The Marlins decision to overturn the majority of their roster on this week created ample opportunity for their minor leaguers to help your fantasy team earlier than expected.
In the outfield Giancarlo Stanton is the sole survivor of the team’s firesale leaving gapping holes center and left field. Top hitting prospect Christian Yelich will start the year at Double-A Jacksonville and his progression to be the Marlin’s everyday leftfielder will face little resistance. One can expect Yelich to post a high batting average, more than a dozen steals and moderate power. He’s an excellent player that fantasy owners in nontraditional leagues will love. I’m very high on Yelich and if it weren’t for the homerun suppression in Miami I would predict him to be a 25 homerun guy down the road. His swing is that pretty.
The best prospect the team received from Toronto was Jake Marisnick. Marisnick profiles best in a corner but their players’ lack of defensive ability has rarely stopped the Marlins from getting their bats in the lineup (See, Morrison and Coghlan). Marisnick struggled mightily in 247 Double-AA plate appearances so I expect him to return to Double-AA as Jacksonville’s centerfielder. However, he did play well in the Arizona Fall League so while its unlikely it wouldn’t be out of the question for Marisnick to breaks camp with the Fins. Ultimately, I question how good he will be. He’ll be playing outside his optimal position in a park the suppresses power. In addition to his general athleticism, power is his best attribute but his hit tool is lacking, leaving me questioning his ability to tap into his power.
The final outfielder stationed in Jacksonville will be Marcell Ozuna. I haven’t seen Ozuna play so it’s hard to comment on him other than saying his power could be very enticing to the punchless Marlins.
The Marlins could go in many different directions for their new infield but I expect Yunel Esobar to play shortstop and the recently signed Kevin Kouzmanoff to play third. Kouzmanoff, 30, is hardly special so he’ll face pressure from former first rounder Zack Cox. Cox was a standout at the University of Arkansas but I’ve long been on record as one who doubts his ability. Still, he has far more upside than Kouzmanoff if he can put things together.
This trade left the quality of the Marlins’ rotation in shambles. Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle were swapped out for Henderson Alvarez, leaving the rotation will little depth and experience. Top prospect Jose Fernandez wasn’t challenged during his short Jupiter stint so he too should be in Jacksonville. The Fish will cap his innings somewhere below the 165 mark but he could provide a very boost to your August and September statistics should be as impressive as many predict him to be.
Watching Justin Nicolino this year I saw a deceptive lefty with good control but not an impact fantasy asset. His upside is a number three starter but I project a back of the rotation innings eater. Helpful for the Marlins, not so much for you.
There are many other prospects who were affected by this deal too but there isn’t enough space to discuss them all. With so much youth and uncertainty on this roster fantasy owners should keep a close eye on the Marlins and similar teams.