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Fantasy Baseball Spotlight: Miami Marlins

Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah
Miami, uh, uh
Southbeach, bringin the heat, uh
Haha, can y'all feel that
Can y'all feel that
Jig it out, uh

Welcome to Miami, Bienvenidos a Miami

No organization has gone through as much change since September as the Marlins have. New "name" on their jerseys. New stadium. New coach. New players. New attitude?

They've only made the playoffs twice in franchise history, but both of those trips yielded a championship. Still, the Marlins never had the reputation of a team that was building a dynasty. Just a team that wanted to win one, rebuild, win one, rebuild, and so on and so forth. However, a change in philosophy has rewarded players like Josh Johnson and Hanley Ramirez contract extensions, rather than trading them once they got close to free agency.

Whether or not those contracts will turn out for the better remain to be seen, but the Marlins will be competing this year and seemingly be in the race for awhile if it all works out. As far as some names that will be featured in fantasy in 2012, let's take a look:

Best Hitter: Mike Stanton, OF

This may be a tough call between Stanton and Jose Reyes or Hanley Ramirez (mostly because of their position eligibility) but I'm going with the 22 year old power hitter.

Stanton hit .262/.356/.537 with 34 HR, 87 RBI, and 79 R last season as one of the youngest players in the majors. He might turn out to be the most powerful hitter in MLB and I'd take a stab at the guess that he'll hit more home runs than anyone over the next four years combined. He also raised his BB% from 8.6 as a rookie to 11.6% in 2011. His .275 ISO was third highest in the major leagues.

The addition of Reyes, plus successful seasons from Ramirez and Emilio Benifacio could mean even better numbers in R and RBI. Best guess: .265/.360/.550, 40 HR, 115 RBI, 100 R.

Best Pitcher: Josh Johnson

When healthy, he could be the best pitcher in the National League. The issue is the "when healthy" part, and he made only nine starts last year. He reports feeling good right now and I will move forward as if he's going to make 25+ starts because his value is just too good if he's healthy and Johnson was even toying with a new curveball last year.

Whenever he's been able to start since 2008, he's combined a good strikeout number with low walks, and an ERA of 2.14 over his last 37 starts.

Possible Breakout: Emilio Bonifacio, OF/SS/2B/3B

Those are all of the positional eligibilities that Bonifacio has in my CBS Sports league. He isn't an unknown and it's hard to say if he's already reached his ceiling, but the slap-hitter that once lost his job was very hot in the second half last year. Bonifacio hit .314/.376/.413 with 127 hits, 59 R, 20 2B, 4 3B, 4 HR, 27 RBI, 37 SB in his last 100 games.

Compare his possibility and his fantasy ADP to someone like Logan Morrison. LoMo hit .222/.301/.438 with 71 hits, 35 R, 13 2B, 4 3B, 16 HR, 51 RBI in his last 86 games.

Morrison is a nice power option, but the sneakier pick is Bonifacio, who will be taking over centerfield for Miami but if he can play four positions for you then he could be a fantasy stud. His .372 BABIP will come down, but he's play suggests he'll have a higher BABIP than most and owners can live with a low batting average if he continues to steal bases and score runs.

Possible Disappointment: Logan Morrison

For all of the reasons stated above. Will Morrison, a below-average defender, step up and be a middle-of-the-order caliber hitter or will he make more noise on Twitter than he does on the field.

Honorable mentions might go to Jose Reyes, a great player but not the kind of player that should ever hit .337 again. It was the first time since his rookie season in 2003 that Reyes hit over .300. Set your expectation levels to something more reasonable like .280/.340/.440 with 10 HR and 40 SB. Still great for a SS.

Even more honorable might be Hanley Ramirez. As a 3B, you take almost any production you can get in fantasy. Ramirez has the tools to be the top fantasy 3B in the majors, but which version will show up? He's been showing early signs of decline for three straight years.

Rookie Watch: Matt Dominguez, 3B

When you feature something like "Rookie Watch" instead of say.. "Prospect Watch" you're bound to come up with some teams that don't have much talent near the majors. The Marlins don't have a lot of major league ready talent.

Dominguez was expected to be major league ready at the start of last season, but his bat just wasn't nearly as good as his glove. Now Ramirez takes over 3B, and if he can handle that position, where does it leave a glove-first player like Dominguez?

He hit .258/.312/.431 with 12 HR and 55 RBI in AAA New Orleans last season, which isn't terrible for a 21-year-old. If he makes the majors this season, you shouldn't expect much from him, but as a third baseman, sometimes you'll just take any hitter that shows one or two above-average skills.

Other Players I Like: Mark Buehrle, Anibal Sanchez, Ricky Nolasco, Heath Bell, low-cost Gaby Sanchez, plug-and-play John Buck, middle-man Edward Mujica.

Ones I Don't: Leo Nunez/Juan Ovieda, Hanley, Chris Coghlan, Carlos Zambrano

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