hit 23 home runs in 129 games last season. He figures to platoon with Chris Johnson at first base. The Marlins also have the versatile and surprisingly productive Derek Dietrich (120 OPS+ in 2015) on the bench. Jeff Mathis will back up Realmuto and one of Cole Gillespie, Tommy Medica, or Justin Maxwell figures to claim the final bench spot.

Of course, the headliner among the team's reserve players is future Hall of Famer Ichiro Suzuki, who enters the 2016 season only 65 hits away from 3,000. Ichiro is no longer the hitter he once was -- he hit .229 last season and has hit .268 since 2011 -- and he's going to need substantial playing time to get those 65 hits. If he hits .250 in 2016, it'll take 260 at-bats to get to 3,000 hits. Barring injury to one of the starters, it might be tough to get that much playing time.

FanGraphs projects the Marlins to score 4.10 runs per game this year, sixth fewest in baseball, but it's important to note the walls at spacious Marlins Park were both brought in and lowered this offseason. That will inevitably help the team's offensive numbers. Stanton can hit the ball out of any part of any park. Guys like Yelich, Ozuna, Realmuto, and Hechavarria are the ones who could really benefits from the new dimensions.

The rotation

The Marlins have plenty of options for the back of their rotation, so the fifth spot is far from settled right now. Here is the team's projected starting rotation at the moment.

1. RHP Jose Fernandez
2. LHP Wei-Yin Chen
3. RHP Jarred Cosart
4. RHP Tom Koehler
5. RHP Edwin Jackson

Fernandez is a true ace and on the very short list of the best (and most exciting pitchers) in baseball. He returned from Tommy John last season and had a 2.92 ERA (133 ERA+) in 64 2/3 innings -- he also had a 2.24 FIP, so the sabermetric measures loved him too -- and he will be on some sort of innings limit this year. It's only smart given his age (23) and recent surgery.

Chen inked a five-year contract worth $80 million over the winter and should see his numbers improve nicely with the move from hitter-friendly Camden Yards to Marlins Park. (Not to mention the AL to NL transition.) He was steady and reliable during his four years with the Orioles and will make a nice No. 2 behind Fernandez. Koehler was decent last year (95 OPS+) while Cosart dealt with injuries. Cosart has some nice upside though.

The fifth spot is a competition between Jackson, righties David Phelps and Jose Urena, and lefties Justin Nicolino, Brad Hand, and Adam Conley. The team has said they prefer to use Jackson as a starter, but he had a 5.58 ERA (69 ERA+) as a starter from 2013-14 before moving into the bullpen full-time in 2015. If Jackson wins a spot in the Opening Day rotation but gets hammered early in the regular season, the Marlins could swap him out for someone else in short order.

The bullpen

The Marlins have already been dealt a significant blow this spring: RHP Carter Capps recently visited Dr. James Andrews regarding his injured elbow, and Tommy John surgery may be next.

Capps was unreal last season -- he had a 1.16 ERA (338 ERA+) with 58 strikeouts in 31 innings -- and was in the mix to be the team's closer this year. Hopefully he gets good news Monday. If not, the Marlins bullpen figures to look something like this come Opening Day:

Closer: RHP A.J. Ramos
Setup: LHP Mike Dunn, RHP Kyle Barraclough
Middle: RHP Bryan Morris, RHP Brian Ellington
Long: RHP David Phelps, LHP Brad Hand

Ramos went 32-for-38 in save chances last season and very quietly has a 2.62 ERA (147 ERA+) in 223 2/3 big league innings over the last four years. Barraclough, pronounced "bear claw," had a 2.59 ERA (152 ERA+) with 30 strikeouts in 24 1/3 innings after coming over from the Cardinals in the Steve Cishek trade.

Should Capps manage to avoid the knife, Ellington is most in danger of losing his roster spot since Dunn, Morris, Phelps, and Hand have been stalwarts the last few seasons. Among those competing with Ellington for an Opening Day bullpen spot are Urena, Conley, Kendry Flores, Scott McGough, Raudel Lazo, Dylan Axelrod, Paul Clemens, Dustin McGowan, and Chris Narveson.

Without Capps, the Marlins are much less formidable in the late innings even though the foursome of Ramos, Dunn, Barraclough, and Morris is no pushover.

The outlook

The NL features several clear contending teams and several clear rebuilding teams. The Marlins are kind of in the middle. Their young core is extremely impressive -- I'll happily start a team with Fernandez, Stanton, Yelich, and Gordon any day of the week -- and they have several other solid contributors, like Chen and Prado.

That said, there are just enough "ifs" to keep the Marlins from being an unquestioned contender. If Stanton stays healthy. If Cosart's results match his stuff. If the bullpen can survive the loss of Capps. If Mattingly can resort order in the clubhouse. If Bonds can help Yelich and Ozuna get to the next level. If, if, if. Lots of ifs.

Our SportsLine projects peg the Marlins for a 73-89 record in 2016, which would represent a two win improvement from 2015. I do love Miami's young talent and think there's plenty of upside on their roster. It's probably going to take 90-plus wins to secure a Wild Card spot in the NL this year though, and expecting the Marlins to take that much of a step forward is a real stretch.

Up Next: The San Diego Padres.

Giancarlo Stanton (l.) and new hitting coach Barry Bonds are the faces of the Marlins.
Giancarlo Stanton (l.) and new hitting coach Barry Bonds are the faces of the Marlins. (USATSI)