My $0.02 from the wilds of Jupiter, Florida…
Without the run support generated by Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, I don’t see the Phillies as the sure thing that the moss-covered Northeast Sporting Press does. The Mets are down in the cellar until they can recover from front-office money and decision woes. That leaves the Braves and the Nationals as threats to us in the NL East. The Braves are in the process of losing Chipper Jones, but still have Dan Uggla and Fredi Gonzalez. To their credit, Craig Kimbrel looks like a stud 9th inning man and Jason Heyward is likely to shake off his sophomore slump. Overall, I think our off season moves and new ballpark trump what’s going on in Atlanta. On the other hand, the Nationals look like this might be their first season of .500 ball. Strasburg looked fantastic this spring, as did Jordan Zimmerman. Also, Bryce Harper is waiting in the wings. However, I don’t think that Jayson Werth is going to have a plus season. I see some DL time for him. The Nationals are a threat. With that said, I see:
1) Miami (86-92)
2) Washington (80-85)
3) Philadelphia (80-85)
4) Atlanta (78-82)
5) New York (68-70)
I think that the buzz about the new ballpark will cool off by late June, but the effects will be felt by the team through September. I also think that last year’s July and August were anomalies that we won’t see again this year. I think that the impact of the energy and enthusiasm that Jose Reyes brings is underrated. He’ll have everyone playing up, whether they realize it or not. The bottom line for me is that the new payroll and an air-conditioned ballpark are going to bounce the Marlins to the top of the division, and we’ll be playing ball in October.
Sure, as of now (disregarding major injuries) I have the Marlins going 89-73. I think we will be battling for the 2/3 in the East the majority of the season with the Braves and Nationals. Nearing the deadline, I think we make a move for a legit CF and that will put us over the rest allowing us to win our 3rd Wild Card birth. My bold prediction on the year is that G. Stanton will lead the majors in HRs and will become known as THE best young guy in the game. Also expecting big years from Hanley, Morrison, and Anibal Sanchez. Surprise breakout player of the year- Steve Cishek. Player who will make us pull out our hair- Ricky Nolasco
Prediction of record: 88-74
The Marlins should be much improved this season, but it may be a bit much too expect the roation to go through the season without injury or some struggles. 3rd in the East, behind Philly and Atlanta.
The fate of the Marlins season hinges on health. Hanley, Reyes, Morrison, Stanton, Josh Johnson, and Anibal Sanchez have to stay healthy for this team to get their win total into the 90s, where they’ll need to be to get a playoff spot. Even with the additional wildcard in 2012 it should still take at least 90 wins to get in. A fifteen game turnaround from last year is a big swing. I’m taking into account the new free agents, the new stadium, and the new excitement surrounding the team. However, injuries will keep the Marlins out of the playoffs. I’m not confident that LoMo and Stanton can be in the lineup for 140 to 150 games. Reyes is one hamstring pull from missing significant time, although his chances of staying healthy in the climate controlled warmth of South Florida are better. Hanley will have a big year and JJ will finally throw significant innings. If Stanton and Morrison can stay in the lineup then 90 wins is a real possibility.
88 wins for the Marlins
James Etzbach Jr.
93-69 with a wild card birth
Total Projection (Position Players): 26.5 WAR
Total Projection (Pitchers): 18.0 WAR
Total Projection: 44.5 WAR
Estimated W-L Record: 87-75
Projected WARP: 37.0 WARP
Projected W-L Record: 87-75
FanGraphs Position Power Rankings (ZiPS)
Projected WAR: 42.7 WAR
Projected W-L Record: 85-77
FanGraphs Fans Projection
Projected WAR: 48.4 WAR
Projected W-L Record: 90-72
Like I mentioned earlier, the Marlins have the talent to get anywhere from 85-88 wins. Any more then that would require some luck and injury free baseball for most of the season. It is still possible that the Marlins could chunk on a few wins if they trade for a player at the deadline.
Should be very interesting to see how the 2012 season plays out for the Marlins and every other team. Make some predictions in the comments and we will save those for the end of the season to review how close everyone came on their predictions.