Monday, March 17, 2008

Florida Marlins Preview

Since Porque is a waste of space and decided that he's too good to do previews, the real writers at GBD are gonna pick up his large amount of slack and finish off his work for him. I'm gonna start with the Florida Marlins and we'll move on from there.

2007 Record: 71-91 Last in the NL East

The Marlins looked like they were starting to build a legit contender down the road...and then like other years they had another fire sale and gave up their best hitter and pitcher. I feel bad for this franchise. They have 2 World Series Championships in just over 10 years and yet they have no fan support and management that refuses to spend money. It seems like every year they play better than people think they're going to, and at the end of every year, the cream of the crop talent gets traded away. I normally don't wish this on teams, but for the Marlins sake, it'd be nice to see them sold to someone who's willing to spend Mark Cuban. He can move the team to Dallas or Oklahoma City and revitalize the franchise. Alright, I'll get off the soapbox now.

Key Additions
Cameron Maybin OF
Andrew Miller SP
Jose Castillo 3B
Jorge Cantu 3B
Dallas McPherson 3B
Mark Hendrickson SP
Key Losses
Miguel Cabrera 3B
Dontrelle Willis SP
Miguel Olivo C

Projected Lineup
1) Hanley Ramirez SS
2) Jeremy Hermida RF
3) Dan Uggla 2B
4) Josh Willingham LF
5) Jorge Cantu/Dallas McPherson/Jose Castillo 3B
6) Mike Jacobs 1B
7) Cameron Maybin CF
8) Matt Treanor/Mike Rabelo C

Offensive Grade: C-...This team will once again be one of the youngest in the majors. Losing Miggy's power is a bit hit for this offense that was already playing small ball last year. This season, they're going to have to rely on singles and steals and moving runners over the old fashioned way as opposed to swinging for the fences. Dan Uggla will attempt to hit it out of the park everytime to make up for this, but that isn't necessarily a good thing as his already ridiculous Strikeout totals and measly average could potentially rise. The top 4 are solid, especially young Hanley. Ramirez would have been THE story of last year if not for Gay-rod. The 24 year old has risen to elite status not only at his position, but in all of baseball. He was 1 HR short of becoming the youngest member of the 30/50 club (Homers and Steals). Unfortunately, Hanley can't play every position on the field, so this team is going to struggle offensively. Hermida and Willingham are always popular sleepers, but they have yet to emerge as stars. Maybin could be a big surprise...or he could start out the year in the minors. The 5th spot on in this line-up is pretty gruesome and it's never pretty when you have a 3 way platoon occupying the 5 hole.

Projected Rotation
1) Scott Olson
2) Sergio Mitre
3) Andrew Miller
4) Rich Vandenhurk
5) Mark Hendrickson
CL) Kevin Gregg

Pitching Grade: D-...Where to begin...there's no ace on this fact there isn't even an above average starter (at least presently). Losing Dontrelle Willis wasn't a terrible loss the way he was playing, but he at least looked the part of a #1 starter more than anyone else here. There are a lot of young guns (young is the definition of the Marlins) that could potentially break out, but none of these pitchers have flashed ace status yet. I was actually tempted to give them an F, but Olson and Miller both have a shot at becoming Top of the Line Pitchers down the road. Whether that happens this year remains to be seen, but let's just say that there's a lot better chance that they have awful years than great ones. Kevin Gregg proved to be a fairly reliable closer last year, but one year as a closer doesn't really mean shit in baseball. If he does it again, I'll buy in a little more.

Projected Outlook
The more I wrote in this preview, the less I like this team, but like I said at the beginning, people always underestimate the Marlins and they always prove everyone wrong by exceeding expectations. That said, on paper, this is pretty ugly. The rotation is probably bottom 5 in the MLB, and the Lineup is in the bottom half. Combine those two and there aren't going to be a lot of wins for the fins this year. I don't see how they win more than last year afterAt least they have a good mascot.
Projected 2008 Record: 68-94

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