The Marlins actually went out and got some players this offseason. Sure, they were all flawed players in various ways, but each fit a specific need. Welcome to Miami, Rafael Furcal, Garrett Jones, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Casey McGehee. I hope you enjoy your stay.
Some moves were head scratchers like the straight swap with the Chicago Cubs of Justin Ruggiano for Brian Bogusevic. Those two are the exact same player, so you wonder if the Marlins saved $19 on the deal or something. Or did the Cubs throw in an AMC gift card. IDK, it was weird.
But all in all, the Miami Marlins should be 3-4 games better in 2014.
So the penny pinching Marlins can take that “analysis” to the bank and deposit it for imaginary money on which they can start to write imaginary checks. The people at the bank will ask Jeff Loria to leave, of course, because nobody wants that sketchball filling out deposit slips in the lobby.
Let’s move on a take a peek at what a seriously cost-controlled lineup looks like.
Projected 2014 Marlins Offense
|1. Rafael Furcal||2B||36||S||271||36||5||29||5||.279|
|2. Christian Yelich||LF||22||L||527||74||20||50||18||.276|
|3. Giancarlo Stanton||RF||24||R||512||79||35||83||5||.264|
|4. Garrett Jones||1B||32||L||456||55||16||64||2||.248|
|5. Jarrod Saltalamacchia||C||28||S||408||59||16||54||2||.242|
|6. Casey McGehee||3B||31||R||438||47||13||50||0||.249|
|7. Marcell Ozuna||CF||23||R||279||36||7||33||5||.245|
|8. Adeiny Hechavarna||SS||24||R||515||42||5||53||11||.251|
Apologies to Salty, who has some value in 2 catcher leagues, but there are really only two hitters who will return any significant fantasy value in 2014.
It’s a really thin lineup with little protection for Stanton and a toy box full of mismatched parts at the bottom of the order. They won’t score many runs as a team and look for manager Mike Redmond to shift around the young players in the order, desperately looking for something that clicks. We’ll talk more about Giancarlo, Yelich and the lineup shifts in a moment.
For now, let’s look at their pitching.
Projected 2014 Marlins Pitching
Henderson Alvarez got a no hitter on the last day of the season, largely due to the fact that he pitches with sweet, sweet finesse. But there are pitchers on the Minnesota Twins who strike out more guys than he does, severely limiting his fantasy value.
Nathan Eovaldi is the opposite type pitcher as he throws 97! mph fourseam fastball. Unfortunately, that speed doesn’t necessarily result in swing and miss or ofer much command, but Eovaldi has a chance to turn into a decent fantasy pitcher. But not in 2014.
Cishek may actually come in undervalued, not because he is a lights-out reliever, but more because fantasy owners are conditioned not to draft closers on bad teams. Keep in mind that closers on even the worst teams get 30 saves. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and again.
But the crown jewel of the Miami Marlins pitching staff is Jose Fernandez and he’s the type of pitcher that can anchor your fantasy staff. The one knock against him is that he’s unlikely to pitch much more than 180 innings, but don’t let 30 odd innings turn you away from him. There wasn’t a single red flag that popped up during his incredible rookie season and he simply got stronger as the season wore on.
The down side about a season for the ages is that there is nowhere to go but down, but even with natural progression his numbers will be fantastic. We did a full profile on Fernandez here, including a heartwarming story about his grammy.
Fantasy Star: Jose Fernandez, Giancarlo Stanton
We talked about Fernandez above, so let’s shift to the Marlins star that stands in the batting box: Giancarlo Stanton. And when I say stand, I mean tower. Giancarlo is 6’6″, 240 pounds of pure chiseled granite and scouts have assigned him true 80 power on the Grading on the Curve” href=”http://fantasybaseballcrackerjacks.com/2013/02/15/grading-on-the-curve/”>20-80 scale.
Unfortunately, he has two things working against him. First, he hits in a dreadful lineup, which limits his upside. Second, he’s had a difficult time staying on the field. Still, it’s hard to impinge him slipping past the 3rd round in any fantasy draft.
Can he ever hit 50 home runs? Click here to find out.
Fantasy Bust: None
It’s pretty difficult to bust when you have absolutely zero expectations placed upon you. The 4 Marlins who are most likely to be drafted – Stanton, Yelich, Fernandez, and Cishek – have pretty realistic floors, barring serious injury.
Use caution when drafting anyone else on the Marlins however.
Prospect Watch: None
This is surprising considering all the young talent in Miami’s minor leagues. But the problem isn’t the talent; the problem is how Miami utilizes it.
Fantasy owners would be much better off taking a run-of-the-mill veteran with guaranteed and regular playing time, rather than speculating on which Marlins rookie will get called up unexpectedly, then sent back down just as unexpectedly.
Sometimes a head scratcher works, like Jose Fernandez, who was thrust into the rotation at age 20 with pretty much zero minor league experience. But more often than not, they don’t. Donavan Solano, Jake Marisnick, Marcell Ozuna, and another half dozen pitchers were called into action too early, only to struggle badly and be sent back down.
Dynasty leagues are playing a whole different ballgame, but fantasy owners in redraft leagues should be wary of the way Miami jockeys around their rookies. Heck, I’m pretty sure they called up a couple 10th graders last season, just to give them a little look at second and third.
Fantasy Sleepers: Christian Yelich
Yelich is a very, very good hitter. In fact, scouts routinely graded his hit tool a 70 on the 20-80 scale.
Yelich had one of the purest swings in the minors before his call up last season. He has good pitch-recognition skills, and his bat-to-ball ability is on par with the best, so he should be able to hit for a high average. He has well above average bat speed, and as he continues to mature his doubles will start to turn into home runs and he could be a true middle-of-the-lineup threat.
In short, Yelich is a very, very good hitter. But he’s a young hitter and chances are that he won’t yet put it all together in 2014. But I am saying there’s a chance.
This team is a mess, but it’s not devoid of fantasy talent. Stanton has perhaps the most pure power in the game, Fernandez is an absolute phenomenon and Yelich could have a long career of multiple .300 seasons.
The rest of the team are largely pretty bad bets and your fantasy roster should be filled up with players from other teams.
More on the Marlins:
Projections provided in partnership with Tanner Bell of Smart Fantasy Baseball.