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Monday, February 25, 2019

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL SPRING TRAINING REPORT: MIAMI MARLINS

By Michael Wong

Jupiter, Fla.--This is not going to be pretty Miami Marlins fans.  One shouldn't be shocked if the Marlins are lacking in the fan department as a whole after the team traded not one but FOUR All-Star hitters (Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich, J.T. Realmuto) to gut pretty much the entire roster.  Save for some aging veterans, this is a team that will be dominated by young players who are trying to make their hay in the majors.  As a result, there is little fantasy baseball appeal here but even in Miami there are still some useful options. 

1.  Now that Realmuto has been sent packing, it is time to shine for new catcher Jorge Alfaro who came over to the team from the Philadelphia Phillies in the deal.  Alfaro was previously lauded as a decent hitting catching prospect, in particular with an intriguing power bat.  The kid began to show that skill in 2018 when he slammed 10 homers in just 377 at-bats with a .262 average.  Alas, Alfaro has some MAJOR holes in his swing as his 36.6 K/9 was in Joey Gallo territory and without a lucky .406 BABIP a year ago, the average would likely have been in the .230 area code.  Be that as it may, Alfaro will have a long leash this spring and he could make a run at 20 homers if all breaks right for the cost of almost nothing.

2.  Good luck if you bother investing in the saves situation for the Marlins this season.  As it is, there will be few save chances to go around given the brutal state of the team and the current options centering on Drew Steckenrider and Adam Conley are not overly appealing.  The initial word is that manager Don Mattingly may go the matchup route with the righty Steckenrider and the lefty Conley but also keep in mind longtime veteran Sergio Romo is also a new addition.  Either way, this is one nasty mess of a situation. 

3.  The rotation for the Marlins is almost a complete joke as the very mediocre Jose Urena serves as the current "ace" but there is at least one interesting name to be aware of in the form of lefty Caleb Smith.  While Smith is recovering from the always scary shoulder injury a year ago, prior to the ill health he was opening eyes with a 4.19 ERA and 10.24 K/9.  Smith has good velocity on his fastball and while he struggles with walks as shown by a shaky 3.84 BB/9 last season, there is some deep league upside here due to the strikeout ability. 

4.  We keep waiting on outfielder Lewis Brinson to finally show the natural skills that made him such a highly acclaimed prospect a few years ago but the early returns are ugly.  Much in the way Byron Buxton has so far gone completely bust for the Minnesota Twins despite his otherwordly speed and power, Brinson is falling prey to the same struggles in terms of strikeouts and utter lack of hits.  With a K/9 of 29.6 a year ago, Brinson is showing no signs of curbing that gigantic problem and so all the speed and power in the world are meaningless unless the kid can simply get on base.

5.  It us a major struggle even supplying a fifth paragraph on the Marlins given how bad they are but maybe old veterans Neil Walker, Starlin Castro, and Martin Prado can help in NL-only leagues with an ability to contribute a solid average and the odd home run.  Yes we are reaching. 


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