Is There Baseball in Florida in 2017? The MadProf Tries to Avoid Florida Man


Baseball and the Marlins suffered a terrible loss in 2016 with the death of Jose Fernandez.  He was a quality player who, when on, could legitimately claim to rival Kershaw.

South Floridians will be awaiting the publication of the 2017 Fantasy Football guides a bit less eagerly than their West Coast buds up in Tampa.  As noted last week, the Team Formerly Known as Satan’s Rays has some glimmers of hope if its young pitching staff can pull together.   In contrast, the Marlins have no pitching to count on. So, they will need double-digit run production if they are going to be better than .500.  The lineup has some stud hitters and, impressive production is not out of the question.  But, alas, the pitching staff leaves a lot to be desired.

Recap: 2016.

The 2016 Marlins were a veritable totem pole of mediocrity.  They finished 15.5 games behind the Nationals with a 79-82 record.  They were also a model of mediocre consistency (consistent mediocrity??):  40-40 at home, 39-42 away.  You could almost set your mediocre watch by them.

And not to beat a dead horse any further into the ground than necessary… BUT…what is up with Florida baseball?  Seriously, Florida boasts two of the worst five attendance rates in major league baseball.  Check out these data from our friends at baseball reference (http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/MLB/2016-misc.shtml):

 

  Total attendance Attendance per game
27 MIA 1,712,417 21,405
28 CLE 1,591,667 19,650
29 OAK 1,521,506 18,784
30 TBR 1,286,163 15,879

 

#Seriously Department.  The combined attendance of the two teams would tie them for seventh place among all MLB teams.  Of course, and to be fair, the Marlins owners are doing their best to piss off their fans… The Rays, at least, can blame Satan for their woes.  The Marlins have Loria.  Seriously, Loria is such a good owner, Donald Trump was considering him as a possible Ambassador to France.(http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2017/02/15/marlins-owner-jeffrey-loria-white-house-france-ambassador/97970794/).  Maybe, if he can sell the team, he’ll head to France and the fans will return.

Home of the 2016 AL Champs

On the other hand—and I appreciate that this is a deviation from the theme of the article–wassup with the Indians fans?  #WTF?  They made it to and played in one of the greatest World Series–if not sports championships–of all time.  Seriously.  This was almost as glorious as that FANTASTIC, awe-inspiring, historic victory by Mr. Brady and Mr. Belichick’s New England Patriots. Someone call the fans and remind them that the lease is up in 2023.

And for anyone in Tampa that I irritated last week, please.  Relax.  Baseball teams are like pups.  Pups are wonderful.  Their owners are the ones that have them do their business on your lawn.  Pups are cool.  I can do without their owners. Baseball players are cool…

Thus endeth the rant. Back to the column

The 2016 Marlin’s offense was lame. Their team batting average was solid.  Beyond that, well…

BA .263 4th
R 655 27th
HR 128 29th
OBP .322 15th
OPS .733 25th
R/G 4.02 27th

It’s important to keep in mind that the lineup was decimated by injury or lost PT.  Gordon had to sit out the first part of the season (and still stole a ton of bases).  Stanton was hurt.  Bour was hurt.  Put those guys in for a full season and you have a radically improved batting order

Meanwhile, the pitching was not horrible:

ERA 4.05 10th
RA/G 4,24 8th
WHIP 1.35 20th
K 1379 8th
BB 595 29th

 

But, those numbers include Fernandez.  Remove him and replace him with Volquez and Straily and, well… The staff walked too many opposing batters and paid the price.  If you can count on your offense for barely 4 runs of support per game, you can’t afford to be giving out free passes.

 

Looking Towards 2017

Well, gentle reader, the team seems destined again for the middle of the NL East even if they do improve upon last year’s .500 record (if they are healthy, they should).  The Nationals are going to win the division again.  The only reason to doubt that is if the Mets SP stay healthy.  If so, this will be an epic battle.  Nonetheless, the Marlins could be fun to watch.  Last year, Stanton, Gordon and Bour were not there for the entire season.  If they can stay healthy and the rest of the lineup produces more or less as predicted, there is profit to be made here.

Steamer predictions (Source: Rotochamp.  Accessed 11 March 2017: http://rotochamp.com/baseball/TeamPage.aspx?TeamID=MIA ) offer a pretty solid lineup for 2017. With Gordon, Stanton and Bour projected over a full season, this does not look half bad.

 

Player POS AB R HR RBI SB AVG OPS
Dee Gordon 2B 591 87 3 35 51 0.279 0.671
Martin Prado 3B 540 61 9 66 2 0.296 0.756
Christian Yelich OF 551 77 14 74 13 0.294 0.805
Giancarlo Stanton OF 468 70 34 92 4 0.254 0.861
Marcell Ozuna OF 568 70 20 72 1 0.264 0.744
Justin Bour 1B 435 48 22 76 0 0.257 0.780
J.T. Realmuto C 414 48 9 42 9 0.287 0.747
Adeiny Hechavarria SS 555 59 4 45 4 0.256 0.631

Up and down, this lineup is solid.  Gordon remains a nightmare on the basepaths.  That kind of speed atop any lineup is great.  In this one, I’d be on more than 100R.  Prado is a solid #2 hitter.  He is steady and his skill set remains solid.  Gordon is fast enough not to take the bat out of his hands and Prado will offer solid production getting Gordon from first to third in a hurry.

Yelich and Ozuna are solid young players who have not hit their peak yet. Both are 20 HR threats and Yelich has 20+ SB speed.  Bour and Stanton are injury-prone buy low candidates.  Stanton has played more than 140 games twice.  His bat is prodigious.  If healthy, he is a legitimate 40 HR threat.  Bour is a threat to hit 30.  Both need to prove that they can endure an entire season.  Nonetheless, if they are healthy, they will produce real as well as fantasy dividends.

Realmuto is a top-ten catcher who boasts speed and, essentially, leadoff capability.  He is only 25 and he gives the team flexibility.  He and Prado are interchangeable in the 2-hole.  In fantasyland, Realmuto offers real value. You can get him most likely for a price in the low single digits.  He does not offer Posey’s profile or the real power of Gattis or potential power of Sanchez.  But, power is cheap nowadays and to have this skill set for $5+/- will enable you to spread those saved funds elsewhere.

Hechavarria is in the 8-hole.  He belongs there.  His bat was a liability and he offered little in the way of offense or fantasy profit in 2016.  On the other hand, he owns a skill set that delivered a .270 BA in 2014 and 2015.  He might rebound in 2017 (though not from the bottom of the order).  He’s a backup in most fantasy formats.

 

ROTATION

There is no way to replace Jose Fernandez.  Nuf said.
The Marlins picked up Dan Straily and Edinson Volquez in the off-season.  Nonetheless, the hole left by Fernandez is still there gaping, wide open.  The back end of the rotation is better, in terms of expectations, than the front.  Chen is nobody’s ace or #1.  Volquez and Strailly are capable of having sub-fpit ERAs. But Volquez fell apart in his second season with Kansas City.  He was clearly a desperation move.  Straily had a solid year with the Reds.  If he can repeat with the Marlins, he will be a solid edition. Adam Conley showed he could pitch as a solid #2 or #3 SP. But, a finger injury derailed last season so keep an eye on him.

 

IP W L ERA WHIP K BB SwStrike Fastball
Wei-Yin Chen 197 10 12 4.16 1.25 156 40 9.10% 90.7 mph
Tom Koehler  169 7 12 4.31 1.41 134 73 9.70% 91.9 mph
Edinson Volquez  185 9 12 4.14 1.42 138 71 8.50% 93.2 mph
Dan Straily  176 9 11 4.19 1.22 150 69 10.20% 89.3 mph
Adam Conley  135 8 7 3.87 1.38 124 58 9.80% 91.0 mph
Jeff Locke   122 5 9 4.35 1.45 81 42 8.40% 91.5 mph
Justin Nicolino  85 4 6 4.34 1.33 37 18 4.90% 89.2 mph

Seriously, though, this is a nightmarishly bad pitching staff.  Conley and Straily will be worthwhile $1 pickups.  But, the rest of these guys really belong on someone else’s fantasy squad.

 

BULLPEN

If there is hope on this pitching staff, it is in the bullpen.

Player IP W L SV ERA WHIP K BB SwStrike Fastball
A.J. Ramos 63 3 3 38 3.00 1.220 74 32 12.00% 91.9 mph
Brad Ziegler  65 4 4 2 3.32 1.220 48 22 11.70% 83.9 mph
Junichi Tazawa  50 3 3 2 3.42 1.260 52 13 13.00% 92.8 mph
David Phelps  72 4 4 0 3.50 1.280 71 27 9.80% 93.5 mph
Kyle Barraclough  65 4 4 0 2.22 1.180 97 39 13.80% 95.6 mph
Nick Wittgren 55 3 3 0 3.60 1.110 45 12 6.40% 92.2 mph
Jake Esch 45 2 3 0 4.20 1.400 24 13 9.80% 90.0 mph
Severino Gonzalez 35 2 2 0 3.86 1.370 29 7 11.10% 93.4 mph
Odrisamer Despaigne  30 2 2 0 4.20 1.430 19 10 7.90% 92.7 mph
Elvis Araujo 20 1 1 0 4.05 1.500 20 10 10.90% 92.2 mph

Ramos is a serviceable closer.  He’s in the hot seat though.  Miami raided Boston’s bullpen and came away with Brad Ziegler and Junichi Tazawa.  Ziegler still has legitimate closer skills.  He is definitely worth a speculative pickup if he does not claim the closer’s role in Spring Training.  Tazawa has had flashes of brilliance.  But he remains erratic.  He is a source of strikeouts.  But his second half in Boston last year was horrible.  This may be due to lingering injury.  Nonetheless, he is clearly third chair at best in this bullpen.

The one to watch here, IMHO, is Barraclough.  He has closer worthy skills and could claim the role if Ramos were to falter or Ziegler not return to form.  Regardless, he will be a solid source of K and holds. Snap him up cheap when the draft is in a lull.

Position Battles…

There is not much going on here in terms of real battles.  The weakness of the SP rotation opens the possibility that some bullpen denizens may be called upon to spot start.  With any decent performance, this could lead to a “battle” of sorts.  But hardly one that will concern fantasy owners.

Final Thoughts and Fantasy Breakdowns

Miami will need to win baseball games with football scores this year.  The lineup will have to produce.  If healthy, the Marlins offer 8 solid bats that could help your lineup.  Yelich and Ozuna will command good prices, though the Marlins’ mediocrity may depress their value a tad.  Meanwhile, if Bour and Stanton look good in Spring Training, keep an eye on them.  There is a good chance that they will be undervalued due to their rough 2016 outings.

The starters offer only end of the auction value.  For a buck, Conley is worth a flyer.  Maybe Straily.  While the bullpen is solid, it can’t produce saves if the SPs fail to deliver save situations. So, Ramos, Ziegler and Barraclough are solid sources of Ks and holds that will help your ERA and WHIP.  But, you can bet that they will not see enough save situations to make them solid fantasy closers.

Next up: the Boston Red Sox

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Major League Fantasy Football 2017 League Openings

(Click the RED link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday March 5th, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #77 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. This week we break down both Central divisions. We will discuss potential lineups, rotations, bullpens, and any minor league potential for each team along with a heavy fantasy spin.

Our guests this week are Hernan Batista, and Jesse Ellison. Jessie is the owner of Ellison Baseball Instruction in S.E. VA. You can visit his organization at ebicamps.com. Hernan is a frequent guest on our shows, and an experienced MLFB league member.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

(Click the RED link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday March 12th, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #78 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. This week we break down both West divisions. We will discuss potential lineups, rotations, bullpens, and any minor league potential for each team along with a heavy fantasy spin.

Our guests this week are Kevin Bzdek and Kevin O’Hara. Kevin Bzdek is one of our newest additions to our baseball writing staff in 2017. His articles publish every Friday morning. Kevin O’Hara is a big dynasty baseball fan and a moderator for the fantasy baseball community on reddit.com.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”



Categories: Baseball Writers, Fantasy Baseball, Major League Fantasy Sports, miami, MLFS Authors, N.L. East

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