Florida Marlins Last Year: 84-77 3rd in NL East This Year: 4th in NL East
Florida quietly finished above .500 last year. The city of Miami does not really deserve this team. The Marlins have won 2 World Series in only 15 years of existence. They have been over .500 two of the last four years. They have stars in Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla. They have had stars such as Miguel Cabrera, Luis Castillo, Mike Lowell, Josh Beckett, A.J. Burnett and Moises Alou and no one shows up. They use the excuse that they play in a terrible stadium but I would much rather sit outside in Miami at a football stadium than indoors in the Metrodome. They are always full of exciting young talent which gets wasted on the 1,000 fans watching.
Opening Day Lineup w/Projections CF Cameron Maybin .257 7 HR 33 RBI 27 SB C John Baker .279 9 HR 63 RBI SS Hanley Ramirez .308 36 HR 97 RBI 33 SB 1B Jorge Cantu .271 25 HR 91 RBI 2B Dan Uggla .263 30 HR 97 RBI LF Jeremy Hermida .267 19 HR 69 RBI RF Cody Ross .262 24 HR 77 RBI 3B Dallas McPherson .267 23 HR 57 RBI P Ricky Nolasco
Rotation RHP Ricky Nolasco 13-10 3.75 ERA 183 K RHP Josh Johnson 12-8 3.41 ERA 154 K RHP Chris Volstad 9-9 3.45 ERA 112 K LHP Andrew Miller 7-12 4.87 ERA 112 K RHP Anibal Sanchez 5-9 4.87 ERA 103 K
CP RHP Matt Lindstrom 3.44 ERA 32 SV 57 K
Best Case Scenario: Cameron Maybin and Dallas McPherson step up and contribute to compensate for losses of Willingham and Matt Jacobs. The pitching staff stays healthy and continues its development. Hanley finally cares about defense and Uggla replaces his iron mitt for a leather one and helps out the pitching staff. This team equals last year's record and place in the division.
Worst Case Scenario: Maybin is still not ready, McPherson hits 42 Home runs again but it is still in AAA. Sanchez and Johnson can't stay healthy. Miller continues his struggles and gets sent down. Lindstrom is not ready to be a closer despite his 100 mph fastball. This team finishes below .500 and wins 75 games in 4th place.
Player Most Important to Success: Josh Johnson. Johnson showed great promise in 2006 when he went 12-7 with an ERA of 3.10 in 24 starts at the age of 22. He was then sidelined with Tommy John surgery in 2007. He only made 14 starts last year but showed some return to his former self. If he can fully return to himself to his 2006 form or even better he will give the Marlins a very solid 1-2 punch with him and Nolasco. This team can score runs but if they can have two aces on the staff this team will be very dangerous and likely to win 85-90 games this year.
Outlook: This team surprised a few with its success last year without much help from Johnson or Sanchez. They did trade away Willingham and Jacobs who hit 47 home runs last year. They will be counting on Maybin and McPherson to live up to their potential and contribute this year. They will also count on Cantu repeating his breakout year. I also question the decision to move Hanley to the 3 spot. While he can knock in more runs, the team lacks a established leadoff hitter and it takes away his dangerous speed. There are to many question marks and hopes for this team to compete for the division title but they have enough talent to win a few games and be around a .500 team.