MADISON, February 5, 2014 — Over the next few weeks this column will unveil MLB Power Rankings starting with the weakest team and working towards the strongest. Today the process continues by looking at number 29, the Miami Marlins.
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2013 Record: 62-100 with a -133 run differential.
2013 Projected Lineup:
2B Rafael Furcal
OF Christian Yelich
OF Giancarlo Stanton
1B Garrett Jones
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
3B Casey McGehee
OF Brian Bogusevic/Marcell Ozuna/Jake Marisnick
SS Adeiny Hechevarria
Projected 2014 Rotation:
SP Jose Fernandez
SP Nathan Eovaldi
SP Jacob Turner
SP Henderson Alvarez
SP Tom Koehler/Alex Sanabia
Key Losses: 1B Logan Morrison, OF Justin Ruggiano and OF Chris Coghlan
Key Additions: C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, INF Rafael Furcal, 1B Garrett Jones and 3B Casey McGehee
Best Case: Giancarlo Stanton stays healthy all year and returns to his 2012 form hitting 45 HRs and boosting the offense. While this raises the price of a possible extension, it also gives the Marlins flexibility if they opt to trade Stanton next year. Christian Yelich, after getting a taste of the big leagues last year, continues to impress in his age 22 season by building on last year’s .288/.370/.396 slash line. Jose Fernandez maintains last year’s amazing pitch efficiency while logging 35 more innings. The veterans the Marlins brought in to man the infield stay healthy while performing near their career averages. Andrew Heaney and Colin Moran both develop to the point where they are positioned to help the 2015 team. The front office keeps Jarrod Saltamacchia through this year and for the entirety of his contract helping to rebuild future free agents’ trust in the team honoring contracts. The Marlins finish in fourth place in the NL East ahead of the Phillies with a 71-91 record.
Worst Case: Giancarlo Stanton only plays in 75 games hurting his trade value while he refuses to sign a long-term contract. Jose Fernandez is unable to maintain the pitch efficiency that he had last year and only pitches 10 more innings than last year due to his pitch counts climbing earlier in games. Jake Marisnick’s confidence is shaken from being promoted too quickly last year and his struggles continue leading to his demotion in June. Jacob Turner reverts to the levels that he experienced in Detroit casting doubt on the advances he had made since being traded to the Marlins. The veterans brought in to buy time in the infield struggle with injuries and performance forcing the Marlins to promote players too early and scramble for replacements. The team finishes with the worst record in MLB going 57-105.
Prospect Watch: The Marlins shocked baseball by having Jose Fernandez break camp with the big club, but Fernandez did not disappoint, as he became the NL Rookie of the Year. The club then did it again by promoting 21-year-old Christian Yelich from AA, but he also held his own. This year, keep an eye on LHP Andrew Heaney who posted a 1.60 ERA in 95.1 IP across two levels last year, finishing the season in AA. OF Jake Marisnick saw time with the big club last year when he was promoted with Yelich. Marisnick struggled in his time in Miami posting an OPS+ of 32 in his 40 games, but should do better with some more seasoning in the minors. Finally, the team drafted 3B Colin Moran in the 2013 draft. Moran was considered one of the top college bats in the draft and, given the Marlins’ recent history with prospects, may move quickly.