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Saturday, February 17, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL SPRING TRAINING REPORT: MIAMI MARLINS

By Michael Wong

Jupiter, Fla.--So what's left?  That is the question centering on the 2018 Miami Marlins who were once again stripped of almost all their workable parts during the winter as new CEO Derek Jeter went to work overhauling the minor league system and opening up payroll for the future.  Gone in trades are All-Star outfielders Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, All-Star second baseman Dee Gordon, and emerging star outfielder Christian Yelich.  What remains is a collection of young players and aging veterans who will have to endure what could be a brutal 2018 campaign.  So with that said, let's try to dig into the few fantasy baseball issues surrounding the team.

1.  Will there be any saves to collect?  No many that's for sure.  Right now veteran sinkerballer Brad Ziegler has to be considered the front-runner for saves but honestly he should be at the very bottom of the closer rankings given his soft-tossing stuff and coming off a rough 2017 campaign.  The better thing to do here is to speculate on future closers, of which the Marlins have two in Kyle Barraclough and the more intriguing Drew Steckenrider.  Steckenrider has a ton of potential as a high-K guy like Barraclough but both men really need to curb the walks.  Either way, not many saves will be showing up here.

2.  How long will J.T. Realmuto stick around?  It certainly looks like Realmuto is the next one to go and there figures to be a ton of interested in the smooth-hitting catcher.  Realmuto has really developed into a fine player and he is the rare catcher in fantasy baseball who can contribute in all five standard ROTO categories.  The Washington Nationals remain very interested here and a deal could occur at any time.  Like with Stanton and Yelich, any deal to a more offensive ballpark will add even more value to Realmuto's name.

3.  Justin Bour remains a tremendous value!  While his name elicits a yawn in the fantasy baseball community, first baseman Justin Bour continues to quietly put up very solid numbers every season.   Having improved against lefties in 2017, Bour can supply an easy 25 homers and 80 RBI with a .280 average is he can dodge the injuries that have derailed him the last few seasons.  That would work tremendously in your UTIL or CI spot.  

4.  Lewis Brinson could have a Byron Buxton 2017 breakout in 2018.  The comparisons between top Marlins outfield prospect Lewis Brinson and the Minnesota Twins' Byron Buxton are clear as both guys have been lauded for insane potential/skills but also have struggled to hit when given the chance against major league pitching.  It took Buxton three seasons of chances with the Twins before the proverbial light bulb began to go off last season and Brinson may need another year himself before going down that path.  Still, Brinson can run like the wind and his power is really becoming potent.  We could be looking at a 15/30 season as soon as 2018 but there will be average issues.

5.  Are there are starters here who can help?  The biggest red flag on the 2018 Miami Marlins is the rotation which looks to be one of the very worst in all of baseball.  When you are fronted by journeyman Dan Straily, you have problems.  Straily himself is the only arm worth checking out in drafts and only as your SP 5.  Dillon Peters is also interesting but he is more of a guy to watch early on in the season then someone you want to draft.


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