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Miami Marlins Fantasy Superlatives: Future Ace Sixto Sanchez & More Sleepers to Watch

The Miami Marlins may not be world-beaters just yet but they've got a plethora of young talent brimming on the edges of most fantasy baseball leagues. SI Fantasy expert Shawn Childs highlights the options to watch.

Sleeper: 1B Jesus Aguilar

Before 2017, Aguilar struggled to make an impact in the Indians’ system leading to three stalled years at AAA. His quest for the majors led to him trading batting average (.304) in 2014 at AAA for home runs in 2016 (30).

Overall at AAA, he hit .271 over 1,452 at-bats with 68 HRs and 262 RBI.

The Brewers used him off the bench in 2017, which led to an excellent season (16 HRs and 52 RBI) for his short at-bats (279). In 2018, an early-season injury to Marcus Thames led to a starting opportunity with the Brewers, and a breakthrough year (.274 with 35 HRs and 108 RBI).

Last season Milwaukee gave Aguilar almost seven weeks to reprove himself, but he only hit .202 with 12 runs, three home runs, and 21 RBI over 124 at-bats.

In a rotational role over the next third of the season, his bat improved (.255 with 14 runs, five HRs, and 13 RBI over 98 at-bats). Aguilar never was able to seize a full-time even after a trade to Tampa (.261 with 13 runs, four HRs, and 16 RBI over 92 at-bats).

His contact batting average (.318) was well below his previous two seasons (.400 and .387) with a significant step back in his average hit rate (1.649 – 1.963 in 2018).

Even with regression in play, Aguilar did have an improvement in his approach (strikeout rate – 22.0 and walk rate – 11.7). His HR/FB rate (13.2) came in well below 2017 (22.5) and 2018 (23.8).

Overall, his resume is short of success, but he still looks good enough to win the starting first base job for Miami. Viable DH option in deep leagues with an ADP of 392 whose value would be helped by the National League using a DH in 2020. Aguilar has 30-plus home run upside with a rebound in his thought process and confidence.

Deep Sleeper: 2B Isan Diaz

After playing at a high level at AAA (.305 with 89 runs, 26 HRs, 70 RBI, and five SBs over 377 at-bats), Miami awarded Diaz with about a third of a season in the majors.

His success in the minors didn’t translate well, which led to a high strikeout rate (29.4) with emptiness in his contact batting average (.258). On the positive side, Diaz performed well with runners on base (RBI rate – 19) while maintaining strength in his average hit rate (1.774).

He only had four hits in 40 at-bats against left-handed pitching with 14 strikeouts.

Over six seasons in the minors, Diaz hit .263 with 88 home runs, 327 RBI, and 57 steals over 2,152 at-bats with a top of the order walk rate (12.3) and weakness in his strikeout rate (24.9). In 2020, he’ll try to build off his AAA success with the hopes of earning a platoon role at the very least. Future 30 HR upside with some speed, but he needs more time to develop in the majors.

Sleeper: SP Sandy Alcantara

Alcantara ended up being a liability for fantasy teams in 2019, thanks to a low number of wins (6) and WHIP risk (1.318). He finished with 151 strikeouts, but his strikeout rate (6.9) came in short. Alcantara allowed two runs or fewer in 17 of his 32 starts.

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His downside came from disaster games (24 runs and 40 baserunners over 21.2 innings). He struggled more against lefties (.253 with 16 home runs over 403 at-bats).

Alcantara has a fastball (95.9) while offering three pitches of value (four-seam – .239, sinker – .233, and slider – .232 BAA). He also has an upside changeup (.274 BAA).

Over five seasons in the minors, Alcantara went 23-32 with a 3.94 ERA and 461 strikeouts over 496 innings.

His biggest obstacle remains his command (walk rate – 3.7). This season he should make a massive step forward. Pencil him in for 200-plus innings with a push toward 175 strikeouts (if baseball played a full season) and growth in his ERA and WHIP. His ADP is 260 in the early draft season.

Deep Sleeper: SP Sixto Sanchez

Sanchez pitched great in 2019 at AA (8-4 with a 2.53 ERA and 97 Ks over 103 innings), which came after two shaky starts at High A (4.91 ERA). His 2019 season didn’t start until May due to Miami trying to limit his exposure in innings. In his 18 starts at AA, Sanchez allowed three runs or fewer in every start except one disaster showing (eight runs, ten baserunners, and three home runs over 3.2 innings).

His walk rate (1.7) remains elite with a below-par strikeout rate (7.9). Over five seasons in the minors, Sanchez has a 2.58 ERA and 294 strikeouts over 335.1 innings.

His fastball has triple-digit upside with an exceptional swing and miss slider while developing a changeup that projects as an asset. This year he’ll start the year at AAA with a chance to push his innings to the 140 to 150 area.

If Miami were ready to win, Sanchez would be in the majors early in the year. Future ace who will come quickly. His foundation in command puts him in the majors by June. His ADP (606) prices him as a free agent option in shallow leagues. Think Shane Bieber as far as his command with more life at the top end with his fastball.

Value: 3B Brian Anderson

I came into 2019 with the idea of Anderson being a viable backend third base option in deep leagues. After seven weeks (.227 with seven runs, two HRs, and 12 RBI over 163 at-bats), I struggled to make a case for him going forward while looking for help in the free-agent pool.

In one waiver-wire article at this point of the year, I even made the case of a hot run in 2018 over 82 games (.298 with 50 runs, seven HRs, and 36 RBI over 325 at-bats).

Sure enough, Anderson had a correction over his next 41 games (.286 with 28 runs, nine HRs, 28 RBI over 164 at-bats) with follow-through over 36 games after the All-Star break (.293 with 21 runs, nine HRs, and 27 RBI over 140 at-bats).

His season ended with five weeks to go due to a broken finger on his left hand.

Anderson finished with a league-average approach (strikeout rate – 21.9 and walk rate – 8.5). His average hit rate (1.972) pushed higher while losing a tick off his contact batting average (.348).

He needs improvement against lefties (.232 with six HRs and 12 RBI over 112 at-bats). His hard-hit rate (45.7) ranked 48th in baseball.

Anderson had a better swing path (ground ball rate – 45.4 and 51.8 in 2018), which led to him almost doubling his rookie season HR/FB rate (16.3 – 8.3 in 2018). With an ADP of 225, he looks poised to become a .275 hitter with an 80/25/85/5 skill set. 

READ MORE: 2020 Miami Marlins Fantasy Team Preview

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