My 2014 Fantasy Baseball Preview continues with a stop in Miami to look at the Marlins top position battle entering spring training, which I feel happens to be a center field battle between two talented young players.
Both Marcell Ozuna and Jake Marisnick made the jump from Double-A all the way to the majors last season and one of these guys has a good chance to lock down the center field job in Miami for years to come.
While I like Marisnick a little more long term, the guy I am keeping an eye on the most in camp is Ozuna.
Ozuna is still considered a pretty raw prospect in the grand scheme of things, but it was a bit surprising that he held his own at the MLB level last season.
The 22-year old posted an .843 OPS through his first 36 games in 2013 before a thumb injury ended his season in July. That should be enough for him to be the front runner for the job entering camp. He also made it through the Dominican Winter League without setback this offseason, hitting .277 with a .376 slugging percentage and .672 OPS in 34 games. He added two home runs, eight doubles, 12 RBI and 13 runs.
While he did sport a disappointing 57/13 K/BB ratio after his call up last season, he makes for a very intriguing option in the later rounds of mixed league drafts.
Marisnick on the other hand was overwhelmed at the plate from the time he arrived in Miami, batting .183 with a .248 slugging percentage and .478 OPS in 40 games. While he’s a strong defender, Marisnick might open the 2014 season in the minors to work on his offense.
Unless he goes nuts in spring, Marisnick shouldn’t be an option for you on draft day.
The sleeper here could be Brian Bogusevic, who was acquired from the Chicago Cubs this offseason. Bogusevic, 29, is coming off of a solid season as a part-time player (.784 OPS, 6 HR in 47 games) and would probably be a solid stop-gap for a month or two if the Marlins feel that both of their young prospects would be better served starting out in the minors.
Prediction: At the end of the day, I don’t really like any of the Marlins’ center fielders as a decent fantasy option, but if there were one guy I may target late it would be Ozuna. He will struggle at times but if given a full season of at bats, the best case scenario would be a .255 AVG, 15 HR, 55 RBI and 10-15 steals. Those aren’t eye popping numbers, but in the final rounds off the draft you could do worse than take a flyer on a youngster like Ozuna.
As for Marisnick, he’s a guy I have owned as a minor leaguer for a couple of years now and I’m still high on him. That being said, I think he needs another year in the minors. He will be heard from at some point this season, but unless he wins the job out of camp, I can only see him getting around 200 MLB AB’s, hitting around .230 with five or six homers and 20 RBI.
While it’s nice to keep your eye on young players and both guys could turn into very good fantasy options one day, I just don’t think 2014 is the year for either of them.
You can go back and read previous 2014 Fantasy Baseball Previews as I break down the top battles with the: