Tagged: Florida Marlins

2010 Florida Marlins Preview

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2009 Record: 87-75, 2nd NL East

2009 Prediction: 81-81, 4th NL East

2010 Prediction: 3rd NL East

 

Impact Player: Hanley Ramirez

Impact Pitcher: Josh Johnson

Top Prospect Player:
OF Mike Stanton

Top Prospect Pitcher:
LHP Chad James

 

Manager: Fredi Gonzalez, 4th Season
(242-243, .499)

 

Significant
Acquisitions
: RHP Jose Veras,
RHP Seth McClung

Significant Losses: OF Jeremy Hermida, 1B/OF Ross
Gload
, 1B Nick Johnson, UTIL Alfredo Amezaga, RHP Kiko Calero, RHP Matt Lindstrom, RHP Logan
Kensing

 

The Florida Marlins always do so much for so little.  In spite of a major turnover every few years,
the Marlins always seem to be in the thick of things come September and 2009
was no exception.  The Marlins ended up
winning 87 games and finishing 2nd in the NL East and were in the
Wildcard race until the very last few days of the season.  This team has the best scouting in the
universe and now they might be able to back it up with some cash.  Rumour has it that the Fish are much better
off financially than they have been in years and that this time, they might be
able to keep their core of young players for the foreseeable future.  Imagine what this team could do with a
payroll.

 

Pitching

josh-johnson-jc-425.jpg

Josh Johnson has
established himself as a true ace.  Last
season, he went 15-5 with a 3.23 ERA and was an All-Star for the first time in
his career.  Johnson is still only 26 and
it seems likely that a run at 20 wins is in his future.  Ricky
Nolasco
is the number two starter after he hit a bit of a bump in the road
in 2009.  After 15 wins and a 3.52 ERA in
2008, his ERA jumped to 5.06 in ’09.  He
still had a solid 13-9 record and should bounce back in 2010 because, as many
scouts have pointed out, his 4.43 K/BB ratio was among the best in the league
last year, and pitchers who do that are rarely 5.00+ ERA pitchers.  Johnson and Nolasco have the talent to be one
of the best one-two punches in the league. 
Oft-injured Anibal Sanchez
looks to bounce back after a rough 2009 that saw him start only 16 games.  His record was only 4-8 but he did have a
solid 3.87 ERA.  If healthy, he’s a very
good number 3 starter.  Sean West is penciled in as the number
4 starter.  The lefty went 8-6 in 103.1
innings in his rookie year.  The fifth
starter will probably be Chris Volstad
who has dazzled at times and frustrated at others.  Last season he finished with a disappointing
9-13, 5.21-line.  He’ll need to be better
in 2010 to keep a spot in the rotation. 
There are no shortage of pitchers who could end up starting if Sanchez
gets hurt or West and Volstad struggle.  Burke Badenhop, Cristhian Martinez, Ryan
Tucker
, Hayden Penn, Rick VandenHurk, and Andrew Miller are all on the cusp of
becoming solid major league starters and will likely see time in 2010.  Some of them may end up in the bullpen.

 

Leo Nunez has
been a solid setup man for a couple years with the Royals and last year with
the Fish, but now he will get his chance to close after Florida dealt Matt Lindstrom to the Astros.  The stuff is there, but the question with
Nunez is the mental toughness.  If he
struggles, former starting prospect and lefty setup man Dan Meyer could fill in.  Brian Sanches was phenomenal last year
posting a 2.56 ERA and will join Meyer in setup.  Renyel
Pinto
joins Meyer as the only lefties in the ‘pen and has the potential to
dominate lefthanded hitters, while Jose
Veras
was acquired in December after splitting time with Cleveland and the
Yankees last year.  He struggled, but has
the stuff to be a solid middle-relief option. 
Two of the up-and-coming starters will likely fill out the ‘pen with Burke Badenhop having the inside track
at the long-relief job after having success in that role last season.

 

ROTATION

Age

B/T

Josh Johnson

26

L/R

Ricky Nolasco

27

R/R

Anibal Sanchez

26

R/R

Sean West

23/4

L/L

Chris Volstad

23

R/R

 

 

 

BULLPEN

 

 

Leo Nunez (CL)

26/7

R/R

Dan Meyer

28/9

R/L

Brian Sanches

31/2

R/R

Renyel Pinto

27/8

L/L

Jose Veras*

29

R/R

Cristhian Martinez

28

R/R

Burke Badenhop

27

R/R

 

 

 

POSSIBILITIES

 

 

Ryan Tucker

23

R/R

Hayden Penn

25

R/R

Rick VandenHurk

24/5

R/R

Andrew Miller

24/5

L/L

Taylor Tankersley

27

L/L

Tim Wood

27

R/R

Clay Hensley

30/1

R/R

Derrick Turnbow*

32

R/R

Seth McClung*

29

L/R

*=newly acquired

 

 

Lineup

hanley-ramirez.jpg

The Marlins young lineup finished 5th in the NL
in runs scored and 3rd in batting average and return almost the
exact same lineup for 2010.  Chris Coghlan will start in leftfield
and is the reigning NL Rookie of the Year. 
Coghlan went on an unprecedented run for rookies last season and hopes
to continue that success into this year. 
He finished his outstanding rookie season with a .321/.390/.460 line
with 9 homeruns and 47 RBI.  He wasn’t
terrific defensively, but might end up going back to his natural position of
second base if Dan Uggla is dealt.  The Marlins have been waiting a few years for
centerfielder Cameron Maybin to
develop into the star he has the potential to be.  He’ll be given the job again this year and at
23, could finally keep it.  Cody Ross is fresh from winning his
arbitration case with the Marlins and should start the year in rightfield.  Ross is a solid player who plays fantastic
defense in right.  He hit 24 homeruns and
drove in 90 last year, but could be dealt if top prospect Mike Stanton appears ready to make the jump at any point.

 

Shortstop Hanley
Ramirez
is one of the best all-around players in the game.  He’s coming off a year where he finished
second to Albert Pujols in MVP
voting with 24 homeruns, 106 RBI, and 27 stolen bases.  He also won his first batting title hitting
.342, and had a surreal .953 OPS.  The
scary part is that Ramirez was considered to have had a down year in terms of
power and speed.  Most believe that he is
one of the few in the league that is a true 40/40 threat.  Third baseman Jorge Cantu is one of the most underrated run producers in the
game.  Last year, Cantu his .289 with 100
RBI while playing both third and first base (something he may have to do again
this year).  Uggla was rumoured to be
traded all offseason, but as of now is still in Florida and very happy about
that.  He may still be dealt at some point,
especially if the Marlins are out of contention.  Last season he hit 31 HR and had 90 RBI, but
hit only .243 and was awful defensively at second.  First base will be a Spring battle between
once-highly-touted Gaby Sanchez and
now-highly-touted Logan Morrison.  Sanchez probably has the inside track because
Morrison has never played above AA and will likely get some time in AAA for at
least part of the season.  There’s little
question, however, that it’s Morrison’s job very soon.  John Baker
and Ronny Paulino make a very solid
offensive catcher platoon, but both could be better defensively.  They combined in 2009 for a .272 average with
17 HR and 77 RBI.

 

On the bench is veteran Wes
Helms
who is the oldest player on the team at just 33.  He’s a solid fill-in at both first and third
and may get a lot of playing time at first if Sanchez struggles and Morrison
isn’t ready yet.  Emilio Bonifacio can absolutely fly and that is why he’ll get his
fair share of playing time.  He can also
play at second, short, third, and left and centerfield.  Outfielders Brett Carroll and Jai Miller
will also get shots at making the team and there are a number of players who
could get a look in the Spring.

 

 

Pos.

 

Age

B/T

LF

Chris Coghlan (2B)

24/5

L/R

CF

Cameron Maybin

23

R/R

SS

Hanley Ramirez

26

R/R

3B

Jorge Cantu (1B)

28

R/R

2B

Dan Uggla

30

R/R

RF

Cody Ross

29

R/L

C

John Baker

29

L/R

1B

Gaby Sanchez

26

R/R

 

 

 

 

 

BENCH

 

 

C

Ronny Paulino

29

R/R

UTIL

Emilio Bonifacio (2B, SS, 3B, LF, CF)

25

S/R

OF

Brett Carroll (LF, RF)

27

R/R

INF

Wes Helms (1B, 3B)

33/4

R/R

OF

Jai Miller (CF, LF, RF)

25

R/R

 

 

 

 

 

POSSIBILITIES

 

 

1B

Logan Morrison

22/3

L/L

C

Brett Hayes

26

R/R

INF

Donnie Murphy*(2B, SS)

27

R/R

INF

Brian Barden*(3B, SS, 2B)

29

R/R

INF

Danny Richar*(2B, SS, 3B)

26/7

L/R

*=newly acquired

 

The Marlins always find a way to contend and his year should
be no different.  If the stars align and
all of their young hurlers have huge years, they could challenge for a wildcard
or even the division.  The amazing thing
about this team is that even if they do deal some of their better players such
as Uggla or Ross, they have many young prospects that could fill the void and
still be just as effective.  Look for the
Marlins to be in the thick of things again in 2010.

Final Prediction:
85-77, 3rd NL East

The Next Carl Pavano?

aj-burnett-yankees.jpg5 years and $82 million.  That’s a lot of money to pay anyone in this league.  That kind of cash is normally reserved for the elite pitchers in the game; the ones who’ve done it year after year; the ones with, at the very least, some Cy Young mention, if not a few of the trophies in their multi-million-dollar mansions.

5 years and $82 million was paid to former Toronto Blue Jay A.J. Burnett.

When the Jays signed Burnett a few years ago to (at that time) an astronomical contract of 5AJ Burnett.jpg years and $55 million with an opt-out clause after three years, I wasn’t offended.  He seemed to be a pitcher who was on the rise; one who might have already won a Cy Young or two if only he’d been healthy, and what better place to get healthy than in Toronto, right?

Before the 2008 season, A.J. Burnett had a career record of 69-66 and had never won more than 12 games in a season.

In 2008, A.J. started off terribly, and was so bad that at one point around mid-season, he got booed off the field by the Toronto fans.  And trust me, we Toronto fans hopelessly cheer on the Maple Leafs…we don’t boo them, we don’t boo unless you REALLY deserve it.  A.J. famously tipped his hat to the crowd during that boofest, showing the surly, spoiled, cocky jackass that he can be at times.  Yes, A.J. went on a tear down the stretch to finish with an 18-10 record, but his ERA was the highest its ever been for a burnett.jpgfull,non-injury-riddled season and is it any coincidence that he stayed healthy and actually started pitching well when it came time for him to opt-out of his current contract and cash in somewhere else?  Methinks not.  The only times he’s pitched 200 innings other than last year?  2002, when he was eligable for arbitration at year’s end with the Marlins, and 2005, the year before he cashed in withw_burnett_195.jpg the Jays.

It’s not that I don’t like A.J.  He’s a good pitcher.  He’s got some of the best stuff I’ve ever seen and when he wants to be, he’s basically the best in the business.  Unfortunately, he has some attitude issues and only seems to try about half the time.  And a warning to Yankees fans: He’ll get injured…a lot.  Now that he has his contract those little elbow twinges, shoulder tightnesses, back-aches, blisters, foot problems…they might suddenly not be something he can pitch through…trust me, we’ve seen it up here.

The further downside for the Yankees is that in his contract year (2013), he’ll be 36 and most likely unable to pitch another “typical A.J. contract year.”

Add on top of that the fact that he’s now pitching for the Yankees.  Not exactly a picnic for even the most well-adjusted people.  If he tips his hat to a booing New York crowd, he’ll be run out of town.  New Yorkers don’t put up with cocky, belligerent baseball players, and their patience with A.J. will probably run out quickly.

While people were screaming for the Jays to try and resign Burnett, I was screaming to let him go.  Thankfully, A.J. didn’t want Toronto any more than I wanted him.

Carl Pavano the sequel?  Don’t be at all surprised. 

’09 Preview — Florida Marlins

Marlins.gif2008 Record: 84-77, 3rd, NL East
2009 Prediction: 4th NL East

Impact Player: Hanley Ramirez
Impact Pitcher: Ricky Nolasco
Top Prospect: Cameron Maybin, OF

Significant Acquisitions: P Leo Nunez, P Dan Meyer, P Scott Proctor, INF Emilio Bonifacio
Significant Losses: 1B Mike Jacobs, OF Josh Willingham, OF Luis Gonzalez, OF Jacque Jones, C Paul LoDuca, P Scott Olsen, P Mark Hendrickson, P Kevin Gregg, P Joe Nelson, P Doug Waechter, P Justin Miller, P Arthur Rhodes

The Florida Marlins are the Minnesota Twins of the NL, except with world championship rings and (curiously) a whole lot less fan support.  The Marlins will once again be an unappreciated surprise as sports’ best scouting department will have their wears on display and nobody will be watching.  Come on, South Florida, pay attention!!  Their pitching is young and very, very good; players like Hanley Ramirez, Jeremy Hermida, and Dan Uggla are quickly becoming perrennial successes, yet the financial situation would tell you that they won’t be together for long.  As soon as those players get to the point where they’ll be demanding a pay-raise, they’ll move on to greener pastures.  The Marlins may, however, take a small step back this year (as young teams often do after a successful season) but they will still be fun to watch and they might just challenge the powers-that-be in the NL East.

Pitching
The Marlins have one of the youngest pitching staffs in baseball, but they are also stacked with some of the most highly-touted young arms in the business.  They will be erratic at times, but they will be brilliant at others.  Ricky Nolasco was the standout starter last year, emerging as a true ace going 15-8 with a 3.52 ERA in 212.1 innings.  After him, Josh Johnson is expected to be slotted into the #2 hole.  Johnson struggled with injuries in ’08 but was outstanding when healthy going 7-1 with a 3.61 ERA.  22-year-old Chris Volstad is another pitcher in the long-line of special talents developed in the Marlins’ system.  In half of a season, Volstad went 6-4 with a sparkling 2.88 ERA.  Anibal Sanchez has top-of-the-rotation stuff but was injured most of last year and ineffective when he did pitch; if he’s healthy this year he could be a Cy Young contender.  The fifth spot will likely go to lefthander Andrew Miller who has yet to find himself at the major-league level.  If he is still below-par, offseason waiver pickup Dan Meyer could step in and some other young arms (Burke Badenhop, Jesus Delgado, and Ryan Tucker) aren’t far off.

The Marlins’ ‘pen is much like their rotation.  They have some excellent talent, but it is still very raw and that could be both good and bad in ’09.  Matt Lindstrom, at 29, is the second oldest pitcher in the organization and is expected to break camp as the closer; he had a 3.14 ERA in 57.1 innings a year ago.  The Marlins traded First Baseman Mike Jacobs to the Royals in order to get a true set-up man in Leo Nunez.  Nunez, who’s only 25, posted a 2.98 ERA bridging the gap to Joakim Soria in Kansas City last season.  If Lindstrom struggles closing out games, Nunez could step in.  Righthanders Logan Kensing, Badenhop and offseason signing Scott Proctor (the only pitcher on staff older than 30) will join lefties Reynel Pinto and Taylor Tankersley in rounding out the ‘pen.  Tankersley was awful last year after basically being handed the closer’s job at the beginning of the ’07 season (and then losing it to Kevin Gregg).  Meyer could also be in the mix if he’s not starting.

Rotation (Handedness/Age on June 30, 2009)

  • Ricky Nolasco (R/26)
  • Josh Johnson (R/25)
  • Chris Volstad (R/22)
  • Anibal Sanchez (R/25)
  • Andrew Miller (L/24)

Bullpen

  • Matt Lindstrom (R/29)
  • Leo Nunez (R/25)
  • Logan Kensing (R/26)
  • Renyel Pinto (L/26)
  • Scott Proctor (R/32)
  • Burke Badenhop (R/26)
  • Dan Meyer (L/27)


Lineup
The Marlins smash home runs.  They were 2nd in the NL in ’08 in long balls and 5th in runs scored.  However, they were 11th in batting average and 1st in strike outs.  I guess that’s what you get with a young team.  If the Marlins can stay disciplined at the plate, they might turn into a great offensive team, especially in the offensively-challenged National League.  In the outfield, Cameron Maybin may finally be ready to stick in the majors.  Numerous setbacks have held things up for him, but he’s still only 22 and one of the biggest pieces from the Cabrera/Willis deal from a couple off-seasons ago.  He should, barring another setback, start in Center.  In Left, Jeremy Hermida is emerging (slowly) as a true power threat; if he can stay consistent and cut down on strike outs, he could easily be a valuable cleanup hitter.  In Rightfield, Cody Ross emerged as a solid option last season, drilling 22 home runs.  He can also play Center fairly effectively if Maybin struggles.  At Shortstop, the Marlins have a future MVP in Hanley Ramirez.  Ramirez is a true 5-tool player.  He hit .301 with 33 HR, 67 RBI and 35 SB in ’08.  Like Hermida, if he can cut down on his strikeouts, there is nothing stopping him.  He’s expected to move down in the lineup which will help out his RBI totals.  The rest of the infield consists of Jorge Cantu (3B), Dan Uggla (2B), and young Gaby Sanchez (1B).  All three have plus power, but struggle defensively.  The potential defensive woes of this infield is what could hold them back from being a true contender.  Catching duties will belong to either John Baker or Mike Rabelo.

One thing most young teams lack is a deep bench; that is not the case here.  Besides the extra catcher, utility-man Alfredo Amezaga is back and can play 4 or 5 different positions and almost always finds his way into the late part of games for his defensive ability.  Brett Carroll should be the fourth outfielder providing he’s not starting in Right, veteran corner infielder Wes Helms returns and is the oldest player on the team at age 33, and young, switch-hitting infielder Emilio Bonifacio could round out the bench if he has a good spring.

Lineup (Handedness/Age on June 30, 2009)

  • CF  Cameron Maybin (R/22)
  • RF  Cody Ross (R/28)
  • SS  Hanley Ramirez (R/25)
  • 3B  Jorge Cantu (R/27)
  • LF  Jeremy Hermida (L/25)
  • 2B  Dan Uggla (R/29)
  • C    John Baker (L/28)
  • 1B  Gaby Sanchez (R/25)

Bench

  • C    Mike Rabelo (S/29)
  • UTIL Alfredo Amezaga (S/31)
  • OF  Brett Carroll (R/26)
  • 3B/1B Wes Helms (R/33)
  • INF Emilio Bonifacio (S/24)


Outlook
It seems like every year this team surprises you with their talent.  You just never know when the Marlins will up and win a World Series…they’ve done it twice without anyone really realizing it.  Chances are that won’t happen this year…or will it?  Final Prediction:  81-81, 4th NL East