The Miami Marlins have changed a lot more than just their name. The revamped Marlins have added a slew of big-name players to debut in their new ballpark this spring. One of those players is ACE closer Heath Bell.
Bell spent the last three years closing for the Padres and doing it in absolutely dominating fashion. While his WHIP wasn't the lowest amongst top closers, his 132/144 in save chances and 216 strikeouts over that three-year span were some of the best numbers posted for any closer.
Of course, he produced those numbers in the safe confines of PETCO Park in San Diego where balls and hitters go to die.
Bell is moving to Miami where the new park is still considered a pitcher's park with a whopping 422 feet to centerfield. Both the lines are around 10 feet bigger as well in the Marlins' new stadium, so Bell will continue to have the protection he requires for his hanging curveball and above average fastball.
Leo Nunez (Juan Oviedo) is still clearing his immigration status and is not on the Marlins' roster. Assuming he does not return to the Marlins, Bell's setup man would be Edward Mujica, who had a great season in 2011 posting a 2.96 ERA and striking out 63 in 76 innings.
With the roster and pitching staff the Marlins have, expect Bell to have plenty more chances to close out games than he did with the Padres. Bell will turn 35 near the end of the season, so age is not on his side.
If he loses any steam off his fastball or is unable to throw his curveball, he will turn into Trevor Hoffman in his latter years.
2012 Fantasy Draft Analysis:
Bell is likely to be drafted very high in most drafts. I would not draft him because of how high he will go and the uncertain level at which he will play in his new park. If he is available in the eighth or even ninth round, you can take a chance on him.
I simply wouldn't. There are plenty of younger and effect closers you can get for a better value in the draft.
By Todd Farino, www.thecloserreport.com