2011 Marlins Season Preview: Fantasy baseball, hitters edition


Today, I’m taking a break from discussing the realities of Marlins baseball. The truth is that the season preview is winding to a close as the regular season approaches, and the only real thing left to do is fill in fantasy baseball players who are drastically fitting in their final drafts of the 2011 season with all the Marlins information that they could possibly need. Thus, today I’ll take a look at fantasy options on the current Marlins team, both hitters and pitchers. What follows is the hitters section, complete with estimated dollar auction values and projected stats produced by Baseball Prospectus’s PECOTA and Player Forecast Manager, two tools that alone are well worth the price of a BP Fantasy subscription. By the way, that Fantasy subscription also gets you all of the BP Fantasy articles, including my weekly Value Picks pieces on up-the-middle position players. Even if you already finished your drafts, you should still pick up a subscription for all the excellent in-season coverage we plan to roll out in 2011 this year.

All right, enough plugs, let’s get to the players:

Hanley Ramirez674.30495229135$42$37

You don’t need me to tell you how good Ramirez is. He is still ranked as the best shortstop in fantasy baseball, though Troy Tulowitzki puts up a good fight for that crown. Provided that Ramirez does not miss significant time, these projected numbers look about right and represent a good expectation on what we could see froM Ramirez in a fantasy standpoint in 2011.

Mike Stanton625.2488134932$15$19

Mike Stanton is a scary man, and I would love to get a piece of his 2011 season in terms of fantasy baseball. Unfortunately, you aren’t likely to be able to sneak past other fantasy owners with regards to Stanton like you would in previous seasons regarding Marlins players. Stanton is well known among fantasy players, as he is an outside bet to even hit 40 homers next year. Also, he is likely to steal more than PECOTA is giving him credit; he took off in five percent of stolen base opportunities last season and should get enough opportunities to take almost ten bags next year.

Gaby Sanchez625.2717818747$10$17

I’ve been able to get Sanchez very late and very cheap in drafts, and that is a huge benefit. Sanchez should hit fifth for the Fish, and that should provide him plenty of opportunities for runs and RBI. PECOTA likes him to repeat his 2010  home run power, but I would be a bit more skeptical. However, the exact numbers won’t be too far off. Enjoy Sanchez at a cheap cost for your utility or corner infield spot, or go for broke and take him as your first baseman and spend more on other categories.

Omar Infante650.288756638$6$16

Infante is the type of late-round filler pickup for your middle infield spot in mixed leagues, the type of player who will take up playing time on your roster without killing or helping your in any one category. He should be good for a slightly better batting average than what PECOTA is projecting, but the difference won’t be extreme. Basically, Infante is an extremely safe pick, which isn’t necessarily something you want in your late-round selections. You aren’t going to lose much Infante on your team, but you are not getting any bonus value for what you are paying.

Logan Morrison620.274788635$2$13

As much as we’d like to see Logan Morrison succeed, he’ll always be better in real life than he will be in fantasy baseball. Last season, Morrison was worth 11 runs better than average in his 287 PA, but in terms of fantasy, his two home runs and 18 RBI did not help his case in 2011. Yes, Morrison did score 43 runs in his short playing time last season, but that was because he hit primarily second. While that would be an ideal move in 2011 as well, it seems Edwin Rodriguez is more interested in having Infante and his inferior OBP hit second instead. So Morrison should hit sixth instead, which fits his OBP-heavy game less ideally. Still, as a late mixed-league selection, there is still upside to be had. There’s a decent chance that Morrison can power out double-digit homers and drive in more runs than shown here given his lineup slot. However, his best days are ahead of him for keeper leagues, not necessarily for 2011.

Chris Coghlan675.2798186719$12$20

Chris Coghlan is getting underrated in drafts these days, getting drafted 344th in mixed leagues on average according to MockDraftCentral’s latest ADP reports, alongside players such as David Freese and Fred Lewis. But as you can see, Coghlan is actually still a valuable player, capable of hitting .280 and leading off for a decent Marlins offense that should produce at least the 80 runs listed here. In addition, Coghlan’s speed game is finally catching on; he took off in 7.9 percent of stolen base opportunities, up from a 5.0 percent mark from the previous year. The 19 stolen bases listed above seem a bit high, but 15 stolen bags is well within reach given his amount of attempts. One thing to keep an eye on is Coghlan’s strikeout rate, as it jumped primarily through an increase in swings and misses. It should be interesting to see how he adjusts in 2011, as this will determine how his batting average will develop.

John Buck475.2425416571$9$9

Buck is a good late-round selection for your catcher in mixed leagues, as he is bound to provide value with his home run power alone. His game was not a mirage built by Toronto’s Rogers Centre; Buck’s HR/FB rate was just as high in Toronto as it was in Kansas City, even with the added difficulty of hitting dingers in Kauffman Stadium. Sun Life Stadium lies somewhere in between, and that should leave Buck able to still knock close to 20 homers in 2011. Don’t ask for much in the way of batting average, however, as last year’s .281 mark was a BABIP mirage.

Matt Dominguez525.2395713560$-8$7

I don’t think much of Domingeuz’s offensive chances in 2011, so I doubt you should be taking him in your fantasy leagues in 2011. Don’t worry about Dominguez in terms of fantasy baseball.