StrategyFebruary 23, 2009

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30 Teams in 30 Days: Florida Marlins

By Kazuya Kurokawa

Today in “30 Teams in 30 Days,” we will be looking at the Florida Marlins. Last year, the Marlins had a minuscule payroll of 22 million dollars, which was less than what A-Rod made! This offseason the Marlins were able to cut more of their payroll as they traded many of their arbitration-eligible players, such as Mike Jacobs (now with the Royals), Kevin Gregg (now with the Cubs), and Josh Willingham and Scott Olsen (both now with the Nationals). With their continuous fire sale, we are bound to see more of their young prospects with the big league team.

For a closer look at the Florida Marlins and the rest of the NL East, be sure to check out The Can of Corn NL East Preview Podcast.

Offensive Starters

C John Baker.299.392.447325320197 
1B Gaby Sanchez.314.404.51370179217478in AAA
2B Dan Uggla.260.360.5149732925531 
SS Hanley Ramirez.301.400.540125336735589 
3B Jorge Cantu.277.327.4819229956628 
LF Cody Ross.260.316.4885922736461 
CF Cameron Maybin.277.375.45673134921390in AA
RF Jeremy Hermida.249.323.4067417616502 

Unsettled: Dallas McPherson. McPherson had an amazing season last year in the minors and he is bound to make the 25-man roster. The question is: “Will he be starting?” During spring training, McPherson will most likely battle Gaby Sanchez for a starting job. If McPherson wins the job, the Marlins can move Cantu over to 1B and play McPherson at 3B. If McPherson wins the starting job, pick him up in NL-only leagues and deep mixed leagues. He won’t hit for average but can provide great power and is a potential source for RBIs.

Target: Cameron Maybin. Maybin was one of the top prospects for the Tigers when he was traded to the Marlins in the Miguel Cabrera deal. Some people thought that he would jump straight to the majors, but the Marlins decided to give him one more year in the minors and now look like they are ready to give him a starting job in the majors. Maybin is one of those rare players with both great power and speed. He will likely be leading off to start the season and if he stays there for the whole year, he could put up some great numbers hitting in front of Uggla and Ramirez. If everything goes well, you might be looking at the next Grady Sizemore.

The Rotation

Ricky Nolasco (R)15-83.521.1018642212.1
Josh Johnson (R)7-13.611.35772787.1
Chris Volstad (R)6-42.881.33523684.1
Anibal Sanchez (R)2-55.571.57502751.2
Andrew Miller (L)6-105.871.648956107.1

Unsettled: Andrew Miller. Miller is still bothered by the right knee injury he had last season and is going through shockwave treatment. If Miller is unable to pitch at the beginning of the season, pitchers like Dan Meyer and Rick Vanden Hurk may have a chance to make the starting rotation; however, the Marlins will probably sign one or two more veteran starting pitchers to minor-league deals and bring them to camp.

Target: Josh Johnson. Johnson, who had Tommy John surgery in 2007, came back on July 2008 and showed the league that he didn’t lose his stuff as he went 7-1 and struck out 77 batters in 87 innings. If he can finally put together a full season, he can provide a better-than-average ERA while striking out 150+ batters.

The 8th and 9th Innings

Matt Lindstrom (R)53.141.45432657.1 
Leo Nunez (R)02.981.24261548.1w/KC

Chasing Saves: With the departure of Kevin Gregg, the Marlins will give the ball to Matt Lindstrom in the ninth inning for save opportunities. Lindstrom should make a solid closer as he strikes out a decent amount of guys and doesn’t give up home runs (in fact, he has only given up three home runs in 124.1 IP). If he struggles in the closer role, then Leo Nunez should be next in line. Nunez should be picked up in leagues with holds; if Nunez establishes himself as the eighth inning guy in manager Fredi Gonzalez’s bullpen, he should get plenty of holds.

Final Thoughts

Although you won’t be able to catch many of their games on national television, it will be another exciting year for the Marlins as they call up more and more of their young talents to the big league. As a fantasy baseball player, it is essential to keep an eye on those young players the Marlins call up as these are players can help win you championships. If you do your homework, you may be able to grab the next Miguel Cabrera, Dontrelle Willis, or Hanley Ramirez.

Yesterday, we previewed the Atlanta Braves. Check back tomorrow for a look at the New York Mets in the next installment of “30 Teams in 30 Days!”

Kazuya Kurokawa is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Kazuya in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of Another Blown Save.
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