July 12, 2011; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Florida Marlins infielder Gaby Sanchez during the 2011 All Star game at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Miami Marlins 2012 Season Preview: First Base


Today we are going to continue the Miami Marlins  2012 season preview. Next up on the preview list is first base. This is a position with a lot of intrigue for the Marlins.

Gaby Sanchez is a Miami-native. Every step of Gaby’s baseball career has taken place in Miami. Sanchez went to High School in Miami, he attended the University of Miami, and then was drafted by the Marlins. Sanchez grew up a Marlins fan and has many memories about this team. Gaby Sanchez has posted two solid seasons so far in his short career, and was coming off an all-star season.

Feb 22, 2012; Jupiter, FL, USA; Miami Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez (15) during spring training drills at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

The Marlins interest and pursuit of Albert Pujols was well documented. The Marlins publically courted Pujols at the Winter Meetings. At one point, it seemed that Pujols was going to be donning a Marlins uni in the new stadium. In the end, Pujols ended up with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim .

Feb 29, 2012; Tempe, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Angels first baseman

How will this effect Sanchez in 2012? It will not. This is what Gaby had to say about the Marlins pursuit of Pujols   .

“You’re talking about one of the best players in baseball, and I’m OK with that,” Sanchez said of Pujols. “I’m OK with getting pushed aside and having him to thank for it. If I was the [general manager] of the Marlins, I would have done the same thing. I would have gone after Pujols, also.”

Sanchez was ecstatic when he learned that Pujols was going to the Angels. He would get a chance to play in the new stadium that Miami residents, himself included have been looking forward to for a long time!

The other issue at first is the team’s ongoing issue with Logan Morrison manning left field. Morrison is well below average in left and will soon be needed to move to his natural position, first base, for the Marlins to best maximize his potential value.

Depth Chart

1. Gaby Sanchez

2. Greg Dobbs 

3. Logan Morrison 

I included Logan Morrison on the depth chart for first base because he did play there for one game last season, coming back from injury.

Feb 27 2012, Jupiter, FL, USA: Miami Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison (5) during photo day at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE.

Gaby Sanchez has been a very consistent player in his first two seasons. Here is a look at his numbers from his first two seasons:

Sanchez, Season PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA WAR
2011 661 .266 .352 .427 .342 2.3
2010 643 .273 .341 .448 .346 3.0

Sanchez could not have done a better job to match his rookie numbers. Sanchez’s main issue has been durability though. Sanchez has played in 150+ games both seasons the past two years, but has struggled at closing the season out. Here is a look at his first and second half splits:

Sanchez, Half PA AVG OBP SLG
First Half 745 .297 .370 .470
Second Half 590 .234 .316 .402

Sanchez has seem to be tired out in the second half of the season. It seems the best thing for the Marlins to do with Sanchez is to get him some rest early in the season, so he can be more effective in the second half.

Also a factor in his numbers, Logan Morrison and Hanley Ramirez missed some time in the second half last season due to various reasons. That could have had an effect on Gaby as well.

Sanchez was named a gold glove finalist in 2011. Many defensive metrics had him as solidly above average. That is a major improvement over 2010, where many of the same defensive metrics had him as a very below average first baseman.

What we can expect from Sanchez at first base in 2012 will likely be in between those two performances. It is as likely that Sanchez struggles defensively as it is that he attempts to win a Gold Glove award.

Sanchez is a player who is good, but unlikely to develop into anything special in the future. That is why I am with the argument that Morrison should be moved to left, as scouts see him as a potential star down the line. Here is a look at Sanchez’s projected 2012 season:

Projection PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA WAR HR
Bill James 624 .276 .360 .452 .353 2.8 20
Roto Champ 629 .272 .358 .440 .351 2.5 19
Fans 642 .271 .348 .436 .344 2.7 19

All the projections have Sanchez having a very similar season to his first two. The Marlins will gladly take that. Sanchez is projected to be a middle of the lineup hitter. He should be a vital part of the Marlins 2012 playoff chances.

Here is a look at my projections for Sanchez in the 2012 season:

Projection PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA WAR HR
640 .271 .346 .429 .340 2.6 18

My projections fall right into line with the other projections. I am fairly comfortable with these numbers. A season like this from Sanchez and the other players playing up to their potential, this Marlins team will be very dangerous.

Backing up Sanchez will be veteran pinch hitter, Gregg Dobbs. The less games he sees on the field, the Marlins are really that much better off.

 

 

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Tags: Albert Pujols Gaby Sanchez Greg Dobbs Hanley Ramirez Logan Morrison Los Angeles Angels Miami Marlins