These are trying times for baseball fans in South Beach. The Miami Marlins are struggling in many ways. They have the longest playoff drought in the National League. Since winning their second World Series title in 2003, only once have they finished as high as second place in the NL East. They have not won 80+ games since 2010.
Yet, they do have a promising future. Giancarlo Stanton is one of the greatest sluggers in baseball today, and he is tied to the Marlins until 2027. The Marlins are building an exciting young supporting cast around him, and one of those promising players has gotten an opportunity to play 1B on a regular basis, and taken off.
I am, of course, talking about Justin Bour (Chantilly/GMU.) Bour has taken over the 1B job, and has proven to be a reliable slugger to help make up for the loss to injury of Stanton. How did he get to this point?
After 3 years of college ball at George Mason University, Bour was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 2009 draft. He put up impressive numbers in the minor leagues, getting as high as Double-A in 2013. He seemed destined for Wrigley Field before long. However, the emergence of Anthony Rizzo in the Cubs system got in the way of his ascent to Wrigley, and after the 2013 season, the Cubs left him unprotected in the minor league phase of the Rule V draft. The Marlins decided to take a chance on him and snapped him up.
He opened the 2014 season at Triple-A New Orleans. In 103 games he batted .306 with 18 HR and 72 RBIs. No more minor league seasoning needed! The Marlins called him up the majors on June 1, 2014. He would play 39 games for Miami, and bat .284 in the process, mostly coming off the bench, but got an occasional start/complete game here and there.
In 2015, he has had his first full season in the majors, getting more and more starts at 1B, and has taken the job for the Fish. In 114 games played (through September 17), Bour has hit .259 with 18 HR and 61 RBIs, and there was some talk that he might have made a case for NL all-star consideration. On July 3rd, he homered in his 4th straight game, tying a Marlins franchise record held by 8 other players.
The Miami Marlins are not doing well right now, but have a promising future ahead of them. Justin Bour appears set to be a part of that future. Not a bad rise for the former Westfield High school and George Mason Patriot standout!