No team had a more controversial offseason than the Miami Marlins. The team has been radically changed due to the moves made and some baseball purists though their “fire sale” was a disgrace to the game. So what does a Marlins fan and blogger think? You can find out right here in our Miami Marlins starting nine (archive of other teams here).
At FantasyCPR we were privileged to be joined for this preview by Ehsan Kassim the lead editor at Marlin Maniac the Fansided blog dedicated to covering the Marlins. Here’s his take on our starting nine questions we’ve asked each blogger leading up to the season.
1. Did your team do a good job this offseason?
Yes and no. I firmly believe the moves the Marlins made this off-season were sound baseball moves. But, when you factor in the variables of the new stadium, the ridiculous amount of tax money involved and the past history of owner Jeffery Loria, it is hard to spin this as anything other than a PR disaster.
It also does not help that Loria does not see any faults in himself. Last offseason was the most exciting in Marlins history, this offseason had to be the least. Mr. Selig needs to step in and get Loria out of here.
2. Who is the key player to your team’s success this year?
Easy, the only real major league player we have, Giancarlo Stanton. And if you mean by successful being a difference of losing 100 games or not, Stanton will be the key. If he has a strong season, the Marlins will still finish in the NL East basement, but they will avoid the embarrassment that comes with 100+ losses. Boy, these questions are depressing me.
3. Who is a position player many people may not know about who is going to have a breakout season?
Justin Ruggiano is the best answer to this question. If only because he is the only other player on the Marlins that might be worth something. Ruggino’s stats last season were inflated by a BABIP of .402, but even with that regressing to the mean, it is likely that is average defense in center and power will keep him as a relevant player. I would not rule out Ruggiano hitting 15-20 homers in 2013, but that would require him to stay healthy.
4. What starting pitcher is going to have a surprisingly good season?
I am extremely high on Nathan Eovaldi. Ever since he arrived to the Marlins in the Hanley Ramirez deal, I have been impressed with his power arm. His main issue has been his control. He will still walk his fair share of batters, but from what I have seen from his this spring and last September, he should pick up a few more strikeouts. I think Eovaldi will finish the season with a sub-4.00 ERA, which would be a nice thing for the Marlins to get.
5. How does your team’s bullpen look going into this coming year especially at the closer position?
The Marlins bullpen will have a lot of questions, as they will field a mostly experience-less group of players. The players that do have experience, are just flat out not that good. As for the closer role, the Marlins will be in good hands. Steve Cishek should have been the Marlins closer going into last season, but the Marlins made an idiotic decision to sign Heath Bell, which they still regret. Cishek’s side-armed delivery is also a joy to watch, as can be attested by his success in the World Baseball Classic.
6. Who do you think is the most “over-rated” player on your team?
It’s a tie between Chone Figgins and Greg Dobbs for no other reason that they have jobs. This maybe because we cannot quantify “leadership,” but they have been among the worst regular players the past couple of seasons. Nothing against either guy, but if I were a GM of a ballclub, they would not be on my team.
7. Are there any rookies that will impact the team from the beginning of the season or as a midseason call-up?
The Marlins have a couple of rookies who will start the season with the team, in Adeiny Hechavarria and Rob Brantly. Hechavarria is a glove-only shortstop, who might hit into some power. Brantly is the team’s starting catcher and could provide a decent average, but does not have much power nor does he walk too much.
Two impact rookies that could be up by mid-season are Jose Fernandez and Christian Yelich. Both will start the season in Double-A and make their MLB debuts if they continue to play well in the minors. Fernandez is seen as the future ace of the Marlins staff and Yelich should be the Marlins every day player in center or left field. Both are seen as top 10 to 20 prospects in the majors, depending on who you ask.
8. What would be considered a successful season for your team?
A success for the Miami Marlins in 2013 would be avoiding 100 losses and having at least a few of the Marlins young regular players prove themselves to be a main part of the Marlins future.
9. What exciting things do you have coming up on your site this season?
Marlin Maniac will always have some of the best analysis on the internet for Marlins-related items. We will cover everything Marlins-related with wall-to-wall coverage of the team. Before each game check out the previews and recaps after each game.
Thanks to Ehsan Kassim at Marlin Maniac for his insight on the Marlins headed into what appears to be a long season for Miami and their fans. If you’re among the faithful, add the Marlins coverage to your daily email from Fansided and make sure you add FantasyCPR in the extras section.