KFFL answers some important fantasy baseball questions for each Major League Baseball team as spring training approaches. What must fantasy baseball players know about the Florida Marlins?
How will the Fish replace Dan Uggla's power production?
The Atlanta Braves' new second sacker slugged 33 homers and drove in 105 in 2010. Omar Infante will come up a little short.
Obviously, the imposing Michael Stanton, who smoked 22 round-trippers in his first 359 big league at-bats, is part of the next wave. Free-agent pickup John Buck hit the 20-homer plateau last season with the Toronto Blue Jays. His average probably won't hold up, but he gives Florida punch from behind the plate the plate that they haven't had since Miguel Olivo wore teal.
Stanton the man?
The hulky Logan Morrison, 23, is a big component. Since he smacked 24 dingers in A ball in 2007, his isolated power has been sub-.200. Unrealized potential? Maybe, but a fractured thumb and shoulder soreness in the past two years have no doubt played a part. If he's healthy, he can hit 15 or 20, too.
Who will rule the bullpen this year?
Clay Hensley performed admirably last year, especially as the closer for the final month. A starter's bag of tricks helps him offset his soft, non-traditional stuff. His numbers are due for some correction, but he may prove to be reliable yet. The Marlins also have potential future closers in Ryan Webb and Jose Ceda on the 40-man.
The front office has already tabbed Leo Nunez, he of the hard yet straight fastball, as closer, though. He seemed to make strides that should help him to gain a stronger hold on the job, and threats should keep his price low. Nunez generated more swings and misses with increased changeup usage in the past two years, and he induced more grounders in 2010.
Now that Javier Vazquez is back in the NL, he's a go, right?
Vazquez was extremely successful in the NL East in 2009. Florida's park is much friendlier to hurlers than his recent AL home yards (Yankee Stadium, I or II, and U.S. Cellular Field). And the right-hander has flourished more often when the stakes are low. He may have fouled up his mechanics in the Bronx, which could help to explain his velocity's big dip.
Vazquez, 34, is busting his butt in hopes of cashing in after this season. But how much of the 3 mph he lost on his heat will he regain? Can he handle the pressure he puts on himself? This is looking like the last, best year to invest in him, but there are negative signs about his ability that didn't exist entering previous bounce-back campaigns.
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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