Many people expected the Marlins to struggle last season as a team in totality, but I’m not sure if they expected their hitting to be as abysmal as it was in 2013. Just where did the Marlins offense rank in runs? 30th. Okay but how about in batting average? 30th. Let me save you the time and just tell you where the Marlins finished in On Base and Slugging percentage: 30th.
Now, we can sit here and make over 100 excuses as to what it was that caused the Miami team to struggle so much: itsurely didn’t help that their biggest power bat, Giancarlo Stanton, was only able to suit up for 116 games. They were a team that had lost the likes of Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez, who were both replaced with rookies that were more known for their defense than their hitting. This offseason the focus of the Marlins’ front office was to scrap together some pieces that were badly needed to encompass their core. From the outside looking in, this is a squad that has more dynasty-friendly pieces than anything else.
2014 Miami Marlins - Hitters Preview
(C) Jarrod Saltalamacchia: As stated in my previous Miami Marlins offseason article, there may not have been a team that needed a catching upgrade more than these Marlins. Miami catchers combined to bat .192/.249/.280, which ended up translating to a league-worst wRC+ (weighted runs created plus) of 43. Saltalamacchia, 28, batted .273/.338/.466 to go along with 14 homers last season. He will be a name to keep an eye on and could becomes fantasy relevant.
(1B) Garrett Jones: Last season, Jones batted .233/.289/.419 with 15 home runs in 144 games for the Pirates. In 2012, Jones was able to connect on 27 homers. Now 32, Jones seems to be in a bit of a decline. The Marlins are hoping he can offer them production similar to his 2012 numbers, but expectations should be kept in check.
(2B) Rafael Furcal: The Marlins, already having a shortstop in Adeiny Hechavarria, plan to use Furcal as their regular second baseman this upcoming season. The 36-year-old has only appeared in 36 games at second base during his 13-year major league career. Besides the position change, he is coming off of missing the entire 2013 season following Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. The Marlins are hoping to get production somewhere close to Furcal’s 2012 numbers of .264/.325/.346 with five home runs, 49 RBI, and 12 stolen bases in 121 games with the Cardinals.
(3B) Casey McGehee: McGehee, who spent last season playing in Japan, broke into the Majors in in 2009-2010 in impressive fashion with the Brewers. He batted .291/.346/.477 with 39 homers in 273 games (1064 plate appearances). The following years were a major disappointment, but he is hoping to find his swing again. Probably not a player one would want on their fantasy team until he proves otherwise.
(SS) Adeiny Hechavarria: A wizard with the glove, considered one of the top defensive shortstops in the game. Hechavarria struggled mightily with the bat throughout the first few months last season. He did however, have some hot stretches in the latter part of the season giving some much needed optimism that he can become a decent hitter sooner rather than later. Look for him to possibly steal close to 20 bases this year.
(LF) Christian Yelich: Here is where things finally get interesting, with fantasy relevant players. Yelich’s potential as a hitter is literally immeasurable. Considered to have one of the sweetest swings in the league, accompanied with excellent bat control and hand-eye coordination, Yelich can hit any pitch in any part of the strike zone. Not even reaching 250 plate appearances, Yelich was able to steal 10 bases and hit for a solid .288 average in his first taste of big league action. He is a player you should consider drafting in the mid-to-late rounds in a one-year league, and make sure to stash in all dynasty formats ASAP. Very high upside.
(CF) Marcell Ozuna: Going into last season, everyone kept hearing about all these elite prospects that the Miami Marlins had in waiting. Ozuna was not among these big-name prospects, but did start the season with a bang. Ozuna was only 47 plate appearances into his first stint at the Double-A level before the Marlins called him up to replace the injured Stanton in early May. By the end of the month, Ozuna had a .422 BABIP, and his batting line was an impressive .330/.371/.459. His numbers did end up dipping in the next few months before an injury cut his season short. Overall, Ozuna showed that he has the ability to compete in the majors. He is a name to watch as the season gets underway.
(RF) Giancarlo Stanton: If he really wants to, he could become the most powerful bat in the majors. Stanton’s number one kryptonite is the injury bug that has kept him from ever playing a full season. Even with all those missed plate appearances, he's still managed to hit 117 homeruns since being called up in June 2010. That equates to 39 homers pro-rated to 162 games, and he is only 24-years-old. Stanton will be taken anywhere between Round 1-2 in most leagues, and should be a first round pick in dynasty formats.