MIAMI -- Giancarlo Stanton may have stolen the show with his MLB-leading 59 home runs, but the All-Star right fielder was not a solo act in what was one of the most productive offensive seasons in Marlins history.
Miami scored 778 runs, second-most in franchise history and 11th overall in the big leagues.
Although the Marlins didn't reach the postseason, they had a lineup they believe is ready to contend. The numbers support the argument, especially when you consider the Dodgers were 12th in runs scored with 770. Of the 10 teams that reached the postseason, nine finished with more runs than the Marlins.
The Rangers were the only team in the top 10 in runs that didn't make the postseason.
"Confidence in the big leagues and knowing what they can do," said assistant hitting coach Frank Menechino, who has watched the offense improve since he joined the franchise in 2014. "They actually know now that they belong. The biggest steps they made this year were preparing for the game. Game planning against the other team. What do I need to do today? Trusting what the coaches are telling them."
Because the Marlins feel, offensively, they can compete right now, they're determining which direction to go in the offseason. It's no secret they need pitching, and the front office is trying to figure out how to upgrade in that area while keeping most of the core position players.
Stanton's National League MVP Award-caliber season is a big reason for the production. But he wasn't alone. Marcell Ozuna batted .312 with 37 homers and 124 RBIs. Dee Gordon finished with a .308 average, paced MLB with 60 steals and scored 114 runs. Justin Bour added 25 homers, Christian Yelich had a .369 on-base percentage and added 100 runs and J.T. Realmuto chipped in with a .278 batting average and emerged as one of the top catchers in the league.
"After four years of being with these guys and watching them grow, we all knew the talent," Menechino said. "We all knew the expectations, and what they were capable of doing. But I think one of the things they really grew up and learned about, it takes three years in the big leagues to do this."
The Marlins scored just 513 runs in 2013, and that jumped to 645 in 2014, Menechino's first season in Miami.
The lineup showed promise in 2016, finishing fourth in the Majors in batting average (.263), but they were 27th in runs (655).
Miami was third in 2017 in batting average (.267) and backed it up by scoring runs. In club history, only the 2007 squad (790) finished with more runs.
"All these guys are learning the league -- what teams are trying to do to them," Menechino said. "Where they hit in the lineup. How they get pitched. You know what, these guys really pulled for each other this year. They played together this year. You could see it."