Monday, February 11, 2008

Florida Marlins 2008 Fantasy Preview

The Florida Marlins finished the 2007 season with a 71-91 record, 20 games under .500, then shipped their two biggest guns to Detroit - matter of fact their only two guns. Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera are gone and the future has become the present for the Marlins.


This very young team is led by Hanley Ramirez who batted .332 with 29 HR and 51 SB last season. He is bar none the best player on the Marlins; however, the question going into the season is how will the lack of talent around him affect his performance? Will he be the next Alex Rodriguez circa the Texas Rangers, you know the guy on the bad team that puts up huge numbers because his team is never competing in a game. Will he amass 45 garbage time home runs? Let's take a closer look at this squad!

PROJECTED POSITIONAL STARTERS

C-Mike Rabelo & Matt Treanor will compete for the starting job. Rabelo was acquired in the Cabrera and Willis deal.
1B- Mike Jacobs
2B- Dan Uggla
SS- Hanley Ramirez
3B- Dallas Macpherson/ Jose Castillo
LF- Josh Willingham/ Luis Gonzalez
CF- Cameron Maybin
RF- Jeremy Hermida

PROJECTED STARTING PITCHERS

Scott Olsen
Sergio Mitre
Andrew Miller
Mark Hendrickson
Ricky Nolasco (for now)
PROJECTED BULLPEN

Middle Relievers - Renyel Pinto, Henry Owens, Matt Lindstrom, Logan Kensing
Setup Man - Taylor Tankersley
Closer - Kevin Gregg

HITTERS TO DRAFT

Hanley Ramirez, SS
The 2006 Rookie of the Year instantly adds a guaranteed 30/30 season to your fantasy squad. Ramirez has registered back to back 50+ steal seasons and his homerun numbers have continued to increase. Ramirez may hit closer to the 3 hole this year in a young Florida lineup so a jump in his homerun and RBI numbers is possible. However, the absence of Miguel Cabrera in the 4 hole provides a little uncertainty in regards to Ramirez's 2008 ceiling. Hanley isn't the best fielder and you will have to live with his 20+ Errors a season; however, he more than makes up for it with his production from the top-heavy SS position.

Dan Uggla, 2B

This season the second base position is very deep with talent. Uggla is a power hitting second baseman that will get you your homers, but his RBI production may be down since the Marlins may struggle offensively as a team. His average is nothing spectacular and his defense is so-so. Draft Uggla for added pop after the top 2B are off the board.

Jeremy Hermida, RF

The highly touted right fielder started to come into his own in 2007, quietly put together a nice season batting .296 with 18 HR and 63 RBI. Hermida is a solid 3rd fantasy outfielder with .300, 20 HR, 80+ RBI upside.

PITCHERS TO DRAFT

Starters

Scott Olsen
Draft this hot headed young man only after you have a solid three starters in your stable. Olsen's personal problems have affected his performance over the past two seasons. He is on a bad team, but he has good stuff. His control is questionable at times, but he has had two consecutive seasons with double digit wins.

Relievers
Kevin Gregg

He was 32/36 in save opportunities last season and was dominant at times. Unfortunately, he is on a team that will not win many games so don't expect him to have many save opportunities. He came out of nowhere last season to record 32 saves, but his high WHIP may scare away some fantasy owners.

SLEEPERS

Cameron Maybin

More likely than not, Maybin will be the starting centerfielder in Miami, come opening day. The phenom landed himself in the major leagues late last season and the talent proved to be too much for the young Maybin. His home run against Roger Clemens was probably the best thing he did all last year. If he doesn't make the team out of spring training keep an eye on his progress in the Minors. He will have his chance soon enough and is a must-add once he is ready for the big leagues. Scouts expect a lot from this young man and has the potential to be the cornerstone of fantasy franchises in the future.

Andrew Miller

This 6'6'' lefty has nothing but good things ahead of him. His wildness last season lead the Tigers to part with him in the Willis/Cabrera trade. The Marlins, as they have done in the past with young pitchers, will give him every opportunity to succeed in the major leagues this season. Miller will struggle at times, especially early, but a move to the lighter hitting NL and being a lefty with great stuff make him tough to look past. He should help fantasy teams this year.

PLAYER TO AVOID

Josh Willingham, LF

The arrivals of Luis Gonzalez and Cameron Maybin suddenly makes the Marilins outfield a bit crowded and this could hurt Willingham's production. Over the last two seasons hitting behind Cabrera, Willingham has provided solid 20+ HR season with about 80 or so RBIs, making him a good 3rd outfielder in fantasy. The weakening of the Florida lineup with Cabrera's departure and the possibility of splitting time with Gonzalez make Willingham a less enticing option in 08.

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