Series Preview: @Houston Astros

The Marlins now travel to Houston to face the Houston Astros after the team took two of three from the Philadelphia Phillies. The Astros have been awful, having started off with key players injured (in particular Lance Berkman) and having little roster depth (or roster talent, to be honest).

Florida Marlins @ Houston Astros (3-9), April 20-22, Games 14-16

NL East Standings

Tm W L Win% GB
PHI 8 4 .667
FLA 8 5 .615 0.5
ATL 7 5 .583 1.0
WSN 7 6 .538 1.5
NYM 5 8 .385 3.5

Stadium: Minute Maid Park
Five-year Run PF*: 0.99
Five-year HR PF*: 1.05
Stadium Dimensions:
Left Field: 315 ft.
Left-Center: 362
Deep Left-Center: 404
Center Field: 436
Right-Center: 373
Right Field: 326

*Five-year regressed park factors provided by Patriot here

Projected Pitching Matchups

April 20: Chris Volstad vs. Brett Myers
April 21: Josh Johnson vs. Bud Norris
April 22: Anibal Sanchez vs. Felipe Paulino

ZiPS In-Season Projections

FIP Win% Marlins Date Reds Win% FIP
4.42 .469 Volstad April 20 Myers .466 4.45
3.02 .638 Johnson April 21 Norris .506 4.09
4.23 .490 Sanchez April 22 Paulino .442 4.68

Projected Lineups

Marlins

Lineup Player Current wOBA Proj. wOBA v. RHP Proj. wOBA v. LHP
1 Cameron Maybin .363 .309 .323
2 Chris Coghlan
.133 .341 .313
3 Hanley Ramirez .407 .405 .425
4 Jorge Cantu .391 .335 .353
5 Dan Uggla .420 .354 .363
6 John Baker/Ronny Paulino* .335/.347 .330 .340
7 Cody Ross .319 .334 .367
8 Gaby Sanchez .382 .334 .363

*Baker and Paulino are platooning. Projected wOBA vs. RHP is for Baker, vs. LHP is for Paulino.

**Runs/Game totals using estimates of platoons component values and this lineup simulator. Totals are derived as runs/game against only lefties or righties

Notes

– The move to make Cameron Maybin the leadoff man should be temporary. I fully suspect Chris Coghlan, who is more of a prototypical leadoff man in terms of traditional baseball wisdom, will return to that slot within a week or two. Essentially, Fredi Gonzalez said that this move was just to help Coghlan get off his current slide by having him hit with more runners on base. There are two major consequences to this: 1) he has a larger hole on his pull side between second and first, and 2) he has more opportunities to ground into double plays, and Coghlan should be expected to hit around 50% of his balls in play on the ground.

– That strategy also depends on whether Cameron Maybin can keep getting on base. Maybin has drawn six walks in 61 PA, a BB% of 9.8%. However, he’s also batting .309, off of an unsustainable .432 BABIP. You have to love that Maybin is getting more singles, but if he wants to keep his batting average up, he needs to put the ball in play more. His skillset is not yet developed enough in terms of power and patience to support the 26+% K% ZiPS is projecting for him.

– In this series, the Marlins will get a chance to check out Houston’s Bud Norris, who looks like the most promising Astros pitcher. It should be a cool duel between him and Josh Johnson.

– We also might see Matt Lindstrom in action, as he is closing for the Astros. Part of me hopes the Astros do not get too many closing opportunities, but part of me also wants to hit off of Matt Lindstrom. ZiPS is high on his strikeouts, but he’ll walk more than the projected rate they are showing. Let’s air on the side of caution and hope we don’t have to see him pitch.

– Lance Berkman should be back for this series, so the Astros’ big bopper is back in the heart of the order just in time for the Marlins’ visit. Yay.

Bold Prediction: Marlins win two of three games.

Tags: Houston Astros Miami Marlins

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