Will Carroll
Tuesday March 1st, 2011

The Marlins will open their new stadium next year and like most teams getting a new home, they've tried to build towards that event. Maybe it will change things in Miami. Maybe Jeffrey Loria will suddenly start spending money, but then again, this is a team that was essentially given a salary floor by baseball last season. They'd be better off putting some of that money they need to spend towards sports medicine. The franchise habitually has ranked toward the bottom of the rankings, with the occasional year like last year where they pop up or the more likely scenario that they drop down in the low teens or early twenties. Many point to turnover or the reliance on young players, but as we've discussed many times, those things even out over the long term and aren't that big a factor to begin with. No, this is merely a franchise that's willing to take what comes along, it seems. There's always going to be some element of randomness to baseball injuries. A bad slide, a ball up and in, one pitch with funny mechanics ... it all comes together in the wrong fashion sometimes. Over the longer term, those random fluctuations tend towards the mean which is why any one-year model is just interesting, not instructive. The risk they have this year is packed in their rotation and those are the kinds of injuries that have really hurt them. The longer trends aren't good for the Marlins and it's something they should change along with their name.

(HEAD TRAINER: Sean Cunningham; FIVE YEAR RANK: 19; 2010 RANK: 7)
For explanation of these ratings, click here
2B Omar Infante
This one's almost all playing time, though I have more confidence that he can hold this position than The System does. If nothing else, the pitchers will be happier with Infante behind them than Uggla.

3B Matt Dominguez
Dominguez is the highest green. There's not much difference between a high green and a low yellow, but there has to be a line somewhere. The biggest concern is that he's never done it, but looking at Dominguez's track record and what he'll likely be asked to do, it seems like green is the right rating.

LF Logan Morrison
There's no truth to the rumor that Morrison will replace his jersey number with a hashtag.

RF Mike Stanton
There's going to be all kinds of debates for the next decade about who's better: Stanton or Jason Heyward. It's about equal in every part of their games, but Stanton's been a bit healthier.

CL Leo Nunez
A green rating just means he's not that risky, not that he's that good.

Also Green:
1B Gaby Sanchez
KR Clay Hensley
SS Hanley Ramirez
Ramirez had more problems with maturity than he did with injuries last year, but he's still not far removed from a time when the latter was the bigger issue. He has a tendency towards minor but worrisome injuries --elbow last year, knee the year before, hamstrings before that. He's going to end up with one of those being serious eventually, but "eventually" could be next year or 10 years from now.

CF Chris Coghlan
A couple years ago when Coghlan won Rookie of the Year, I didn't vote for him. J.A. Happ hasn't turned out much better, admittedly, but Coghlan's still trying to find a position. Moving him to center field is risky, especially in the short term, and doing it after last season's knee surgery seems short sighted.

SP Javier Vazquez
Vazquez is a pretty low yellow. The System sees the big innings drop last season as sign of injury or decline rather than typical Yankee craziness.

SP Chris Volstad
Chris Volstad's only real development last year was in a reasonable jump in innings. He'll need to try pitching better if he's going to be more than this, though if he clears the 190 IP wall, that has real value.

C John Buck
Buck is red because of PEDs. Not his, but the ones that got Ronnie Paulino suspended for 50 games. That's going to put a big load on Buck, since John Baker had Tommy John surgery in September. Brad Davis isn't going to get much playing time, so absent a trade, the Marlins are going to have to put the load on Buck. It's not the worst strategy in the world -- Buck's replaceable and coming off a career year. Ride him.

SP Josh Johnson
Johnson was mostly good in a season where he was coming off a huge innings increase and coming back from Tommy John surgery. He didn't hold the 190-plus innings level and had some back problems at the end of the season, which is never a good sign. Johnson's a hard worker and a real physical specimen, but the shoulder injuries he saw last year are what raises this to the red alert level. Shoulder after elbow is one of the worst patterns there is for a pitcher, though the distance between the two is a mitigating factor.

SP Ricky Nolasco
Nolasco came off an elbow injury to put up 200 innings in 2008. He's seen two straight inning drops as he's struggled with various physical issues. Signed to a big dollar deal this offseason, he'll be challenged to stay healthy enough to have a chance of living up to that value. For someone with his K-rate, he gets hit a lot.

SP Anibal Sanchez
Sanchez stayed healthy for a full season and was rewarded with a huge workload increase. Maybe Sanchez, at 27, will deal with it well, but it's a very risky bet given both the risk profile and his injury history. Then again, he's not bad and about to get expensive, so why shouldn't the Marlins try to get everything out of him while they can? I could get behind that more if they were winning.

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