While I can’t speak for the rest of the writing staff, I must say that I enjoy doing these Depth Chart Discussions. Our fearless leader, Eno Sarris tells us what division we’re looking at for the week and we sign up for the depth charts we want to cover. More often than not, we end up choosing one that we either really like to discuss or one that we want to actually learn more about, but every so often, one comes along where someone has to take one for the team. Valuing my ability to be a team player, the Miami Marlins infield is my sacrifice.
From a fantasy standpoint, the Marlins infield is downright ugly. No one that we discuss in this piece is someone you target. Heck, they’re barely even someone you settle for. But for the sake of completing the task, let’s get to it.
Behind the dish is as good a place to start as any, so let’s talk about one of the Marlins big acquisitions this offseason, Jarrod Saltalamacchia. With few teams vying for his services, Salty ended up signing a three-year, $21M deal with Miami and now gets to play in MIami, just an hour away from where he grew up in West Palm Beach. The skinny on Salty is pretty basic — good power, lots of strikeouts and a lousy batting average. Don’t be fooled by last season’s .273 average as it was fueled by an extremely favorable yet completely unsustainable .372 BABIP. His move to pitcher-friendly Marlins Park does not bode well for his power though which means that his Steamer projection of 14 home runs and a .226 average seem pretty right on.
At first base, it looks like former Pirates 1B/OF Garrett Jones will be the regular starter. His numbers last year looked pretty pedestrian, batting just .233 with 15 home runs over 440 plate appearances, but he’s had a couple of really nice seasons where he’s shown some outstanding power. However, consistency in his game is lacking due to a a fluctuating strikeout rate and a chronic inability to hit lefties. On a positive note, he’ll be batting cleanup and hitting right behind Giancarlo Stanton so he should see some pretty good pitches to hit. But is it enough to trust him in your lineup? Probably not. Well, not unless you play in a deep league with daily roster moves and he’s the left-handed bat in your platoon.
While it’s difficult to say that the battle for second base will be interesting to watch, it does have a bit fo a head-scratching element to it. Last season, the Marlins went with a combination of Derek Dietrich and Donovan Solano, neither of whom did much to distinguish themselves as a potential long-term candidate. Solano opened the season as the starter, but quickly showed that he was there for his glove and not his bat. With no power and no speed, he gave the team and fantasy owners little reason to stick with him and the switch to Dietrich was almost inevitable. But Dietrich didn’t really offer much more. He did make the jump directly from Double-A last season and showed more power, but in the end, his strikeouts were higher, his walks were fewer and that .214/.275/.405 slash line wasn’t impressing anyone. It was so unimpressive that the Marlins went out this offseason and signed…wait for it…Rafael Furcal to compete for the job.
::holds for laughter::
Furcal missed all of the 2013 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery and while you can admire his will to return to the field, he’s just not someone you want even near your fantasy team. Since 2007, he’s had just one season in which he appeared in at least 150 games and even in that season he offered very little on the offensive front. Either the Marlins have absolutely zero faith in Solano and Dietrich or Furcal has some sort of incriminating photos of Jeffrey Loria.
The shortstop position might offer up a small shred of optimism, but really only for those in extremely deep leagues. Adeiny Hechavarria, who came over form Toronto in the Jose Reyes deal, doesn’t have much in the way of power, but has the potential to maybe swipe 15 bases if generously given the green light. It’s not much, but with little or no competition for the gig, he’s going to be a regular in the lineup. Can you tell I’m just grasping at straws, trying to keep you awake as we make it around the horn with this team?
And finally, there’s Ed Lucas, a 31-year-old journeyman who finally made his way up to the show last year only to show exactly why it’s taken him so long to do so. He does have some versatility in the field, but there’s no power, no speed, mediocre plate discipline and less-than-spectacular contact rates. Rub it all together and you’ve got the human equivalent of a yawn sitting in a baseball uniform and if you’re using that on your fantasy team, well…you’re doing it wrong.
Jeff Baker, Greg Dobbs and Casey McGehee are all vying for back-up/utility roles, but seriously, do I need to go any further? This infield is completely devoid of any remote fantasy value, plain and simple. You can wake up now and move on to the next post. Thanks for stopping by.
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