KFFL answers important fantasy baseball questions about each Major League Baseball team as spring training approaches. What must fantasy baseball players know about the Miami Marlins?
Justin Ruggiano: Robin to Giancarlo Stanton's Batman?
Dig deep in MIA
Or Sancho Panza to ... OK, Stanton is no Don Quixote. But Ruggiano batted .313 with 13 home runs and 14 stolen bases in 320 plate appearances in his age-30 season, his first with extended action at the major league level. And there are plenty of reasons besides his age that prospective owners will be skeptical. Ruggiano's strikeout rate and semi-correlated contact rate, from both his MLB and minor league dossier, indicate difficulty ahead in maintaining a healthy batting average.
The right-handed hitter has several things working in his favor, however. In terms of raw ability, Ruggiano can hang. He hits the ball hard. His size, athleticism and track record purport an easy 25-25 capability. His splits versus right-handers suggest that he's not merely platoon material. The Marlins have no reason (read: no prospects in center field who should be exposed to the majors quite yet) not to see if he'll pass a greater exam.
Still, Ruggiano has the look of a player who, when an opportunity arises, will seize it, in the short term. His weaknesses - pitch recognition and control of the strike zone - will inevitably expose him. NL-only managers should have an easier time squeezing value from him because of the likelihood that they'll keep him around. In mixed leagues, he's most likely nothing more than an end-game choice and a pickup to plug and play.
Where are the diamonds hidden in this rough?
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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