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February 12, 2014

Fantasy Team Preview

Miami Marlins

by Paul Sporer

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There isn’t a lot of fantasy value on this team, sure to be a bottom feeder again, but what they do have could be very high-impact.

Projected Lineup

1. 2B Rafael Furcal
2. LF Christian Yelich
3. RF Giancarlo Stanton
4. 1B Garrett Jones
5. C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
6. CF Marcell Ozuna
7. 3B Casey McGehee
8. SS Adeiny Hechavarria
9. Pitcher

Stanton is obviously the prime attraction and his upside alone is still worthy of second-round consideration. You certainly aren’t getting him if you wait until the third. It’s not hard to imagine a 50-homer season, but obviously he needs to stay healthy. Both Yelich and Ozuna bring intrigue, though they both have platoon issues. Of course, that puts Yelich ahead, since he handles righties while struggling against southpaws.

I have to ding Salty with the stadium change. Six of his homers were of the “just enough” variety by Hit Tracker Online, and now he’s going to a home park with 65 (LHB) and 75 (RHB) home-run park factors. The switch-hitter hit 12 of his 14 homers as a lefty last season. He had a .372 BABIP driving his .273 AVG and he’s a career .246 hitter otherwise. Losing just a couple of homers and regressing his AVG back down to the .240ish level saps a lot of his value.

Jones can have some NL-only value if the Marlins platoon him like the Pirates did. Furcal and McGehee haven’t played in the majors since 2012 and haven’t been effective in the majors since 2010.

Projected Bench

Baker is a great platoon partner for Jones, with a 1.073 OPS against southpaws last year and .875 for his career.

Projected Rotation

Fernandez could add a run to his ERA and still be a superstar. You can make a case for him as high as third overall among starters. He has just one year of track record, but nothing about the season suggested it was a fluke on any level.

Eovaldi is a personal favorite, but the secondary stuff needs to jump forward for him to become an all-formats play. Turner is a blue-chip prospect who has shown glimpses each of the last two seasons. Right now, he has ground-ball ability and a spacious ballpark, but there is plenty of growth potential in the 23-year-old righty.

I don’t get the fascination with Alvarez, and Koehler should be behind at least one of Brian Flynn and Brad Hand, if not both, for that fifth starter role.

Projected Bullpen

Don’t sleep on Cishek. Everyone worries about saves on the crummy teams, but if the pitcher is good enough, he’s going to get enough opportunities to notch 30-plus. Cishek is good, and thus his 34 last year shouldn’t surprise anyone. The one thing is that at 28, they have no real need for him, and another hot season could put him on the block, which might jeopardize his job as a closer depending on his destination.

Ramos would likely be the frontrunner to get the job in the absence of Cishek, but Capps is a nice darkhorse. He’s way better than last year’s 5.49 ERA.


Position Battle

Fifth Starter: Koehler vs. Brian Flynn vs. Brad Hand
Why waste innings on a fifth starter ceiling like Koehler when Flynn and Hand have the upside for more? Flynn has a legitimate path to a fringe-three upside, especially in that ballpark, and while Hand may “only” be a fourth starter at fruition, it’s still better than a true fifth starter like Koehler (who honestly might even be more of a sixth starter. Sorry, Tom… your faucets* are great.)

(Shhh, I know it’s Kohler and not Koehler)

Player to Target: Giancarlo Stanton
It’s chalk, but that’s basically all they have. I would say Eovaldi because I do love him, but I can’t confidently say he’s an all-formats play just yet. I would certainly keep an eye on him in 10- and 12-team mixed leagues because he could jump up this year, but for now, he’s an NL-only or deep mixed league option. Stanton, meanwhile, is at a three-year low with his value which is still a second-round price tag, but it’s mid-to-late second after a late-first/early-second round cost the last season. As I mentioned above, 50-homer upside doesn’t take a series of logistical leaps to imagine. Health is the obvious missing piece. It’s a big piece with him as he’s played just 123 and 116 games the last two seasons, but I always prefer to bet on health when the skill is in place.

Player to Avoid: Jarrod Saltalamacchia
He’s currently tracking ahead of Yan Gomes, Miguel Montero, and Russell Martin which I just can’t see. Hell, I can’t imagine taking him ahead of Travis d’Arnaud, Devin Mesoraco, and Josmil Pinto and the first two haven’t proven anything just yet and the third might be ticketed for Triple-A to start the season, but I still think they are better values than Salty in that ballpark.

Deep Sleeper: Andrew Heaney
Okay, so he’s not a deep sleeper in terms of being unknown, but he was just drafted in 2012, and I think he could be an impact player in 2014. He reached Double-A last year and threw very well in the Arizona Fall League. The Marlins aren’t shy about promotions for guys who are ready, and he doesn’t have a ton to work on in the minors this season.

Paul Sporer is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Paul's other articles. You can contact Paul by clicking here

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