Which was the loudest: The splash the Marlins made last offseason, the thud with which their season crashed to earth, or the boom of their roster imploding this winter? No matter your answer, it's safe to say 2012 was an abject failure in Miami, and 2013 looks like it could be worse. With the Astros now members of the American League, the Marlins stand a chance of being the worst team in the Senior Circuit this year.
The exodus started last season, with Hanley Ramirez traded to the Dodgers and Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez traded to the Tigers at the deadline. It continued in force during the offseason, when the team shipped Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Emilio Bonifacio, Mark Buehrle and John Buck to Toronto. All that talent landed the Marlins a handful of legitimate pitching prospects with varying degrees of promise. For fantasy purposes, though, this team is bereft of impact players, with one large exception.
Giancarlo Stanton raked last year to the tune of .290/.361/.608 with 37 homers and 86 RBI in just 123 games. A season of full health should result in 40 homers and 100 RBI without breaking a sweat. And if I could get a "Giancarlo Stanton homers and doubles vs. Marlins wins" prop in Vegas, I'd be betting my life savings on Stanton. If you're a Miami fan, well, at least you'll probably have the Heat to keep you occupied into early June and an up-and-coming Dolphins team to focus on come September. The rest of us will need to find the bits and pieces worth paying attention to on the Marlins' roster.
1. Juan Pierre, LF 2. Placido Polanco, 3B 3. Justin Ruggiano, CF 4. Giancarlo Stanton, RF 5. Logan Morrison, 1B 6. Rob Brantly, C 7. Donovan Solano, 2B 8. Adeiny Hechavarria, SS
1. Ricky Nolasco 2. Jacob Turner 3. Nathan Eovaldi 4. Henderson Alvarez 5. Wade LeBlanc
I think it is. Trout and Braun are in a class by themselves because of their power-speed combo. Kemp could be part of that group if he stays healthy, as could McCutchen if there's still another level in his development. While Stanton is never going to be a base-stealing threat, I have him next on my board, ahead of CarGo, Bautista and Hamilton. We know CarGo is a strong bet for 25/25, but his injury history doesn't let us set his ceiling any higher. Bautista is Stanton with a worse batting average and a smidge less power. Hamilton is Stanton plus eight years. Stanton, meanwhile, is coming off two years in which he posted isolated slugging percentages of .275 and .318 and is all of 23 years old. That's the scary part. Given his age, Stanton is sure to take another step developmentally -- and it could even be a leap. It takes a lot these days to pencil a guy in for 40 home runs. In fact, Stanton is the only player in the league for whom we can confidently do that. He's my No. 5 outfielder and No. 14 overall player.
Looking at his advanced stats, there isn't a whole lot to explain Morrison's down year. His .248 BABIP suggests exceedingly bad luck, and is especially puzzling considering he didn't hit an overwhelming amount of ground balls or pop ups. He maintained his trademark strong plate discipline, swinging at only 22.6 percent of pitches outside the strike zone, well below the 30-percent league average. Other than the low BABIP, there aren't any advanced numbers that explain Morrison's bad season.
Given that, I'm back on the Morrison bandwagon this year. Let's not forget that he's just entering his age-25 season. There's plenty of room for growth, and we could be looking back on 2012 as nothing more than a speed bump in his progression. I'm not letting last year's memories drive me away from Morrison at the draft table this year. Hitting behind Stanton in the order, a year of ample opportunity and 25 homers seems in order.
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