MLB Team News & Rumors: Miami

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Miami Marlins

Our expert from,Shawn Childs, helps you prepare for your big fantasy baseball draft.

Miami Marlins Team Projection

The Marlins have been on a negative progression over the last 4 seasons due to a declining offense. Last year, Miami only scored 513 runs (3.2 runs per game), which ranked last in baseball by a wide margin. Not surprisingly, they only hit 95 HR's (last in the majors). This reminds me of 1998 when I bet someone that Ken Griffey and Mark McGuire would hit more HR's than the Minnesota Twins (They did 126-115). Furthermore, the Marlins hit a major league low .231 as a team. Their pitching staff had their best season since 1994, finishing 7th in the NL in ERA (3.71) while allowing the 3rd lowest amount of HR's. Miami's starters still have work to do as they walked the 2nd most batters (526) in the National League, which led to the 4th lowest amount of K's (1177). In the offseason, they didn't lose much talent to free agency - 2B Placido Polanco, OF Juan Pierre, and P Chad Qualls. The Marlins signed SS Rafael Furcal, 1B Garrett Jones, C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and 3B Casey McGehee. Their big offseason trade was acquiring P Carter Capps for OF Logan Morrison. Overall, the front end of the starting staff has talent and upside. Their bullpen also has some live arms with big fastballs, but their offense is below major league average. I expect them to score more runs with more power. Overall, they should be competitive when their top 3 starters are on the mound, but the best they could possibly hope for is 75 wins.

1. OF Christian Yelich

Christian Yelich fantasy baseball

Last year, Yelich started the year on the minor league DL at AA with a heel injury. In June, he developed a minor abdomen injury that led to another DL stint. Christian had enough success at AA (.280 with 7 HR's, 29 RBI, and 5 SB's in 193 at bats) that he was able to get a call up to the majors in July. Yelich finished with a nice average (.288) with the Marlins, but his K rate (24.2%) was higher than his minor league mark (20.5%). He did do a good job taking walks (11.4 %). Christian hit the ball well against righties (.362 with 3 HR's and 11 RBI in 149 at bats), but he has no value against lefties (.165 with a .231 SLG %). Yelich was an extreme GB hitter (63.2%) during his first half season in the majors with one of the weakest FB rates (13.8%), but he did have a high HR/FB rate (16.7%) when he did get some loft on the ball. In the minors, his GB rate was over 50% and he hit .269 against LH pitching. Overall, Yelich hit .313 during his minor league career with 36 HR's, 163 RBI, and 58 SB's in 1135 at bats. He has shown double digit power in the minors, but his swing path with Miami suggests he was more concerned with just getting on base. While his AVH (1.377) was real short in the majors, his skill set is built to be the Marlins lead off hitter in 2014. He has 40+ SB upside with double digit power and projects to be a .300+ hitter down the road. However, his K rate says it won't happen in 2014. Let's set the bar at .275 with 100+ runs, a dozen HR's, 60 RBI, and 40 SB's.

2. SS Rafael Furcal

Rafael Furcal fantasy baseball

Furcal missed all of 2013 after developing an elbow injury in early March that required Tommy John surgery. He is expected to be ready for the start of spring training and the Marlins manager Mike Redmond stated that Furcal would bat leadoff this season. However, I don't agree. His skill set has been on the decline over the past 3 seasons and he has had a weak OB % in all 3 seasons (.298, .316, and .325) due to a low batting average. Furcal really hasn't been fantasy relevant since 2006. His GB rate (54.1%) was a career high in 2012, which led to his lowest FB rate (27.2%) since 2002 season. He also had the second lowest HR/FB rate (4.4%) of his career. While he continues to have a low K rate (10.7%), he is about the major league average in walks (8.3%). Furcal is a no upside player with declining power and questionable speed. He is capable of short-term success, but his end results will be less than the major league average.

3. OF Giancarlo Stanton

Giancarlo Stanton fantasy baseball

Stanton had a down year due to multiple injuries. He suffered a minor shoulder injury in mid April, a bad hamstring injury in late April, and a minor ankle injury in early September. His K rate (27.8%) has been high during his entire major league career, while his walk rate (14.7%) made a move into an elite area (he was only intentionally walked 5 times in 2013). Giancarlo was a better hitter against LH pitching (.278 with .593 SLG %). Last year, he only hit over .250 in one month (June - .296). Stanton is one of the best pure power hitters in the game, but has struggled to stay healthy over the last 2 seasons. The Marlins don't have a great supporting cast around him, but it should be better in 2014. He has 50 HR upside with downside risk in batting average. His price point tends to be high, which hurts a fantasy owner in a couple of categories unless he has a massive breakout season. I expect him to have his best season in the majors with 40+ HR's and he will approach 100 RBI helped by Yelich hitting in front of him.

4. 1B Garrett Jones

Garrett Jones fantasy baseball

Jones won't bring a lot of protection behind Stanton in the lineup, but he is at least a major league bat with 20 HR power. Last year, his K rate (23.0%) was a career high, while his walk rate (7.1%) fell short of his career average (8.3%). Garrett only had 21 at bats last season against LH pitching (2 hits with 12 K's - 52.2% K rate). Over the last 3 seasons, Jones is only hitting .160 against lefties with 4 HR's and 19 RBI in 163 at bats. It's safe to say he has no value against left hand pitching. After having success last April (.312 with 3 HR's and 15 RBI), he faded over the last 5 months of the year (.215 with 12 HR's and 36 RBI). It looked like his rhythm at the plate was off, which led to a career high infield FB rate (14.5%). Garrett is a career .254 hitter in the majors with a declining skill set. He has 15-20 HR power against righties with negative value against LH pitching. Due to that, I expect him to play 2/3 of the time. This gives him a chance at about 18 HR's with 70 RBI in some batting average risk depending on his exposure to LH pitching.

5. OF Marcell Ozuna

Marcell Ozuna fantasy baseball

Ozuna played surprisingly well with the Marlins after his early season call up from AA. He hit .331 over his first 36 games, but he only had 1 HR in his first 152 at bats with 17 RBI. Additionally, Marcell only hit .195 over his last 133 at bats with 2 HR's and 15 RBI. Ozuna was very good against lefties (.318). His K rate (19.5%) was just above the major league average, while his walk rate (4.5%) was very short. He struggles to make contact with sliders (.207) and curveballs (.133). In 2013, pitchers only threw him 49.5% fastballs. Marcell is a career .274 hitter in the minors with 85 HR's, 326 RBI, and 42 SB's in 1784 at bats. Last year, his season was cut short in late July due to a thumb injury that required surgery. Ozuna has some talent, but he only has 42 at bats above A ball in the minors. He had short term success with Miami, but pitchers were able to expand the strike zone against him which led to less contact. The Marlins don't have great options in the outfield, so Marcell may end up earning a job out of spring training. Upside player with 20 HR power if he can lay off breaking pitches off the plate. His skill set suggests he needs more time in the minors, but Miami may be forced to play him as he is the best option they have on the roster.

6. C Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Jarrod Saltalamacchia fantasy baseball

Saltalamacchia signed a 3-year, $21 million contract with the Marlins in early December. Last year, his power declined, but he may have been unlucky as he did hit a career high 40 doubles. His K rate (29.6%) improved slightly, but it is way too high. However, his walk rate (9.2%) did have some growth. Jarrod is a much better hitter left handed (.294 with 12 HR's and 49 RBI). He is only hitting .206 against lefty pitching in his career. He handled changeups (.289), sliders, (.283), and cutters (.462) well batting from the left side of the plate, but his skill set against those same three pitches batting righty is worthless (CU - .125, SL - .067, and CT - .167). The change to the NL will hurt his upside in power and it may expose him to more batting average risk. Salty has 15-20 HR power. This year, he may have the most at bats of his career, which will lead to downside risk in batting average. His high K rate hurts his chance of moving up in the batting order.

7. 3B Casey McGehee

Casey McGehee fantasy baseball

McGehee struggled in 2011 and 2012 after his breakout season in 2010 with the Brewers (.285 with 23 HR's and 104 RBI). His lack of success led to him being banished to Japan for the 2013 season. Casey played well overseas, which led to him getting a shot in 2014 with the Marlins. His walk rate (11.8%) in Japan was higher than his major league resume (7.7%). However, his K rate (20.2%) regressed in 2013. McGehee doesn't have a great major league resume and maybe his 2010 season was well above his skill set. His approach appears to be more stable than Jones, Saltalamacchia, and Ozuna, so he may have a chance to bat in a favorable part of the batting order over the short term. During his career, his lack of success looks the same against both RH (.258) and LH (.254) pitching. Possible neutral batting average with 15 HR's and 75 RBI with 500 at bats.

8. 2B Derek Dietrich

Derek Dietrich fantasy baseball

Just like Ozuna, Dietrich made the jump from AA to the majors in 2013. He showed upside in power (9 HR's), but he had a weak approach at the plate (24.0% K rate and 4.7% walk rate). Derek had reasonable success against lefties (.259 with 4 HR's in 54 at bats), but he only had 1 walk with a 28.6% K rate. Dietrich also had a tough time with RH pitching (.199) , which is a surprise because he bats left handed. He hit .277 during his minor league career with 50 HR's, 214 RBI, and 14 SB's in 1382 at bats. His K rate in the minors was 22.1% with a short walk rate (7.1%). His upside in power gives him the edge over Hechavarria in 2014, but he could very well start the year at AAA. Dietrich has 20 HR power with batting average risk and no speed.

9. SS Adeiny Hechavarria

Adeiny Hechavarria fantasy baseball

There was a whole lot of nothing in Hechavarria's stat line in 2013. He has one of the weakest R % (20%) in the game with a short batting average (.227) and short AVH (1.317). His K rate (16.6%) was improved in his short at bats in 2012, but his walk rate (5.2%) barely has a pulse. Adeiny hit poorly against both RH (.224) and LH (.234) pitching. Hechavarria was a career .273 hitter in the minors with 18 HR's and 42 SB's in 1436 at bats. At best, he has a 5 HR/15 SB skill set with batting average risk. Furcal isn't 50% of the player he once was, but he may still have more value than Mr. Hech. Adeiny has downside risk in playing time as I believe Derek Dietrich will have more value in the Marlins lineup. Hechavarria has no value in 2014.

10. C Rob Brantly

He just didn't get it done in 2013 for the Marlins, which led to Miami bringing in Salty. Brantly is a left handed bat, which hurts his chances of getting playing in the majors in 2014. Last year, he only hit .211 with 1 HR and 18 RBI with the Marlins. Low value player that will probably start the year at AAA.

11. C Jeff Mathis

He will provide right handed power off the bench at catcher. Jeff may see some at bats behind the plate against LH pitching. His K rate (29.7%) has been top shelf in his major league career, but he is probably not strong enough to push Salty to the bench more than once a week.

12. MI Donovan Solano

Miami gave him solid at bats in 2013, but he couldn't make a step up to the next level. Solano will be the back up middle infielder this season.

13. CI Greg Dobbs

He is a ten year major league vet with no upside for regular at bats. He is a career .263 hitter with 46 HR's and 272 RBI in 2056 at bats, and will be the backup corner infielder for the Marlins this season.

14. OF Brian Bogusevic

He is expected to be the Marlins 4th outfielder in 2014. Last year, he hit .273 with 6 HR's and 16 RBI's in 143 at bats with the Cubs.

15. OF Jake Marisnick

He is Miami's #3 prospect. Jake is a career .280 hitter in the minors with 38 HR's, 199 RBI, and 95 SB's in 1480 at bats. He will compete with Marcell Ozuna for the centerfield job.


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