Florida Marlins: 2008 Season Preview
Key Acquisitions: Mark Hendrickson - SP, Andrew Miller - SP, Cameron Maybin - OF, Mike Rabelo - C, Alex Gonzalez – OF
Strengths: Florida doesn't have too much to brag about, but they can feel pretty good about their offense. In division play they averaged 5.13 runs per game, and an even more notable 5.53 runs per game at home.
The Marlins also hit right handed pitching well as they finished in the top third in almost every major offensive category when facing right handers.
The Fish have good speed in the field and on the bases. In 2007 they swiped 105 bags.
Weaknesses: Luckily for the Marlins they know how to score runs because their pitching staff certainly knows how to give them up. In 2007 they allowed a staggering 6.67 runs per game at home in division matches.
On the season they padded most team’s offensive numbers by ceding 5.50 runs per game.
Apparently the Marlins skipped the fundamentals at spring training too, because they played defense the way a real fish might. Florida had a league leading 137 errors.
The bats weren't all great either. Left-handed pitchers frustrated them and they enjoyed striking out (8.22 per game). This would explain how they drew the fewest walks in baseball (313).
Summary: The Marlins made a splash with their off-season swap with the Tigers, but most of the attention seemed to go to Detroit. What the Marlins did was impressive as well. Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin will be roster lynchpins in the near future.
However, the Marlins young pitching staff must produce quickly for them to be competitive in 2008. Their bullpen should be adequate if they can reduce the number of walks.
Finally, losing Cabrera will hurt their offensive production, but will not cripple it. They need to focus more on stopping the other team from scoring if they want to stay out of the cellar this year.
Prediction: Fifth Place in the NL East
1B: Mike Jacobs
2B: Dan Uggla
3B: Jose Castillo
SS: Hanley Ramirez
C: Mike Rabelo
LF: Josh Willingham
RF: Jeremy Hermida
CF: Cameron Maybin
Key Players & Trends
If you're looking for lefties who've frustrated the Marlins you can stop. Jamie Moyer of the Phillies is your man.
In seven meetings against the Fish, Moyer is 7-0 and Florida has averaged just 2.86 RPG. The Marlins only had more than two earned runs twice in the seven games versus the veteran pitcher.
Despite Florida's poor offensive production against Moyer, the total still went over in five of the seven games.
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