The Miami Marlins want a huge year from first baseman Justin Bour. In order to have that kind of impact, Bour must stay healthy.

It’s not a lot to ask, given the team has set up their main power source for big things. Bour had his best year in the majors in 2017 by hitting 25 home runs to go along with 83 RBI. Now that Giancarlo Stanton, Marcel Ozuna and Christian Yelich are all playing for other organizations, the 29-year-old is front and center of Miami’s a new-look organization. And the 6-foot-4 “giant” is being asked to take the lead.

The problem is Bour has not been able to remain healthy. Injuries have robbed him of the second half of the season the previous two years. Health is going to be a huge factor in how the Miami Marlins perform this season given that half of the everyday lineup could be comprised of new faces. The team is already dealing with injuries to JT Riddle and Martin Prado from last year. Getting 140 games from Bour could help stabilize a suspect batting order.

Bour was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 25th round of the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft. He was selected by the Miami Marlins in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft in December 2013.

Bour was called up to the majors for the first time on June 1, 2014.

On May 17, 2015, Bour broke up Shelby Miller’s no-hit bid at Marlins Park with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. On July 3, 2015 he homered in his 4th straight game, becoming the eighth Marlin in franchise history to do so. On October 5, 2015, he was named NL Rookie of the Month for September.

On July 10, 2017, Bour joined teammate Giancarlo Stanton and participated in the Home Run Derby for the first time. He hit 22 home runs, but was ousted in the first round by Aaron Judge who managed 23 home runs and went on to win the entire competition

I watched Bour on a rehab assignment in Jacksonville last year. He was bigger and stronger than anybody else on the field. He looked like a fish out of water. His imposing figure at the plate must match his swing, which could prove to make him one of the more improved players in the game this year.

Bour must also take a more active role as a leader in the clubhouse. Prada, Starlin Castro, Cameron Maybin and J.T. Realmuto will also be asked the same. It’s a rite of passage in some ways, where his “character” must evolve. Miami doesn’t have the star power of players it once had, but Bour has a chance to become one of those stars this team needs in what could be a trying season for the players and the fans.

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