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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

2010 Florida Marlins team preview

2009 Record: 87-75   .537

Run Differential: +6

Widely considered to be one of the worst teams in baseball entering the season, Florida gave everyone a great big #@$ burger to eat. No, they didn't make the playoffs but they were very close.  Hanley Ramirez continued to add to his legend by winning the batting title, rookie Chris Coughlan surprised everyone by winning Rookie of the Year award, and Josh Johnson proved he is one of the league's best pitchers.  Realistically this team should not have had post season aspirations but Fredi Gonzalez some how skippered this team to exceeding all projections. I say somehow because any team that bats a guy like Bonifacion leadoff should be punished (ask Dusty Baker how his Willy Taveras/Corey Patterson experiments have fared).  Perhaps the real surprise here is how a team with such a low payroll can continue to exceed these expectations. 

With little roster turnover what should the expectations be for this squad in 2010?
The expectations should be that Florida will continue to be better than they appear at face value but with a putrid payroll won't be serious threats to compete.  The rotation has talent but is also fragile.  Anibal Sanchez, Josh Johnson, and Ricky Nolasco are a top three most teams envy.  Hanley Ramirez is the foundation but there's no other superstar talent on the offensive side to help share the load.  Top prospect Michael Stanton is extremely talented but the jury's still out on what his realistic performance will be once he reaches the majors.  There is a new ballpark on the horizon and with it comes the hope that attendance--and therefore payroll--will increase allowing the team to attract free agents.  Right now the team relies solely upon their minor league system and trades involving developed players to field a roster.  Unfortunately as long as  Jeffrey Loria is the team's owner, firesales will occur semi-annually. The team may be on the cusp of contention but it won't matter. Contending isn't on the agenda. Slashing payroll is.
Hanley's so good the franchise should consider changing their 
mascot to him. It's not like they'll lose any fans over it.

Likely Opening Day Roster:
My Two Cents
John Baker
Does a 20% caught stealing percentage offset his hitting abilities? Florida chooses option C: cheap
Ronny Paulino
Career .333/.392/.485 line vs. Lefties
Gaby Sanchez
Not a high ceiling player.  If he hits .270 with medium power the team will be thrilled.
Dan Uggla
Became first 2b man in MLB history with three straight 30 HR seasons. Don't overrate him
Jose Cantu
Has moved all around the infield without finding a position. Still managed to hit 30 HR last year
Hanley Ramirez
Saying he's the best player in baseball is not a stretch. Maybe this is the year is unarguable?
Chris Coghlan
Last year's NL Rookie of the Year is really a 2bman. Expect similar numbers to '09
Cameron Maybin
This time he won't be sent back down to AAA if he struggles. Make or break?
Cody Ross
Underrated player who has decent pop, good speed, but not a good CFer
Wes Helms
Lefty masher is insurance in case Sanchez struggles.
Emilio Bonifacio
That this guy got so many at bats as the leadoff hitter should not be an endorsement for the mgr.
Brett Carroll
Good defender who can't hit. Short career ahead.
Jai Miller
A best case scenario would be Corey Patterson. Yup.
Josh Johnson
The team is likely worried about his injury risk after the huge jump in IP but they'll stay quiet
Ricky Nolasco
If he wasn't in Florida he'd be a bigger name right now. Likely will be elsewhere in 2011
Anibal Sanchez
 If this kid could stay healthy he'd be a star
Chris Volstad
Which is for real 2008 or '09?  I think neither and 2010 will be somewhere in between.
Nate Robertson
Just acquired in a trade with Detroit. See my Tigers preview.
Leo Nunez
The Marlins improved two ways with this trade: Nunez bolsters pen & Jacobs to KC helps offense
Dan  Meyer
56 K in 58 IP shows there's still something to this lefty who was part of the Tim Hudson trade
Runyel Pinto
Walked 45 in 61 innings. That's impressive. More impressive was a 3.23 ERA despite it
Taylor Tankersly
Wild, wild, wild. But throws harder than hard. If he's only wild, wild he'll make the team.
Brian Sanches
Throws strikes but he's been around since 1999 and hasn't stuck yet.
Burk Badenhop
Was the no name included in the Willis deal and right now has had the highest payoff
Cristhian Martinez
The bullpen isn't good. He'll stick but for how long?

Say Hello To: Mike Lamb, Danny Richar, Clay Hensley

Wave Goodbye: Jeremy Hermida, Ross Gload, Matt Lindstrom, Nick Johnson, Alfredo Amezaga, Kiko Calero, Brendan Donnelly

Rookies: Gaby Sanchez - Will get on base. Won't hit for much power. If he can be a Lyle Overbay type player the Marlins will have found something here.

Potential Breakout: Ricky Nolasco - Not really a breakout but I think he'll be more consistent than last season. That would put him among the league's elite.

Welcome to Earth:  Dan Uggla - His defense has been slipping--not that it was ever good--and so has his batting average.  The only thing that's remained consistent is his power.  I think this will be his worst year yet.

Likely to Rebound: Anibal Sanchez - I just got a feeling. That's the only reason.

Top 3 players: Hanley Ramirez, Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco

Top Prospect: Michael Stanton - How many minor leaguers can you guarantee will have A++ power when they reach the majors?  Just one and this is the guy.  He still strikes out a ton but plays a decent outfield and the power is real.  I'd say if you combine Adam Dunn and Tony Batista you'd get Stanton (Dunn's power, Batista's lack of plate discipline, both of their K rates).

Prediction: 80-84  3rd place N.L. East
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