Mar 7, 2012; Jupiter, FL. USA; Miami Marlins center fielder Scott Cousins (6) puts the ball in play against the New York Mets at Roger Dean Stadium. The Mets defeated the Marlins 7-0. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

Miami Marlins: Spring Training Surprises

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The start of the regular season is less then two weeks away. In fact, my countdown to the season says there is just 11 days until opening day 2012 for the Miami Marlins. As spring training is nearing winding down, I though this would be an appropiate time to look at some spring training surprises for the Marlins in 2012.

Here is a list of four good surprises for the Marlins and four possible dangerous surprises for the Marlins thus far.

The Good:

Wade LeBlanc

Mar 5, 2012; Jupiter, FL. USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Wade LeBlanc (23) delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. The Marlins defeated the Cardinals 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

 

Leblanc IP WHIP So ERA
Spring Training 14 2/3 0.83 15 0.61
ZiPS Proj 164 2/3 .267 124 4.40

It is obvious that LeBlanc is pitching way over his head so far. If you are a Marlins fan, nothing of this sort should be expected from LeBlanc in 2012. He is at least showing that he can be an effective pitcher at the Major League level. Lets hope that LeBlanc has some of this dominant pitching left for the season. LeBlanc is actually starting today’s game against the Boston Red Sox.

 

Austin Kearns 

Mar 16, 2012; Jupiter, FL. USA; Miami Marlins right fielder Austin Kearns (26) makes a catch against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Marlins 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

 

Kearns AB AVG OBP SLG
Spring Training 22 .364 .444 .682
ZiPS Proj 272 .220 .326 .323

 

Kearns before a long battle with injuries, had a very strong rookie campaign in 2002, when he posted a WAR of 5.2 in just 407 at-bats. The Marlins are very unlikely to get that type of production from Kearns, but if he does make the Marlins final roster, the Marlins should expect a righty bat that can provide some good power. Kearns is also a strong defender in the corner outfield positions. His chances of making the team seem really good right now.

 

Hanley Ramirez 

March 19, 2012; Jupiter FL, USA; Miami Marlins third baseman Hanley Ramirez (2) looks on in the first inning against the Houston Astros during a spring training game at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

 

Ramirez AB AVG OBP SLG
Spring Training 33 .394 .500 .677
ZiPS Proj 580 .283 .365 .459

Hanley looks great so far coming off of his shoulder surgery. Looking at his spring stats, Ramirez seems poised for a big comeback season. I would like fans to stay on the side of caution right now. The buzz around Ramirez this spring has been great for Marlins fans to hear. But we have heard Hanley sing this same tune only to revert to his old habits. What Marlins fans should take out of Hanley’s spring performance is that he is finally healthy. Whether or not he produces is another story.

 

Donovan Solano

March 20, 2012; Jupiter FL, USA; Miami Marlins second baseman Donovan Solano (73) at bat in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays during a spring training game at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

 

Solano AB AVG OBP SLG
Spring Training 28 .357 .438 .429
ZiPS Proj 470 .250 .288 .336

Obviously, Solano is not a real threat based off of his projections. Solano’s numbers in the minors do not indicate that he will ever be a very strong Major League player. His fast start to spring training is likely going to provide him a chance to prove himself in 2012. Solano has clearly played above his head so far and might earn himself a roster spot due to that. That is great for the kid, but he likely will not amount to much.

 

The Bad:

Aaron Rowand 

March 17, 2012; Jupiter, FL, USA; Miami Marlins center fielder Aaron Rowand (33) at bat n the second inning against the Minnesota Twins during a spring training game at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

 

Ramirez AB AVG OBP SLG
Spring Training 37 .108 .175 .135
ZiPS Proj 406 .236 .290 .370

Rowand came into camp hoping to compete for a spot on the Marlins. Instead, he is proving all his critics that said he was done correct. ZiPS did not have much hope for Rowand posting the valuable numbers he had in the past. At this point, it is very unlikely that Rowand makes the Marlins roster. It will be interesting to see if he accepts a minor league assignment with the Marlins or if he moves on.

 

Mark Buehrle

Mar 16, 2012; Jupiter, FL. USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Mark Buehrle (56) delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Marlins 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

 

Buehrle IP K/9 BB/9 ERA
Spring Training 6 1/3 4.3 4.3 9.95
ZiPS Proj 178 5.1 2.0 3.69

Ozzie Guillen warned the Marlins that Buehrle was a slow starter and never had good springs. Buehrle has done his best to keep up his managers promise. This is just a blip on the radar for Buehrle. Not much should be taken from his spring at all.

 

Emilio Bonifacio

March 11, 2012; Port St Lucie, FL, USA; Miami Marlins center fielder Emilio Bonifacio (1) at the plate in the first inning of the spring training game against the New York Mets at Digital Domain Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE

 

Bonifacio AB AVG OBP SLG
Spring Training 22 .194 .219 .226
ZiPS Proj 524 .263 .326 .347

Is this the Bonifacio we will see in 2012 or is this just Bonifacio having a spring training we should discount. Bonifacio is going to be the Marlins starting center fielder and I do not know if I trust him yet. Yes, he had a very strong 2010, but a player has to prove himself for more then one year in order to be seen as a reliable player. It will be interesting to see if Bonifacio regresses or continues to improve in 2012.

 

Scott Cousins

 

Cousins AB AVG OBP SLG
Spring Training 34 .147 .237 .206
ZiPS Proj 339 .234 .287 .372

This has been a spring to forget for Cousins. He has not looked good at the plate at all. Cousins was sent down to Triple-A yesterday, eliminating him from the outfield competition going on right now. It will be interesting to see if Cousins can have a bounce back season and stay healthy in 2012.

 

Thanks for tuning in, we will get back to the Miami Marlins season preview on Monday. We will be looking at the staff ace, Josh Johnson.

 

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Tags: Austin Kearns Boston Red Sox Donovan Solano Emilio Bonifacio Hanley Ramirez Josh Johnson Mark Buehrle Miami Marlins Scott Cousins Wade LeBlanc

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