FanIQ NL East Preview

The Nationals Reign is Only Just Beginning [FanIQ NL East Preview]

3/21/13 in MLB   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Miami MarlinsBlog Photo - FanIQ NL East Preview
 
Projected Lineup
 
LF Juan Pierre
3B Placido Polanco
RF Giancarlo Stanton
C Rob Brantly
CF Justin Ruggiano
2B Donovan Solano
1B Casey Kotchman
SS Adeiny Hechavarra
 
Projected Rotation
 
RHP Ricky Nolasco
RHP Henderson Alvarez
LHP Wade LeBlanc
RHP Nathan Eovaldi
RHP Jacob Turner
 
Closer: RHP Steve Cishek
 
Key Losses: SS Jose Reyes, SP Mark Buehrle, SP Josh Johnson, UT Emilio Bonifacio, OF Scott Cousins, RP Heath Bell, SP Carlos Zambrano, RP Chad Gaudin, C John Buck

Well, Giancarlo Stanton is awesome, and Ricky Nolasco can at least eat innings and is not bad. Otherwise? I got nothing. Once again, the Marlins sold off just about everyone and what’s left is mostly flotsam. Starting with the lineup, you have two long time veterans in Pierre and Polanco who have little left in the tank. Also new to the team is Kotchman, who came off his career year in Tampa with a beyond awful year in Cleveland. Hechavarra came over in the trade with Toronto, and while he doesn’t project as a good hitter at all, he does have a plus glove at short, which has plenty of value. The three non-Stanton returnees are at least young, cheap, and can at least be decent. Ruggiano in particular looked good last year with a .909 OPS, but a .401 BABIP means that is unsustainable.
 
With all the 2012 acquisitions and stalwart Josh Johnson gone, Nolasco is now the veteran of the rotation. He usually can give them 190-200 innings, but they are below average innings (93 career ERA+). The rest of the rotation all has the same problem. They don’t miss enough bats (neither does Nolasco actually). This doesn’t mean they’ll get bombed necessarily, but it limits all of their ceilings. It’s a group of mid to back-end starters, and while their ballpark will help them,  there’s not much to recommend as is. At least they work cheap.
 
There’s not much to say that isn’t already been said about the Marlins. It’s an organization rotten to the core, and it starts at the top with Jeffrey Loria. Their new ballpark honeymoon is already over (that photo above is real), and given the history of the franchise, it’s hard to see much optimism. Stanton has four years before becoming a free agent. Enjoy him while you can Marlins fans.
 
Projected Record: 65-97
 
Down on the Farm: No, they haven’t been spending on the minor league system either, and needed the Toronto trade to charge things up. The exception is OF Christian Yelich. At just 20 years old, Yelich led the Class A Florida State League in slugging and was second in batting average and OBP. It’s not clear if his glove will allow him to stay at center, but even if he can’t, he can be a very useful player. SP Jose Fernandez also had a great year in A-ball, but is probably a bit further behind than Yelich. SP Justin Nicolino and OF Jake Marisnick were the prizes of the big trade with the Blue Jays. Nicolino gets compared to Cole Hamels, which is probably a bit too optimistic, but he is coming off a nice year in the Midwest League. Marisnick has good tools that haven’t translated into ability yet.
 
Those are my picks and predictions for the NL East. What are yours?
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3/27/13   |   Scott   |   52659 respect

I'm already on record in predicting that the Braves offense is going to lead the major leagues in strikeouts.  I like what they have done in trying to close the gap between themselves and the Nationals but I think when your pitching staff can send out 3, possibly 4 really good strikeout pitchers, you have a big advantage over the Braves

3/21/13   |   mcleodglen   |   32 respect

Nationals are slightly better, that's true.