If there is one team in MLB on the cusp of breaking out in 2010, it's the Florida Marlins. The Fish come into this year with a small blessing of youth, a collection of raw power, and a potentially deadly pitching rotation; and it is this assembly that has all the makings of a future playoff run in 2010.
If there was one knock against the Marlins, it would have to be the bull pen, particularly at the closer spot.
As it stands now Leo Nunez is the team's front runner, and while Nunez didn't really impress all that much in 2009, he does have potential for some forward progress; not to mention he is excellent against right handed batters.
Dan Meyer is another possible pitcher who could fill in as a closer. He is equally good against righties, has great off speed stuff, but has no real heat which limits his effectiveness in a closer’s role.
But aside from a suspect pen this team boasts at least three hitters, who knocked in 20+ homeruns, a crop of players with above average speed, and an entire roster that can be counted on for driving in runs.
The Marlins also have some reliable pitchers to compliment their sizable bats.
Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco were the club's leading pitchers in '09, each achieving 13 or more wins. Johnson led the crew with a 15-5 record while Nolasco was a close second at 13-9.
After the gruesome twosome, the Marlins are hoping for some marginal improvement from Chris Volstad and Anibal Sanchez, who struggled at times to remain consistently effective on the mound. And of course, as most teams this year, the fifth spot in the rotation is wide open.
Power, speed, consistent hitters, quality starting rotation, potential in the pen—these are all the things we look for in a team ready to take things to the next level, these are the same qualities we take into consideration when scouting each team's Fantasy worth.
So let's take a look at the Marlins, and what they have to offer in 2010.
The Fantasy Breakdown:
Unless you've been living under a rock or lost complete connection with the fantasy realm, it is pretty clear that the Marlins offer a clear cut top draft pick in Hanley Ramirez.
Ramirez stormed onto the scene in 2009 showing excellent balance in power, reliability, and resiliency for all who owned him—three keys to look out for in a top pick.
But what is intriguing with Ramirez is the fact that he is a shortstop, and considering there is very little depth at SS, it will be interesting to see how many drafts show him going as the overall No. 1 pick over the almighty Albert Pujols.
Obviously, who you chose will be co-dependent on your own strategy, but one thing is for sure: Ramirez is a serious consideration for an overall number one.
After Ramirez, the consensus is that the rest of the Marlins' lineup isn’t worth a squirt until the middle rounds, due to a myriad of reasons:
- Dan Uggla has huge sleeper potential but is getting old and is trumped by better considerations.
- Jorge Cantu has the ability to be a power hitter but has yet to really come through.
- Cody Ross has a reliable bat, but the sea of outfielders is too expansive to waste a good pick on him early on.
- Cameron Maybin has a lot of upside but isn’t getting much faith put towards him, and it shows in his ADP ranking.
These immediate names all have their value, and it's even safe to assume they could have a better year than last year if you delve deeper into the capabilities of each player; Jorge Cantu and Dan Uggla are fine examples of this.
Cantu and Uggla are two players who will be for at least 20 homeruns and at least 100 RBI this season, but struggle with plate discipline.
Cantu is a knee-jerk type of hitter that will almost always swing at the first pitch, and with good success. He has a quality track record with getting on base and can, at times, be a fruitful fantasy player.
Uggla is a streaky hitter who can get hot and stay hot for long periods of time. Uggla should show some extra value if he does in fact bat fifth for the Marlins, making him an intriguing consideration for sleeper.
Both players have a lot of upside, and although they won’t go in the early rounds of any draft, picking these guys up on the back end of the middle rounds may wind up being a nice steal this year.
Cody Ross and Cameron Maybin are two players that are more high risk/high reward players.
Ross has a great eye for the plate, a lot of power, and hit .270/.321/.469 with 24 homeruns and 90 RBI, but struggles heavily against right handed pitchers. Still, Ross will make for a great value bench player should you go with him.
Maybin is coming off of a torn labrum surgery but is blessed with wonderful speed and the potential to be a SB producing machine. The knock on Maybin is he is a free swinger and is subject to striking out a lot. Until you know for sure Maybin will be ready to go by opening day, I would make him priority number one on your watch list only.
Catcher John Baker is also a appealing player on the Marlins but is severely hampered in his projected value due to him sharing time with Ronny Paulino. But just keep in mind that Baker hit .271/.349/.410 with 9 HR 50 RBI and 25 DBL in only 373 AB.
The Marlins also offer two pitchers that should gain some early consideration in Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco.
Josh Johnson had a monster year in 2009 going 15-5 with a 3.23 ERA, a 1.16 WHIP, alongside him throwing 191 strikes while pitching two complete games.
He can use a variety of sliders and change-ups effectively, which neutralizes the one type of hitter notorious for striking out: power hitters. He also has a cheap, but effective, low grade fast ball which is his bread and butter for getting him out of jams.
Johnson is worthy of a sixth round pick, give or take how things unwind in your own draft, if you haven’t by that time picked up a quality ace.
Ricky Nolasco is a long time value pickup, and last year he continued to prove that with his 13-9 record.
Nolasco’s ERA was a bit high at 5.06, but the kid also threw 195 Ks. Nolasco’s arsenal consists of a deceptive curveball, a multi-look change-up, and a competently strong fastball.
Nolasco does, at times, struggle with his own self which causes him to be a bit streaky. It’s this type of personal issue that keeps his ADP so low, but he is as reliable of a quality pitcher in the back end of the middle rounds as you’re gonna find.
Anibal Sanchez and Chris Volstad have huge promise this year, but struggled heavily in 2009 as the season wore on. Considering the host of other options in the pitching realm, they should be left alone until very late.
Rick Vandenhurk is another staff pitcher who is expected to make the fifth spot for the Marlins. In 2009 Vandenhurk went 3-2 with a respectable 4.30 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, and a 49/21 K/BB ratio, in only 58.2 IP.
He could be a late round consideration, but be aware, he’ll have to cut down on his walks if he is to be of any value this year.
Introducing at left field—Chris Coghlan. Last year’s NL ROY, Coughlin, hit a very impressive .321/.390/.460 with 84 runs scored, 31 doubles, 8 steals, 9 homeruns, and 47 RBI in 504 AB.
Coughlin is a true sleeper that should be on just about everybody’s radar when they enter the draft. The guy has an incredible eye for the zone, true power off the line, and can steal bases if need be.
All of these qualities make for a very well rounded player on your roster, and considering it is very difficult to find a guy who you can rely on for everyday play, runs, hits, at bats, steals, and excellent averages, it is almost a no-brainer to agree the guy has some serious worth.
In addition to all things considered, Coghlan is projected to hit lead-off which offers a lot of opportunity for Coghlan and his capabilities.
The Marlins are a solid team filled with promise of betterment in 2010 and plenty of fantasy options for any owner to explore. They offer a lot of middle ground worth with some obvious top picks, and no matter whom you go with, I am sure you will benefit from their services greatly.
Next up, we will be taking a look at the Baltimore Orioles.
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