The Official Marlin Maniac 2010 Season Previews

The Marlins reported to camp over the weekend, and I figured this would be the perfect time to begin officially previewing the 2010 season. The Marlin Maniac crew will introduce you to the 2010 team position by position, role by role, and give you a projection based on playing time estimates and rate projections provided by sources such as CHONE and the Fans over at FanGraphs. Then, at the end, we’ll have an idea of what the team could be by the end of the season. First, we’ll start off with sort of an overview; what follows after the jump are the expected starting lineups versus lefties and righties and the rotation and some bullpen roles.

Lineup vs. righties

1. LF Chris Coghlan
2. CF Cameron Maybin
3. SS Hanley Ramirez
4. 3B Jorge Cantu
5. 2B Dan Uggla
6. RF Cody Ross
7. C John Baker
8. 1B Gaby Sanchez

Lineup vs. lefties

1. LF Chris Coghlan
2. CF Cameron Maybin
3. SS Hanley Ramirez
4. 3B Jorge Cantu
5. 2B Dan Uggla
6. RF Cody Ross
7. C Ronny Paulino
8. 1B Gaby Sanchez

A couple of notes from this basic lineup:

– Your first baseman cannot be impressive if he bats last in your lineup, but the Marlins likely aren’t expecting much from Gaby Sanchez or Logan Morrison, whichever wins the first base job. This is the lineup’s weakest position.

– This lineup defensively is not very strong. Hanley Ramirez may be the best defender at his position in the infield, with two well below average players in Jorge Cantu and Dan Uggla manning third and second base respectively. I have heard good things about Sanchez’ ability to handle first base, so there could be a plus there that would help mitigate some of his value.

– The Marlins are hoping Cameron Maybin sticks this season, not forcing the team to move Cody Ross over to center once more. The Marlins do have options in the minors in case of another struggling start by Maybin, but I suspect this season the team will stick with him regardless of his struggles. That said, the projections all think highly of his performance, and hopefully they are correct. The added benefit is that keeping Ross in right field will give us above average corner outfield defense in right.

Rotation

1. Josh Johnson
2. Ricky Nolasco
3. Chris Volstad
4. Anibal Sanchez
5. Andrew Miller

6. Rick VandenHurk
7. Sean West

The rotation is mostly set, contrary to the popular comment that, behind Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco, there is an open competition. Barring anything spectacularly bad happening, such as an injury, Chris Volstad and Anibal Sanchez will hold the #3 and #4 spots respectively. The competition is at the fifth spot, with three pitchers all having decent claim at the position.

Bullpen

CL Leo Nunez
Set-Up Dan Meyer
Set-Up Brian Sanches
LOOGY Renyel Pinto
Long Relief Burke Badenhop

Currently, these are the roles that are best defined. These five players are all but assured to make the team, with the only exception being Pinto, who may be traded before the season begins. The team will likely have two spots open for the litany of retread relievers the Marlins signed to minor league deals this offseason; at least one will stick in the regular rotation of relievers. The other spot may go to one of the losers of the fifth rotation spot battle. My bet is that VandenHurk ends up in the pen, shifting Badenhop into more of a seventh inning/fireman role which he may be OK at.

(Update: John has informed me that Fredi has decided on Cameron Maybin batting second full-time. I’ve adjusted this accordingly. Thanks John!)

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