Final Record: 77-85
Home Runs: 19th
Stolen Bases: 11th
The Marlins are just a few days removed from getting rid of their three most valuable fantasy assets from 2017 after trading Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon. What’s left is a husk of what was MLB’s 12th best offense by wOBA (.325), a respectable offense that only needed pitching to make a serious push into playoff contention.
Now, they enter 2018 with the same question marks as 2017 but tack on a worse offense and you have the recipe for a bottom-10 team at best and bottom-three team at worst. The pitching is still in shambles. The projected rotation is Dan Straily, Wei-Yin Chen, Jose Ureña, Odrisamer Despaigne and Dillon Peters. Straily is the only usable pitcher there and he might be a streamer at best in 12-team mixed leagues.
Assuming Christian Yelich and Starlin Castro stay, here is the projected lineup:
2B Starlin Castro
CF Christian Yelich
C J.T. Realmuto
1B Justin Bour
LF Martin Prado
RF Derek Dietrich
3B Brian Anderson
SS J.T. Riddle
Stanton Ozuna Christian Yelich
Even with Stanton and Ozuna gone, Yelich is still a star in his own right. He’s coming off a 100-run season where he hit 18 home runs and stole 16 bases. He slashed .282/.369/.439 and drove in 81 other Marlins. Despite the depletion of the lineup, you can expect the same slash line from Yelich headed into next season. His counting stats will naturally fall and I think he scores about 90 runs and drives in 70-75.
Sometimes when a player is thrust into the spotlight and becomes the best bat in the lineup he might tweak his game. Will Yelich turn to fill the power void left by the trades of Ozuna and Stanton? Don’t count on it. He owns a career 59 GB%, which is always near the top of the leaderboards of each season. His game is groundballs and line drives. His current ADP is 59th overall, but expect a small drop. He’s a safe average and OBP investment, but be wary of his counting stats.
Honorable Mention: J.T. Realmuto. I’m covering my own butt here in case Yelich is gone by the time this posts!
The Sleeper: Justin Bour
I get the sense that people forgot what Bour was doing in the first half before going down with injury. Before going down with a leg injury in late July, Bour had 21 HR, 63 RBI with a .289/.366/.548 line. He was on pace for 37 HR over 155 games. You know who else had about that many home runs with a similar slash line? Cody Bellinger (Yes, I know Bellinger played 134 games and could have crossed 40). Bellinger’s ADP is 23rd overall. Bour’s? 174th. He’s looking to be a massive steal on draft day. Most importantly, he figured out how to hit lefties (.533 OPS in 2016 v. LHP compared to .809 in 2017).
If you’re smart about it, you can snag some speed earlier and ignore big 1B bats knowing Bour will be there for you later.
The Guy To Avoid: Starting Pitchers
Seriously, don’t draft a single one of these guys in standard mixed leagues. Once you hit 15 teams in a league, Straily just barely becomes a viable option, but his 4.58 FIP really overshadows his league average 22 K% and 7 BB%. The other guys are streamers only on Sundays when you’re down to your opponent in ratios and need a Hail Mary. There’s not much else to add. Their rotation is atrocious and shouldn’t be approached.
The Prospect To Watch: Brian Anderson, 3B
Anderson made a name for himself this season after slashing .275/.361/.492 with 22 HR in just 120 games between Double-A and Triple-A. He had a cup of coffee last year that wasn’t terrible. In 95 PA he hit for a .262 AVG and .337 OBP, but didn’t find his power stroke, slugging .369 with no home runs. He has a strong glove at the hot corner and at peak could be a Kyle Seager-esque type of player. There’s a fair chance he breaks camp with the team, though I’m inclined to believe Martin Prado will return to man third base (Anderson covered for him while Prado was injured) and the team signs a cheap corner outfielder, relegating Anderson to the minors. Despite that, I expect the 24 year old to accrue at least 300 AB in the majors this year.
In deep dynasty leagues he’s worth an add as a high-floor, low-ceiling player to use if you’re in a competitive window and want someone to give you some cheap production.