Marlins: 2017 Fantasy Baseball Preview




Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports



The Marlins have gone through a lot this offseason. The front office added four pitchers to compliment the offense. How many Marlins are worth drafting?

The Miami Marlins have dealt with a lot to end 2016. They lost phenom pitcher Jose Fernandez in a boating accident. To bounce back from that and Andrew Cashner signing with Texas, the front office signed two veteran starting pitchers. While no one can replace Fernandez, the team needed a replacement.

The team also signed two pitchers for the bullpen. Fernando Rodney was brought in at last year’s trade deadline. He helped some, but lost a lot of his value when he became the set-up man. He has since signed with Arizona. The Marlins have their closer set but having solid options ahead of him protects him and the team.

Surprisingly, or maybe not, the team didn’t add anyone on offense. They added a backup catcher, but the starting eight is locked in. Out of the eight position players, I like seven of them in standard leagues.

Out of the eight position players, I like seven of them in standard leagues.

The catcher, second baseman, third baseman, and all three outfielders rank inside my top 250. That’s six. The seventh hitter I like in deeper leagues is the first baseman.

The downside with the offense is that Marlins Park does not favor them much. The stadium ranked 26th in home runs, 27th in runs, and 30th in hits. While there are good hitters in this lineup, no one hit 30 home runs or 100 RBI.

Even the closer finds himself ranked. The Marlins have a young team with a lot of value.

The starting pitchers are solid late-draft options. Like some of the other team I talked about, they make for good SP5 or high-end SP4 picks in standard leagues. Speaking of the starting rotation, let’s get into the specifics.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Miami Marlins

The Marlins signed two veteran pitchers to fill the gaps left by Fernandez and Cashner. The rotation will now feature Wei-Yin Chen, Adam Conley, Tom Koehler and the two new members in Edinson Volquez and Jeff Locke.

Conley had a good season. In 25 starts, he had a 3.85 ERA, 1.403 WHIP, and 8-6 record. He also had 124 strikeouts in 133.1 innings. The negative was his high walk rate, 4.2 BB/9.

Koehler led the team with 33 starts. He finished with a 4.33 ERA, 1.466 WHIP, and 9-13 record. He had a 7.5 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 in 176.2 innings.

The final Marlins pitcher to play for the team last season is Chen. He made just 22 starts. He had a 4.96 ERA, 1.281 WHIP, and 5-5 record. Chen is the one pitcher I don’t want this season.

Volquez struggled with Kansas City last season. He had a 5.37 ERA, 1.548 WHIP and 10-11 record in 34 starts. I think the move to the National League East will help him bounce back to his 2014 performance.

Locke’s numbers have declined over the last three seasons. He went from a 3.91 ERA in 2014 to a 5.44 ERA in 2016. Halfway through the season, Locke started pitching out of the bullpen. I don’t think that’s where he belongs.

Conley and Koehler are must drafts. Volquez and Locke are iffy, but with a good spring that could change. Chen is the odd man out. There are plenty of other pitchers to draft ahead of him.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Miami Marlins

The bullpen was led by the amazing performance by A.J. Ramos. Entering last season, there was a position battle between Ramos and Carter Capps. Capps ended up missing the whole season with Tommy John surgery, giving Ramos the job and he didn’t disappoint.

Ramos pitched in 67 games and finished with 40 saves. He had a 2.81 ERA and 1.359 WHIP. He also had a 10.3 K/9 and 4.9 BB/9 in 64 innings. Ramos is my No. 22 closer.

The Marlins added two veteran pieces in Brad Ziegler and Junichi Tazawa.

Between Arizona and Boston, Ziegler had a 2.25 ERA, 1.368 WHIP, and 22 saves. If Ramos struggles or management falls out of favor with him, Ziegler could be a threat for his job.

It’s been a couple of seasons since Tazawa posted an ERA under 3.00. Maybe the move to the NL East will help, but it’s unlikely. Stay away from him on draft day.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Los Angeles Dodgers

The Marlins infield is, for the most part, pretty solid.

J.T. Realmuto is behind the plate, Justin Bour at third base, Dee Gordon back at second, Adeiny Hechavarria is the shortstop and Martin Prado defends the hot corner.

Realmuto is a sleeper catcher option. He was the only catcher to hit at least 10 home runs and steal at least 10 bases, 11 and 12, respectively. That paired with his .303 average make him a top-five catcher.

Bour is an NL-only first base option. He hit 15 homers with a .264 average. Decent.

Gordon played in only 79 games, but still managed to steal 30 bases. He isn’t a power hitter, so his value comes solely from his legs. If he plays a full season, he’ll steal at least 50 bases. Gordon is my No. 5 second baseman, but don’t draft speed too early.

Hechavarria’s value is not worth more than this sentence.

Prado is still going strong. He hit .305 in his age 32 season. The third base pool is so deep, forcing Prado outside of my top 20. He is a good corner infield option in standard leagues.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Colorado Rockies

The Marlins’ outfield may be one of the best in baseball, from a fantasy perspective. The trio of Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna combined for 71 home runs and 248 RBI.

Stanton played in 119 games after playing in 74 the year before. He was able to hit 27 homers but struggled to make contact. He had a .240 average and .326 on-base percentage. With a healthy 2017, Stanton will be a top-10 outfielder.

Yelich had his breakout season last season. He hit 21 home runs, 98 RBI and .298. On the surface, I like Yelich over Stanton, but with a potential decline in the league’s power numbers, I can’t pass on Stanton. Yelich could easily finish ahead of Stanton though. They both rank inside my top 10.

Ozuna had a good season for himself, too. His 23 homers and 76 RBI are nothing to sneeze at. The .266 average is, well, average, but doesn’t catapult him into the top 20. He’s my No. 29 outfielder.

MLB: San Diego Padres at Miami Marlins

The Marlins haven’t had a winning season since 2009. Despite that, the team has had plenty of fantasy relevant options, especially on offense.

The starting pitching is average and none of them warrant a pick earlier than Round 10. The bullpen is good with Ramos and Ziegler holding value.

The offense has six or seven bats worth drafting. The outfield is your best option for performance because of the power and contact. Gordon is good for speed and Realmuto is a sleeper catcher with a 10 HR/10 SB line.