Feb 22, 2012; Jupiter, FL, USA; Miami Marlins pitcher Anibal Sanchez (19) during spring training at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Miami Marlins 2012 Season Preview: Starting Rotation

The Miami Marlins starting rotation is already set. The top two Marlins rotation spots are locks, barring both pitchers can stay healthy. The Marlins expect Josh Johnson to take the ball on opening day against the St. Louis Cardinals. Following up JJ’s start will be new free agent acquisition, Mark Buehrle. Buehrle will take the mound against the Cincinnati Reds for the second game of the Marlins season.

Feb 24, 2012; Jupiter FL, USA; Miami Marlins pitcher Josh Johnson (55) throws during spring training at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

What is left to figure out this Spring Training with the Marlins rotation is the order that Anibal Sanchez, Ricky Nolasco, and Carlos Zambrano take. I will take a stab at how I feel the rotation should shake out today.

The Marlins are planning on letting these three battle it out for who gets which slot. In my opinion, Anibal Sanchez has earned the right to be the Marlins number 3 starter in 2012 without any Spring Training battle. Here are a look at the numbers for the 3 starters since the beginning of the 2010 season.

Pitcher (2010-2011) AVG IP ERA FIP xFIP K% BB% AVG. WAR
Anibal Sanchez 195.5 3.61 3.34 3.65 21.5%  8.0% 4.1
Ricky Nolasco 181.6 4.59 3.70 3.46 19.4%  4.9% 3.0
Carlos Zambrano 137.2 4.08 4.15 4.31 18.2% 10.5% 1.6

It is clear to me that Anibal Sanchez has been the superior pitcher of the trio. He has stayed healthy the past two seasons and has shown signs of progression.

Anibal Sanchez does not have to try and prove that he is better then either Ricky Nolasco or Carlos Zambrano in Spring Training. He has already proven to be better in the regular season.

After that, either way you look at it, Nolasco or Zambrano are likely to be the best number 5 in the Majors.

Ricky Nolasco has constantly been inconsistent and I have no issues at all with the Marlins making him earn his spot in the rotation.

Carlos Zambrano on the other hand looks to be a shell of himself. The Marlins need him to bounce back in the worst way in order to have a shot to contend.

If I were Ozzie Guillen, this is how my pitching rotation would look:

  1. Josh Johnson
  2. Mark Buehrle
  3. Anibal Sanchez
  4. Ricky Nolasco
  5. Carlos Zambrano

What do you guys think? How should the Marlins rotation look. Vote below on the poll:

What should the Marlins rotation from 3 to 5 look like?

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Tags: Anibal Sanchez Carlos Zambrano Cincinatti Reds Josh Johnson Mark Buehrle Miami Marlins Ricky Nolasco St. Louis Cardinals

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