Team Previews in a Fantasy Nutshell: Miami Marlins
Projected Starting Lineup
C J.T. Realmuto—Realmuto is sneaky good, mainly because he can hit for a respectable average and steal about a dozen bases. How many other catchers can say the same? Don’t overpay for him thinking he’s going to become a power source, but he should be incredibly consistent and worth a mid-round draft pick.
1B Justin Bour—The Marlins are taking a big risk this season by giving Bour the full-time job at 1B. We all know that he can mash RHP, but he is atrocious when it comes to hitting LHP. If Bour can figure out how to hit southpaws, he might get close to 500 at bats and with that a good chance to hit 30+ HR. If by Memorial Day he is hitting .067 vs. LHP he will become strictly a platoon player.
2B Dee Gordon—Gordon is being drafted in the third round of most expert drafts this season, but is he a 3rd round pick? With speed being at an absolute premium these days, Gordon might be worth a top 45 selection, but I do wonder if he will ever hit .300 again.
SS Adeiny Hechavarria—I would rather have Zack Cosart as my starter which tells you all you need to know about Hechavarria.
3B Martin Prado—He is the NL’s answer to Yunel Escobar. He’ll hit for a solid average, give you limited power and not much else. He is probably worth a pick in NL-only leagues, but nothing more than a reserve round pick in mixed leagues.
OF Giancarlo Stanton—Stanton will go in the second round of probably 90% of drafts based on his immense upside. We can talk about upside all we want, but I am going to pass on him in the second round, and perhaps the third as well. Does he hit for a good average? No. Does he steal bases? No. Can he hit for power? Yes, but then again most guys hit for power last year. Stanton becomes a difference maker if/when he hits 50+ HR. If he doesn’t, he’s just another guy who’s a huge health risk with upside.
OF Christian Yelich—I think I would much rather take Yelich than Stanton. Yelich hits for a higher average steals more bases, and will probably score more runs than Stanton. Moreover, he is probably going about 1-2 rounds later than Stanton at drafts. Yelich has room to grow as a power hitter, and I think that he begins to make inroads in that department this season. Look at Yelich closely in 2017-- you will be glad you did.
OF Marcell Ozuna—Barry Bonds and Don Mattingly helped Osuna regain his power stroke last year, and Osuna looked way more confident at the plate. That said, he plays in a pitcher’s park, hits low in the order, and I can’t see him building much on last year’s numbers. I think of him as an NL version of Kole Calhoun with slightly less upside. I want him as my OF4 but not so much as my OF3.
Util Ichiro Suzuki—Ichiro isn’t going to steal 40 bases anymore, but he is still a decent 4th OF for the Fish. He will hit close to .300 and will get about double digit steals primarily because he is so smart while running the bases. This future Hall of Famer has marginal value in deep NL-only leagues.
SP Adam Conley—Conley pitched pretty well in spots last season, but his 21 K/BB ratio is not going to endear him to Fantasy owners. I am going to watch Conley closely this season, mainly because I think that the Marlins bullpen is so good that all he will need to do is give the team six innings each outing. If Conley can throw six innings and about 100 pitches per start, he might be a guy you turn to on the waiver wire.
SP Wei-Yin Chen—Chen came over from the AL and completely bombed. I feel similarly about him as I do about Conley. Chen appeared to get in trouble the deeper into games that he pitched in 2016. If the team can limit him to two turns around the opposing lineup, I think he has a chance to resurrect his career and be worth stashing on your reserve squad
SP Dan Straily—Straily came over in a recent trade with the Reds and slots in perfectly as the 4th starter. Straily was once a well thought about the prospect for the A’s until Billy Beane jettisoned him out of town in 2014. Since then, he has bounced around to a few different clubs and struggled until he got to Cincinnati last year. The Marlins hope to take advantage of his maturation and see him as an important piece of their starting rotation. Straily is going a bit earlier in drafts mainly due to experts thinking that he has turned his fortunes around. I would rather go with Conley and/or Chen and watch Straily closely in spring.
SP David Phelps—Phelps did a pretty good job for the Marlins last year in the pen (at one point they wanted him to close) and even as a spot starter. I think Phelps will end up in a long relief role with the team, but I am listing him here just in case he makes the rotation. If he makes the rotation, I can see him throwing 140 IP, and having pretty good counting stats, including more than a K/per inning.
RP Brad Ziegler—The Marlins chased Ziegler all off-season and finally signed him recently to be their bullpen Effector. Ziegler can do it all long relief, setup work and close which makes him extremely valuable to a team with shoddy starting pitching. Look for Ziegler to once again be a key member of a team’s bullpen and a sneaky member of a winning Fantasy roster.
RP Kyle Barraclough—If you play in a league that uses holds as a category, take a close look at Barraclough. He should be the 7th and 8th inning man this season and will appear in a bunch of games. He also surpassed 100Ks last season, and I think he can do it again in 2017.
Closer A.J. Ramos—Don Mattingly is not a big fan of Ramos (the team tried to sign Kenley Jansen in the off-season), but Ramos is still the closer as of now. Ramos rarely walks anyone (only one batter last season) and gets the saves even though it doesn’t always look pretty. What I like most about Ramos is that he wants the job and is not afraid of it. Most guys can’t handle the pressure like Ramos.