Inbox: Will Gordon return to All-Star form?

Beat reporter Joe Frisaro answers fans' questions

Inbox: Will Gordon return to All-Star form?

Do you think Dee Gordon will return to his 2015 form now with a full season?
-- @lalo_827

First, a little perspective. Gordon had a career year in 2015, winning the National League batting title with a .333 average. I'm not necessarily expecting a duplication of that season, but I do believe Gordon will bounce back and have a big year. We all know he isn't going to draw many walks or produce much power. That's understood. But I feel Gordon will be highly motivated in '17.

Last year, Gordon didn't seem himself early in the season, and of course, he served an 80-game suspension beginning at the end of April. When he returned, it took a while for him to hit his stride, and he finished with a .268 batting average and a .305 on-base percentage. He still paced the team, by a wide margin, with 30 stolen bases.

If Gordon can bat close to .300 and play strong defense, I think he has the chance to be highly impactful. The Marlins certainly will need him to make things happen at the top of the order. If he does, the entire offense should improve.

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What's your prediction as far as the starting rotation? And from the bullpen for the seventh eighth and ninth innings?
-- @dan_collado21

The competition for the Opening Day starter spot will be very interesting, because to me there is no clear front-runner. Wei-Yin Chen got the nod last year, but that was because of how the Marlins structured Jose Fernandez's innings. So Fernandez took the mound in the second game.

Is Chen the front-runner? I'm not so sure. Edinson Volquez projects to be in the mix. To me, the starter with the most talent is Adam Conley, and I wouldn't be surprised if he won the spot.

Conley's scoreless start

Manager Don Mattingly may choose to break up the two lefties. So I will guess it will be Chen, Volquez, Conley, Tom Koehler and Dan Straily.

As for the bullpen, A.J. Ramos will close. In the eighth inning, I'll predict Brad Ziegler, and Kyle Barraclough will anchor the seventh inning.

Do you think the Marlins will make the postseason?
-- @domenicogr

So much needs to go right for this to happen, but that's also true for many other clubs. Obviously, Giancarlo Stanton must stay healthy and produce at an All-Star level.

Statcast: Stanton's 448-ft homer

The positives for the team are a strong everyday lineup, terrific defense and a very talented and deep bullpen.

The top concern is how the rotation will hold up, and can the Marlins reach the next level without a true ace? Beyond the starting eight positon players and the bench, is there enough depth to overcome major injuries?

Although thin, the farm system can make an impact with some of the arms the organization has, like Jacob Esch and Jarlin Garcia. Are there any other starting-pitching prospects to watch?
-- @all_right_Miami

The organization is very high on left-hander Dillon Peters, its 10th-round Draft pick in 2014. A former standout at the University of Texas, Peters has a chance to be part of the rotation sometime around midseason.

According to MLBPipeline.com, Peters is the Marlins' No. 11 prospect. The lefty combined to go 14-6 with a 2.38 ERA in 24 starts last year, with an 11-6 mark and a 2.46 ERA at Double-A Jacksonville.

Look for Peters to open the season with either Jacksonville or Triple-A New Orleans. 

If the Marlins get off to a slow start to the season, how quickly do you see them beginning to trade players?
-- @Flamarlins93

Without question, this is a big season for this core. After Fernandez's death, management could have decided that his loss was too much to overcome and started parting with core players in the offseason. The decision was made not to go in that direction, and the Marlins took on the challenge of retooling the rotation, knowing there weren't many realistic trade options or free-agent candidates out there.

The club didn't want to trade from the core, and there were a limited number of prospects other teams coveted. That's the reality the club faced.

Now, with Spring Training only a few weeks away and the roster pretty much set, the Marlins are going with this group, and they will give them every chance to succeed.

Also, remember the 2017 All-Star Game is at Marlins Park. The expectation is that the team will be in contention and several of the players will be participating in the Midsummer Classic. If it doesn't work out, changes could be made. In that regard, the Marlins aren't much different than any other club.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.