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2019 MLB Team Preview: Miami Marlins

A look at the Miami Marlins with a fantasy baseball slant.

Japan v MLB All Stars - Game 4
J.T. Realmuto is the only fantasy baseball Superstar on the Marlins - for now...
Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images

Basic Stats:

Final Record: 63-98
RS/G: 3.66 (30th)
RA/G: 5.02 (24th)
SB: 45 (29th)
ERA: 4.76 (25th)
Saves: 30 (29th)
Strikeouts: 1249 (25th)

RS/G - Runs Scored Per Game
RA/G - Runs Allowed Per Game

The Miami Marlins are next up on our 2019 MLB Team Preview Series. Last season the Marlins were so bad that they only played 161 games. Jokes aside, the current Marlins roster is in bad shape and with trade rumors swirling, their current projected 2019 win total of 67 games could get worse as the offseason progresses. This team preview has been the hardest to put together to date, but we find ourselves here, with a task at hand. Let’s give it a go.

The Superstar: J.T. Realmuto

Easily the best fantasy baseball catcher in the game last season, the real question becomes how much longer will Realmuto wear a Marlin’s jersey? With trade rumors swirling I’m glad the Marlins were up early in this process—as finding an additional Superstar on the projected 2019 Marlins roster would be rough. Realmuto displayed the best skill metrics of his career in 2018. The jump to 21 home runs was well supported and could be reached again in 2019, especially with a move to a hitter-friendly ballpark. Realmuto’s running game has slowed considerably since he stole 12 bases in 2016. That said, the underlying skills show that if Realmuto were to be allowed/encouraged to run slightly more often, a return to near double-digit stolen bases would be possible. Realmuto is currently the second catcher off the board in early NFBC drafts.

The Sleeper: Lewis Brinson

Surrounded with hype entering 2018 fantasy baseball drafts, Lewis Brinson fell flat on his face in terms of both real life and fantasy production. While Brinson is a known name, which seems to disqualify someone as a Sleeper in certain fantasy circles, I’m including Brinson here for the sheer fact that he simply can’t be this bad. Over 406 plate appearances in 2018, Brinson slashed .199/.240/.338—truly horrible. Brinson did chip in 11 home runs and two stolen bases however. Clearly, that was not enough to make up for the damage in ratio(s) and run production counting statistics. The underlying power/speed skills that made him a top prospect are still intact. We hear constantly that prospect growth is not linear. Taking a shot on Brinson late in deeper drafts means following that statement and trusting in the process. Steamer Projections have Brinson down for: 525 PA | 49 R | 15 HR | 55 RBI | 6 SB | .234. While the best case batting average scenario may be .250 +/-, the chance for a 20/10 HR/SB season is still present for the 25-year-old Brinson.

The Guy to Avoid: Dan Straily

There is sound logic in targeting a starting pitcher who not only calls the National League home, but also Marlins Park. Dan Straily happens to call both of these places home and yet he’s far from a reliable fantasy baseball starting pitcher. Over 122 1/3 innings pitched in 2018, Straily was hit for a 4.12 ERA (4.99 xFIP) and a 1.30 WHIP (career 1.28 WHIP). Straily also suffered through multiple injuries last season, raising a durability concern moving forward. With a 90 MPH average fastball velocity, Straily is unable to generate the type of swing-and-miss stuff needed to take the next step in terms of on-the-field production. Hitters had no problem squaring Straily up in 2018 as his Hard% jumped from 32.2 & 32.6% in 2016 & 2017, respectively, to 46.9% in 2018. While some fantasy baseball owners might be willing to bet on regression here, nothing in Straily’s profile shows me that massive change is on the horizon.

The Prospect to Watch: Sandy Alcantara

The heading to this section should actually read The Prospect to Watch From a Distance. Alcantara comes after hitters with a mid-to-upper 90s fastball, a slider, curveball and a changeup. At this point Alcantara’s control, or lack thereof, is the biggest factor to watch in his development. The Marlins have no reason not to start Alcantara for the majority of the 2019 season. This means we will all have an opportunity to watch Alcantara firsthand to see if he can overcome his control issues and truly allow his stuff to play at the big league level. At 23 years old there is still time for Alcantara to put it all together; however, 2019 might be a year you want to watch from the sidelines if you’re attempting to compete. Rebuilding fantasy teams in either keeper or dynasty formats could make a play for Alcantara if his owner becomes impatient with early season struggles.

Philadelphia Phillies v Miami Marlins Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images
Our 2019 MLB Preview series will run from late-November throughout the off-season. We will cover each team in reverse order of the 2018 Major League Baseball Standings. Because of the number of teams and time required to produce these posts, we’re needing to early; before all roster moves have been made. Because we strive to provide informative and useful fantasy baseball content, we will be updating these preview posts throughout the off-season as rosters continue to take their final shape.

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