Sunday, January 4, 2015

Next Year's Line Up

           Well, Marlins management was either paying close attention to my blog worrying that Stanton might turn out to be like A-Rod in Texas, or maybe they were just exhibiting good sense. At any rate, they've made a bunch of moves. Are they enough to get Marlins to playoffs? Here's my analysis of the position players.
1B -- Michael Morse. 33 on opening day. He had 208 total bases in 2014, on base percentage of .336, costing $8 million . Replacing Garrett Jones, who will be 34, who had 204 total bases and .309 OBP and would have cost $2.75 million, if I understand correctly. This feels in my gut like an upgrade but numbers don't show a lot of improvement.
2B -- Dee Gordon. 26. 64 stolen bases in 2014, with an OBP of .326. Replaces a ton of not-quite candidates. Exciting disruptor at top of lineup. But here's a warning from “Gordon is not without question marks. Prior to last season, he had hit .256/.301/.312, so this is essentially the Marlins buying high on an otherwise mediocre-appearing player. ... Gordon struggles with plate discipline. ... This probably contributes to why his strikeout rate is so high (16.5 percent career) despite good contact numbers.
“... In fact, Dee Gordon may very well be a younger, perhaps slightly better Emilio Bonifacio. Boni similarly struggled with strikeouts, contact, and worked hard to improve his middling walk rates. He had no power, but used tremendous speed to eke out one strong season at the plate. Gordon is a better runner, and there's a chance he maintains his phenomenal baserunning numbers, but Miami is getting a Juan Pierre / Bonifacio-type player in this trade.”
SS -- Adeimy Hechevarria. 25. OBP .308, not a base stealer, 191 TB. Not great numbers, but every time I go to a game it seems I see him make a play that takes my breath away. I like him, despite the numbers and some questions about his defense in complicated fielding matrix.
3B -- Martin Prado. 31. To me this is an improvement. McGehee had a great first half, but to get to the playoffs, you have to have a 3B with more power than McGehee's 4 HR. Prado last year was 12 HR, 221, TB, with a .321. OPB. McGehee was 220 TB with .355 OPB. Prado might not be final solution, but he's an upgrade.
Catcher -- Jarrod Saltalamacchia. 29. I know he was with a Red Sox champ, but I don't think this type of catcher gets Marlins to World Series. He has considerable defensive liabilities. 11 HR, 135 TB, .320 OBP.
Left field -- Christian Yelich. 23. He's still young, with a lot of upside. Last year 21 SB, 9 HR, 234 TB and .362 OBP. Only going to get better.
Center field -- Marcell Ozuna. 24. Same as Yelich – young, lot of upside. Maybe a LOT lot if he improves plate discipline. Last year 23 HR, .317 OBP, 257 total bases.
Right field -- Giancarlo Stanton. 25. This guy is literally the franchise for years to come. Of course, everyone expects him to come back from beaning – but how quickly? Stanton can't get them to the playoffs by himself, but he needs to be a star or the Marlins won't make it.
More on pitchers later.

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