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click the link that says "Fantasy Preview 2005"

 

Here are the Marlins and what they are rated in their respective position

 

Paul Lo Duca #8

A midseason trade to the Marlins really did a number on Lo Duca's stats. With the Dodgers, he was on pace for another solid offensive year, posting a .301 average, 10 HRs and 49 RBIs in 91 games. After landing with the Fish, Lo Duca tailed off considerably, putting up a .258-3-31 line in 52 games in South Florida. He'll rebound this season, and with a better lineup to play in, he should put up at least the type of numbers fantasy owners have come to expect: .280-.290 BA, 10-15 HRs and 65-70 RBIs.

 

Carlos Delgado #6

Delgado was a disappointment in 2004, considering he was coming off an MVP-type season and was in his walk year. Injuries were the main culprit as he only played in 128 games. He still managed to knock out 32 homers and knock in 99 runs, but that wasn't enough for his fantasy owners. After a lengthy free agent tour, Carlos has a new home in Florida and will continue to produce. Look for a return to 40 homers, 100 or more RBIs and runs scored, and a .285 average. The subpar 2004 may take him down a round or two or a few bucks in auction leagues.

 

Luis Castillo #11

Back-to-back 21 steal seasons is not very encouraging from a player whose fantasy value relies heavily on his stolen base output. Since he offers nothing in the power department, Castillo must continue to hit .300 if he wants to remain near the top tier of fantasy second basemen. Is it worth owning a guy who might hit .280 with three homers and 40 RBIs, just to get 20 or so steals? A lot depends on who else is on your roster, but Castillo's value is nowhere near where it was at during his 45-60 SB days. You should be shocked if he is taken in the first eight rounds of any mixed league draft.

 

Damian Easley #60

Easley's nine homers in 223 AB saved his Major League career, at least temporarily. Florida will use him as a utility player, but unless he unexpectedly returns to his late 90s form, Easley should be on your league's waiver wire all season.

 

Alex Gonzalez #28

Once confused with another shortstop by the same name, this Alex Gonzalez distinguished himself in 2004 and was actually worth owning. His .232 average didn't help any fantasy owners, but his 23 homers and 79 RBIs were both career highs and represent excellent production for the position. Gonzalez has never developed any plate discipline whatsoever, striking out five times for every walk in 2004, so his .242 career average is an appropriate guideline for 2005. But, at the age of 28, he should manage comparable power numbers for another season or two, making him worth a waiver-wire claim as a utility player or fill-in shortstop.

 

Mike Lowell #7

The only late-summer phenomenon more reliable than a Mike Lowell fade is a new low in reality television from FOX. Tune in, every night at 7:05, for "My Big Fat Obnoxious Slump." Here's the thing, though: there's some value in that. If you draft Lowell, you always have a chance to move him around the All-Star break to someone who doesn't realize that he's going to tail off. You get a star-quality first half, then you get a producer for the second half. Please use this knowledge for good, not evil.

 

Miguel Cabrera #6

Cabrera burst onto the scene during the Marlins' 2003 World Series run and thrilled his fantasy owners with an impressive first full season in 2004. He is the most feared bat in the Marlins' lineup and he won't turn 22 until two weeks after Opening Day. The sky is the limit in terms of power numbers, despite playing in a notoriously poor hitters' park in Florida. His sole apparent weakness is his mild base-stealing numbers, but he's a fantasy superstar in the making.

 

Juan Pierre #12

Pierre has established himself as the most consistent base stealer in fantasy baseball, swiping 45-plus bases for four straight seasons. He'll bat .300 or so and score 100 runs again for the Marlins, which helps, but his fantasy ranking is almost exclusively based on his steals total, the hardest to get of all fantasy statistics.

 

Jeff Conine #32 at 1B, #94 in the OF

Conine will probably start in left field for the Marlins (now that Carlos Delgado will be at first), but he's no longer much of a fantasy player. Never a big power hitter, it's doubtful he'll hit more than 15 homers in 2005, but he could drive in 80 runs as an everyday player in a decent Marlins lineup.

 

Juan Encarnacion #65

Encarnacion struggled horribly for the Marlins after coming over with Paul LoDuca in a deal with the Dodgers, though a shoulder injury is probably as much to blame for that as anything. Encarnacion can be a helpful fantasy player, should he rebound, because he contributes in every category, save batting average. Many a fantasy championship have been won by teams with a 20-20 player as their third or fourth outfielder.

 

Josh Beckett #29

Three more trips to the DL are the reason Beckett won't be among the highest priced pitchers in the NL this year. He throws in the high 90s with unhittable stuff (against righties, at least), but recurring blister problems and other injuries have stunted his development. They have also reduced the wear and tear, in part thanks to the Marlins' cautious treatment. Experience, maturity and health, if they come together, will make him one of the game's most dominant starters. He's risky still, but at this point worth a shot.

 

AJ Burnett #35

After missing nearly a year and a half following Tommy John surgery, Burnett stepped back into the Marlins rotation and pitched very well after a predictably bumpy start (0-3, 5.40 ERA in six June starts). Some elbow inflammation late in the season cost him a few starts, and may help keep his price from exploding this year. If so, now is the time to grab him. There is still injury risk of course, but the potential rewards are far greater -- so long as you keep in mind that he is a prime candidate for a midseason (if not sooner) trade.

 

Al Leiter #60

Over the years, when he's been healthy, Leiter has used a hard cut fastball, an excellent change and a sharply breaking slider to keep hitters off-balance, and even though he's walking more hitters and striking out fewer than ever before, he's still keeping runs off the board. The Mets decided they didn't want the 40-year-old back this year, and so he returns to Florida, a ballpark that favors pitchers at least as much as Shea. Stamina may be an issue at some point for Leiter, but when he's able to pitch expect to see good innings from him.

 

Dontrelle Willis #65

It takes the whole package, the herky jerky motion, the high leg kick, the fair control (considering all that movement), the modest heater, the slick slider that darts out of the zone -- it takes all of it for Willis to dominate hitters the way he did his rookie season. Efforts to tame the delivery and work the slider in earlier in the count didn't help much last year, and he wasn't nearly as effective. That doesn't mean he was a failure. It's up to Willis and his coaches in Florida to find ways for him to regain his edge. Until he does, it looks like he will have a career as a middle of the rotation workhorse, rather than the flashy star he first appeared to be.

 

Ismael Valdez

After years misspelling his own name he finally set the record straight. The problem is that his fastball is a little too straight, and not really hard enough to get by big league hitters. Don't be fooled by the good-looking won-loss record, it is the product of astoundingly good luck. Playing in good pitching parks like San Diego and Florida has helped keep him in the game, but it takes supernatural performances around him to offset all the hits and homers he allows. He has good control so there's always a chance he'll run off a winning streak, but the odds are better he'll be a qualitative sinkhole. Consider him a speculative reserve-round flyer, at best.

 

Guillermo Mota #15

A lights-out setup man with filthy stuff finds himself on a new team that gives him the opportunity to close, and he thrives in the new role. Sound familiar? It should if you took a flier on Joe Nathan last year. This year's version looks to be Mota, who mixes a changeup and slider with a 98 MPH fastball. The right-hander -- who is actually exceedingly tough on lefties -- struggled a bit after being traded to the Marlins from the Dodgers, but the thinking here is that he has the mental makeup and arsenal to make fans forget Armando Benitez. There are more proven names out there, but rolling the dice on Mota could pay off big-time.

 

Antonio Alfonseca #79

Alfonseca experienced a career year with the Braves in 2004, posting a career-low 2.57 ERA under pitching guru Leo Mazzone. It's probably not great for him to be leaving Mazzone's tutelage, but it actually may work in his favor that he didn't pass his physical after signing his initial contract with the Marlins. The reasoning is that he was forced to sign a much lesser contract that could still amount to the same money if he meets incentives. Hopefully, the extra motivation will help him make up for leaving Mazzone's watch while serving as the primary setup man for Guillermo Mota.

 

Tim Spooneybarger #89

Spooneybarger's entire 2004 season was sacrificed to arm surgery, but he's apparently ready to go for Spring Training. Depending on how his rehab goes, he could contend for a primary setup role with the Marlins. Enthusiasm should probably be tempered until his ability to rebound from a tricky surgery is revealed. Watch him in the spring, and if he looks capable of putting up numbers similar to what he put up with the Braves for two years, then he may have value in holds leagues. But it usually takes more time to rebound than he's had.

 

Todd Jones #119

Jones will try on yet another uniform in 2005 after pitching for four different teams in the last two seasons. While Jones will not likely win 11 games in relief like he did last season, he could be a valuable cog in the Marlins bullpen. His best years are behind him, but his experience as a closer make it likely that he will get the occasional save chance in Florida. Figure on an ERA around four and a WHIP under 1.50. If he stays healthy, the 36-year-old will pitch 70 innings with 50 or more strikeouts and 25 or less walks.

 

Prospects

 

Josh Willingham #13

The Marlins clearly feel Wilingham's bat is close to ready; that's why they promoted him from Double-A last year. Defense is another question, where he hasn't improved enough as a catcher and he's blocked at most other positions. Still, there's a chance he can stick with the Marlins this season as a Craig Wilson-type utility guy. The more at-bats he gets, the more he'll produce, and he could make for a very good option as a second catcher or in the utility spot, especially for NL-only players.

 

and in the overall top 100

19. Miguel Cabrera

28. Juan Pierre

52. Carlos Delgado

69. Mike Lowell

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Great read, thanks Maverick.

 

I can't really disagree with the rankings. I was wondering who was ahead of Delgado besides the obvious (Helton, Pujols) before going there.

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u are all wrong, louie was on my team for fantasy last year, he is good to get, he hits alot of hits especially when he is on, stolen bases, his average is always good, and has the rbi every few games, those hits he gets r very valuable for fantasy. now would he be in the top 5 in 2nd base for offense, NO, but i would put him in front of reyes and walker for sure, especially walker who is only good in fenway.

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