2013 Fantasy outlooks: Miami Marlins
Oops, they did it again. Miami unloads most of its stars for possible future gains. Michael Hurcomb takes a look at the 2013 Marlins to see where the Fantasy value can be found.
There are definitely dates in Marlins history that hold significant meaning.
Such as April 5, 1993, which was the first game and victory in franchise history. Or Oct. 26, 1997, which was the date of the Marlins' first World Series title, and Oct. 25, 2003, which was the second time the Marlins were world champs.
Although, not all memories are pleasant. Just ask any Marlins fan about Nov. 19, 2012 and you are likely to hear some curse words being thrown around like paper airplanes because it marked the death of Miami's 2013 season.
It's probably unfair to say the Marlins' season is over before it begins, but the front office didn't help the organization gain any competitive advantage by dealing regulars Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and Emilio Bonifacio to the Toronto Blue Jays in November in return for a bevy of prospects.
Though, Marlins fans should be used to this since this is not the first firesale in team history. If you recall, the Marlins cleaned house after winning their first title in 1997. Kevin Brown, Moises Alou and Gary Sheffield were among a cast of stars sent packing.
The 1998 Marlins lost a franchise-worst 108 games, so if history repeats itself, the team -- and its fans -- could be in for a bumpy ride in 2013.
The Marlins' firesale began last July when Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez were traded, but the the team has been stocking the farm system in the process. The organization is now flush with emerging players like Jacob Turner, Jake Marisnick, Adeiny Hechavarria, Zack Cox, Justin Nicolino and Rob Brantly.
The flurry of moves infuriated slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who has been looking for his own way out of town, but he is just going to have to adjust to the rebuilding process in Miami.
Let's not forget the Marlins also dropped manager Ozzie Guillen after one year, replacing him with former Marlins catcher Mike Redmond. Nothing against Redmond, but at least Ozzie was entertaining, which could have helped distract from the impending nightmare that might take place on the field this season.
The Marlins have finished dead last in the NL East two years running, losing at least 90 games each season. They must like the view because it doesn't appear Miami will be climbing out of the cellar in 2013.
Bust ... Justin Ruggiano, outfield
Ruggiano finally burst onto the scene in 2012 at the ripe age of 30. In 91 games, Ruggiano hit .313 with a .374 on-base percentage, .535 slugging percentage and .909 OPS. There was a two-month span from June through July where Fantasy owners couldn't leave Ruggiano out of lineups. Unfortunately, it didn't last. He hit just .273 with a .331 OBP, .427 slugging percentage and .758 OPS in his final 42 games. He still had an impressive BABIP (.375) in that 42-game span, but Ruggiano struck out 49 times over his final 42 games, which is disconcerting heading into 2013. The power potential is there, as Ruggiano slugged .490 in the minors, but it's just difficult to overlook the fact that Ruggiano didn't become a breakout star until he was 30 years old. Fantasy owners shouldn't be reaching for him on Draft Day, as the risk outweighs the reward.
Breakout ... Steve Cishek, relief pitcher
Unlike Ruggiano, Cishek is entering the prime of his career and Fantasy owners should be getting excited about his potential. In 116 career games, Cishek owns a 2.57 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. He is also striking out 9.2 batters per nine innings. Many Fantasy owners tend to target closers on contenders, but there is plenty of value to be had regarding closers on bad teams. The Marlins could certainly be in a lot of close contests, which would provide ample save opportunities for Cishek, who closed out 15 games for Miami last season. Cishek will probably be passed over in many drafts, but he certainly has the potential to be a great late-round value pick.
Sleeper ... Jacob Turner, starting pitcher
It's true Turner went 1-4 in seven starts with the Marlins last season, but a closer look at his numbers show he had a 3.38 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and yielded 7.0 hits and 1.9 walks per nine innings in those seven starts. His numbers did exactly what you would expect from a pitcher who leaves the DH behind in the American League for the pitcher-hitting National League. Turner is not a great strikeout pitcher and wins could be at a premium in 2013, but don't forget he was a top pitching prospect for Detroit, so the talent is there. He is another Marlins player who could be a great value buy in the late rounds on Draft Day.
Jose Fernandez has become a must-add long-term keeper after his breakout year in 2012. The 2011 first-round pick (14th overall) dominated hitters at two levels of Class A, going 14-1 with a 1.75 ERA and 0.93 WHIP. He struck out 10.6 batters per nine innings, while walking just 35 in 134 innings. He shows great command, aptitude and knowledge for a high school draftee, and the 20-year-old hurler might make a quicker-than-expected rise to the majors. ... The Marlins have a solid crop of outfield prospects, led by Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Jake Marisnick, who was added in the November trade with Toronto. Yelich is the best of the bunch and has future Fantasy star written all over him, but he's ticketed for Double-A and more of a long-term keeper. Marisnick had a rough 2012 campaign and scouts are concerned about his ability to handle advanced pitching, but they consider him a five-tool prospect and will likely join Yelich at Double-A this season. Ozuna might not have the name recognition of Yelich or Marisnick, but he has power and is on the 40-man roster. Ozuna owns a .481 slugging percentage and .813 OPS in 452 minor-league games. He's also likely ticketed for Double-A, but might be the first to debut of the bunch because of his roster status. ... Adeiny Hechavarria, who also came over from Toronto, is lauded for his glove, which could keep him in the majors for a long time. Hechavarria might eventually hit for average, but we aren't expecting him to develop into an offensive superstar. ... Zack Cox was a 2010 first-round pick and once a prized prospect in the Cardinals' system, but he has struggled to adapt to pro pitching and has become more of an afterthought. Although, the Marlins picked him up relatively cheap last summer, so a rebirth in the Miami organization isn't totally out of the question. Cox also is on the 40-man roster and given Placido Polanco's fragile state, Cox could be headed for a 2013 MLB debut. ... Left-handed starters Andrew Heaney and Justin Nicolino are names for long-term keeper owners to store away for a rainy day. Heaney, a 2012 first-round pick, has serious strikeout potential and could be a frontline starter for Miami down the road, but he has only six career pro starts under his belt, so he's still at least a couple years away from being Fantasy relevant. Nicolino profiles as more of a mid-rotation arm and his strikeout rate is declining as he climbs his way through the farm system, but the 2010 second-round pick, who was acquired from Toronto, is 16-6 with a 2.09 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in 185 1/3 minor-league innings. Nicolino might not debut in the majors until 2014.
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