2011 National League East Pitching Preview: Josh Johnson and the Florida Marlins

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2011 National League East Pitching Preview: Josh Johnson and the Florida Marlins
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

In 2010, most of the Florida starting pitchers looked like fish out of water on the mound. The Marlins’ starting pitchers were behind the league average in ERA, quality starts, and innings pitched per start.

For a team with such wellknown starters, each of whom has found success at some point in his career, the Marlins of 2011 have a good chance of improving from last season’s woes.

Josh Johnson has been fantasy gold the last two years. Despite a drop in wins in 2010, he had a 2.30 ERA, the second best in the majors,(King Felix was first with a 2.27 ERA). He was also second to Hernandez in quality start percentage,(82 percent to Felix's 88 percent).

Some of his drop in wins is on the shoulders of the Florida Marlins offense. He had six games, the most in the majors, which were considered to be “wins lost”, meaning the Marlins’ bullpen cost Johnson the game he was in line to win.

He’s a strikeout machine, averaging more than nine strikeouts per nine innings, and his fabulous home run per nine innings rate,(0.3), led the majors.  It might be difficult for Johnson to have as good a year as he did in 2010, but assuming he can stay healthy, Johnson is in line to be a top ten pitcher for 2011.

Marlin newcomer Javier Vazquez will look to rebound from his 5.00 plus ERA and 6.9 K/9 rate with the Yankees last season. Before his 2010 New York Yankees stint, Vazquez had five straight seasons of 200 plus innings and at least eight strikeouts per nine innings.

Re-entering the NL East in 2011, Vazquez will likely be the Marlins’ second or third starter. He has a career 3.74 ERA against the rest of the National League East. For a guy who has had multiple seasons of high ERAs, Vazquez can still be considered a good play because of his strikeouts.

His 2009 season with Atlanta was the best season of his career with personal bests in ERA (2.38), WHIP (1.03), K/9 IP (9.8), and BB/9 IP (1.8). I like him as a nice fantasy baseball sleeper in 2011 with the Fish.

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