Greetings! We're back with the suddenly putrid Miami Marlins. Hurray.
Projected Starters - Rob Brantley/Jeff Mathis (C), Logan Morrison (1B), Donovan Solano (2B), Adeiny Hechavarria (SS), Placido Polanco (3B), Juan Pierre (LF), Justin Ruggiano (CF), Giancarlo Stanton (RF)
When I see this lineup, I think "FIRE SALE!" Only Morrison and Stanton are back from that "vaunted"-looking offense of 2012, and things are ugly in a hurry here. On the positive side, Stanton might be the guy with the most pure power in the entire major leagues and, at age 23, he's one of the best assets in the entire league. Morrison has a career OPS of over .780 and has the talent to be a big-time hitter, but he's been a walking position change, and hasn't had a "breakout" campaign yet. After those two, it's pretty brutal. The only other players in the lineup who have ever been MLB regulars are Placido Polanco and Juan Pierre. Polanco hasn't had a good year since 2010 is now a 37-year-old full-time 3rd baseman with no power, while Pierre can still run (37 steals in 439 PA's last year), but has a career slugging percentage of .363 (not a misprint) and maybe the worst throwing arm of any major-league outfielder. The future could be bright if all of the young guys work out, but 2013 isn't going to be fun.
Projected - Ricky Nolasco, Henderson Alvarez, Jacob Turner, Wade LeBlanc, Nate Eovaldi
Eesh. In the midst of the fire sale, Miami jettisoned Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle to Toronto, and Anibal Sanchez has landed in Detroit, so the pitching cupboard is virtually empty. Ricky Nolasco is the prime example of a guy who looks great, but isn't always effective. His career ERA is 4.49 (which he matched nearly perfectly with a 4.48 in 2012) and I don't think Miami can expect much better from him. If that's your #1 starter, it's not a strong projection. I actually like Henderson Alvarez, but his K-rate dropped drastically last year (to under 4 per 9), and while he was clearly injured (by all accounts), it's not clear what he will be this year and going forward. Turner was the prize of the Anibal Sanchez trade and he's a former top prospect. It seems that he stopped striking people out sometime during 2011, but the stuff is high-end and he'll have every opportunity to get it right in Miami in that huge ballpark. LeBlanc and Eovaldi are "meh" guys who are both fringe 5th starters, and they'll be near replacement level. If Alvarez and Turner both hit it big, this could be a league-average rotation, but I doubt that happens in 2013.
Projected - Steve Cishek (closer), Mike Dunn, Ryan Webb, Jon Rauch, Chris Hatcher, Jose Ceda, AJ Ramos
Cishek was actually very good in 2012. He had a K-rate of nearly 10 per 9, an ERA of 2.69 and has "established himself as a closer" (insert laughter here) with 15 saves. The closer role is misguided (especially on a bad team), but he's a good pitcher. Ryan Webb was equally effective last year, and the Rauch/Dunn combo can be devastating if they have it going. The end of the bullpen isn't strong, but they aren't short on arms (I'm trying here). Cishek and the bullpen core likely won't be the reason they lose games.
The ridiculous ownership (looking at you Jeffrey Loria) is the reason that this team is a disaster on the field. They went and spent millions upon millions to establish a workable core of Reyes/Johnson/Buehrle/etc. and subsequently blew it up after one season. Now, they are mired in franchise disaster land, and there are even rumors of a future trade of Giancarlo Stanton that would drive the final nail in the coffin. If everything (and I mean everything) goes right this year, they could catch the Mets and Phillies for 3rd place, but it's easily the worst roster of the three, and they'll finish last.
63-99, 5th in NL East