Thursday, February 23

Florida Marlins: 15-Seed of the NL

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Starting Pitching:

First off, sometimes team capsules have themes. This is going to be the first one that has a "I have no clue what these guys are trying to do" theme. This will become incredibly evident (even to me, as I'm looking at their depth chart and going "who are these guys, anyway?") quickly.

Anyway, Dontrelle Willis slates in as the ace - and also as probably the only pitcher you've even heard of on this staff. Beyond that, the races for the other 4 spots (yes, you read that right) are wide open. The youngsters - at least, the "homegrown" youngsters - consist of Jason Vargas and Scott Olsen. Olsen has more upside, although Vargas will possibly be better during this season. Sergio Mitre is the imported youngster; he comes from a good line of Cubs pitching prospects, and as such should at least be serviceable. The only downside to that is that he might be counted on to be 2-hole material; I'm not sure how that'll work.

Fortunately (well, maybe fortunately isn't the right word here), there are a couple of veterans, too. Brian Moehler and Jason Johnson.... well, they're somewhere around league average, if not a little below. They'll serve as innings-eaters, and they will have at least some kind of spot in the rotation, although where that'll be is anybody's guess at this point. It depends on how they want to break things down.

Rough Rotation Guess:
Ace: Dontrelle Willis
2nd: Brian Moehler
3rd: Sergio Mitre
4th: Scott Olsen
5th: Jason Vargas
(in the wings: Jason Johnson)

Fantasy Value:

Uh, Dontrelle. That's about it.

Okay, so that's not entirely true - Olsen and Vargas have some potential in keeper / dynasty leagues, and Mitre probably won't suck too badly. Still, those guys scream "NL only" - and I wouldn't touch Moehler and Johnson with a 20-foot pole.

With that being said, here's the projected depth chart right now. My predictions don't go along with it at all, which speaks something. Probably the idea that nobody knows what's going on right now.

More Information:
Dontrelle Willis
Scott Olsen

Closer / Bullpen:

Again with the uncertainty. Joe Borowski will open the season as the closer (for those 15 save opportunities he'll get all year), and beyond that, there's not a whole lot around. Kerry Lightenberg is probably the only other guy you've even heard of - he closed with the Braves a few years ago ('98 and part of '99). Travis Bowyer is fairly highly touted, I suppose (he's way up there on the depth charts). Beyond that? No clue.

Rough Bullpen Guess:
Closer: Joe Borowski
8th inning: Kerry Lightenberg
7th inning: Travis Bowyer
Sit. Righty: ?
Sit. Lefty: ?
Mop-up: TBD - one of the 10,000 other arms they have at camp, most likely.

Fantasy Value:

Whomever closes - right now, that'd be Borowski, although I have no clue if he'll maintain that spot throughout the rest of the year. I don't think anyone else knows, either. Maybe that's a good thing? I don't know.

More Information:
Travis Bowyer


The good news here is there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There is some good potential here - Mike Jacobs comes over from the Mets, where he had a good month to month and a half or so, but that's about it. Pokey Reese was signed as a defensive stopper, as well as a veteran presence on the roster. Not to mention he's not holding anyone back by playing second.

Miguel Cabrera, of course, is back at third. He should serve as the anchor of the lineup, as well as the only known commodity. Josh Willingham slots in as catcher - he's got a good amount of power already, although his glove is evidently in question. Manager Joe Girardi evidently brought him in early to work on his glove, which means that he'll most likely land the job over Miguel Olivo. Hanley Ramirez will start at short; he was a fairly highly touted prospect from the Red Sox (actually, pretty highly touted, although there are a fair amount of doubters, too).

Projected Infield:
C: Josh Willingham
1B: Mike Jacobs
2B: Pokey Reese
SS: Hanley Ramirez
3B: Miguel Cabrera

Fantasy Value:

Cabrera is fantastic - even though his counting numbers (R/RBI) will take a hit due to the anemic offense around him. Willingham will probably be serviceable. Beyond that, I'd stay away from Pokey, and leave Ramirez and Jacobs as exercises to the readers, since I have no clue on either of them myself.

More Information:
Miguel Cabrera
Mike Jacobs
Josh Willingham


The new thing in right field is Jeremy Hermida. He'll be somewhere close to league average this year - which, if you haven't quite sensed the trend yet, I'll repeat it one more time: this'll be above the Marlins standard fare. Eric Reed is in center; he's fast, from what I've been able to find out. Of course, that's about all I've been able to find out. Chris Aguila is the tentative starting left fielder.

Is it worth noting that if for whatever reason Josh Willingham can't hold down the catching spot, they'll probably send his bat out to left field. Food for thought.

Projected Outfield:
RF: Jeremy Hermida
CF: Eric Reed
LF: Chris Aguila ( / Josh Willingham)

Fantasy Value:

Hermida is either late-round fare if you're in a single-season 12-team league, or mid-round fare (possibly earlier) if you're in a keeper league or a deep / NL-only league. As for the rest ... eh, maybe Reed if you really really really really need speed.

More Information:
Jeremy Hermida

Extra Stuff:

So yeah, if you couldn't tell, I really don't know what the Fish are up to this year. There's a ton of youth on this team, and like most young teams, they'll struggle early on. There's a little bit of veteran presence, a couple of studs, and some good prospects. However, with the competitiveness of the NL East, these guys will struggle a lot.

My best guess is they'll suck early on, then come back to make things interesting for everyone else in August and September, if their spirit hasn't been utterly crushed by then.

Of course, I'm blaming all of this on Jeffrey Loria (aka the spawn of Satan in baseball form). Allow me to explain this massive hatred. I'm an Expos fan (well, technically it's the Nats now, but I digress). Have been since '94. After the fire sale in '95, it hurt to be a 'Spos fan. Anyone decent they produced was going to get traded away eventually - what's the point in getting attached to players when you knew they were going to leave?

So in all of this, Loria comes in and takes over ownership of the team. He promptly blows up the TV and radio contracts, leaving the Expos without any sources of revenue, sells off all the good players, then buys the Marlins, leaving the Expos ...well, in the hellish situation they're in today. So of course, I wasn't surprised when he started making demands for a new stadium and threatening to move the team. He won't move the team - he'll just buy another team and sell these guys to MLB again. That's what he does. Good riddance.

(And yes, watching the 2003 World Series was probably the most painful experience in my life.)