If you’re a Miami Marlin fan, you have a few things to cheer about. You have Jose Fernandez. You have Giancarlo Stanton. You don’t need to pretend to care about what Logan Morrison thinks anymore. And heck, your team is supposed to finish higher in the standings than at least one other team in the division, which is progress. But from a fantasy baseball perspective, there are actually a few other players to keep an eye on, which makes this Marlin team even more interesting.
In the outfield, right field is pretty well set assuming we can go forward with good health to all. Giancarlo Stanton strikes fear into cowhide and stitching across these United States and one Canadian city with a drunken caricature for a Mayor. His 2013 was derailed by shoulder and hamstring injuries, but that doesn’t stop the projection systems from suggesting 35+ home runs to go with a slash line resembling something like .270/.375/.555 (ish). In fact, Steamer thinks he can approach this with just 126 games played, so go ahead and dream what 600 plate appearances might look like. While you’ll no doubt need to pay a goodly sum for his services, Stanton’s price is probably at, or near, a three year low and he’s fallen well below his first round draftee status (in fact, going in the third round according to mock draft central).
In left field, Christian Yelich will presumably be handed the full time gig, with Brian Bogusevic potentially spelling him on occasion. Yelich turns just 22 this season and he’s coming off a fantastic debut in which he slashed .288/.370/.396 over 273 plate appearances. His power didn’t translate in this small-ish sample size, but he did show excellent patience with an 11.4% walk rate. Most projection systems and prognosticators will no doubt distrust his .380 BABIP although with his good speed and 63% ground ball rate, that rate isn’t particularly shocking. Still so young, one has to expect growing pains, but many expect a slash line approaching .260/.330/.400 with double digit home runs and steals. It’s possible Yelich has a comfy slot in front of Stanton in the lineup, and therefore he may sniff 80 runs scored as well. He’s more of a dynasty league investment, but in many formats, Yelich can be counted on to contribute in 2014 as a fourth or fifth outfielder.
Although I’ve read a few reports that Bogusevic may start the year as the Marlins regular center fielder, I’d wager a decent sum that it’s going to Marcell Ozuna. Also young like Stanton and Yelich, Ozuna is just 23 and possesses more power upside than Yelich, but he’s also less refined as a hitter, walking at a 4.5% clip in 2013 and a 36% swing rate on balls outside the strike zone. Steamer thinks he can slash about .250/.300/.400 and hit 16 home runs while stealing eight bags over 574 plate appearances. That’s nothing more than a bench stash in standard leagues, but given his age and upside, he’s certainly a good dynasty investment.
It still remains to be sorted out how the Marlins plan to use Bogusevic — and there’s still the possibility that he wriggles his way into 500 plate appearances. Jake Marisnick could also contribute in a pinch, but his aggressive approach probably precludes much interest in fantasy circles. He could provide some pop and a few steals, but his batting average is likely to be a drain.
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