Your Daily Fantasy Rx
by Tim Polko
Robert Andino, 21, SS-R
Discussing Andino first just seems wrong as he possesses less tangible fantasy skills than perhaps any of the organization's top dozen prospects. However, his defensive consistency might mandate a starting spot, especially if Josh Wilson slides to second base, and regular big league at-bats could result in a couple dozen steals. Andino at least owns mediocre plate discipline, so although I wouldn't risk more than a couple bucks on the youngster since a terrible BA will push him back to the minors, he still possesses double-digit upside for the moment.
Apparently Dillon only will find an everyday job once he joins an organization willing to overlook his comparatively advanced age when evaluating his bat. He again crushed AAA pitching but spent his big league time divided between the bench and a lineup slot lower than Dontrelle Willis. Dillon unsurprisingly failed to overcome this ridiculous indignity in his limited appearances, yet his minor league success strongly suggests he could contribute as a regular starter if given the necessary opportunity in the near future. While that chance apparently won't occur in Florida, hopefully a more stat-savvy organization soon will liberate him from the Marlins' doghouse.
Promoting the sabermetrician-friendly Jeff Francouer in July likely could have pushed the Marlins over the Astros, but Jack McKeon's deference to Mike Lowell and Jeff Conine instead leaves Hermida as the top Florida rookie headed into the cleanest pure rebuilding year since the 1998 edition of the franchise. Hermida still managed a 4.13 #P/PA and .75 G-F in his limited playing time, demonstrating excellent power, speed, and plate discipline. Though he lacks great range, Hermida otherwise exemplifies the prototypical right fielder. Given that few players combine a .29 walk rate and .77 contact rate at any level, we must view Hermida as a likely contributor in every league from Opening Day with the chance to develop into a roto monster if he ever enters a friendly environment for hitters. Good health and continued development just might lead Hermida's career to surpass the stats assembled by Bobby Abreu while only a lineup meltdown caused by an abundance of any experienced players should deprive Hermida of serious Rookie of the Year consideration.
Nothing about this performance truly surprises me considering Jacobs posted a .329/.376/.548 performance in 407 AB for AA Binghamton(EL) while catching in 2003. Echoing those numbers and then maintaining his offensive barrage in the majors secured him the everyday job first base job on the Mets and now makes Jacobs the Marlins' likely starter next spring following the Carlos Delgado trade. Of course, Jacobs doesn't possess great plate discipline and certainly will see his power numbers dive in Florida. His OPS could fall below .800 and remain relatively in line with a normal career arc, and a lack of baserunners could provide few RBI opportunities. However, he still possesses promising power potential and only faces serious competition in the near future from Jason Stokes. Consider Jacobs a reasonable bet to return $15 on a $10-12 investment, though a potential return behind the plate could elevated his usefulness to fantasy teams while possibly depressing his offensive numbers.
Although Johnson currently looks like rotation filler, any improvement in his control will combine with his otherwise solid all-around skills to boost his effectiveness rather nicely. He probably holds a slight edge on Sergio Mitre and Yusmeiro Petit for the last starting slot next spring given his time with the Marlins last year. Of course, Johnson certainly would benefit from additional development time, and with plenty of available alternatives, only an excellent camp will provide him the opportunity to secure a regular job in the majors. The outside chance that Johnson will settle into a bullpen role similarly leaves him as a little more than an endgame flyer for now despite considerable long-term upside
Elbow and shoulder problems cost Kensing the second half of the season as he missed a great chance to secure a rotation job prior to the pending prospect influx. He at least demonstrated decent skills over his first month at Carolina, so a good spring just might push him into the rotation. However, given his extremely limited upper-level experience, Kensing seemingly needs another year of development time before meriting attention as anything more than an endgame flyer.
Elbow problems shortened Olsen's season, leading to a permanent rotation slot for Jason Vargas. Olsen now faces massive competition for a starting job in 2006, though since he already registered a few solid starts for the Marlins, I expect a healthy Olsen will hold an edge on all the newcomers and even holdover Josh Johnson. Consider Olsen an excellent mid-round reserve pick if he heads to the minors or strong pick anywhere under $5 in the majors. He won't echo the explosion of Dontrelle Willis but probably possesses similar upside to Florida's only remaining Cy Young contender.
I generally considered Petit the best fantasy pitching prospect in the National League last winter. His long-term upside as a member of the Mets ranked with almost anyone already in the league, and after rostering him last winter, we sweated the growing trade rumors surrounding Petit's possible departure to Tampa or Boston. Moving to Florida instead provides a superb environment for his short-term development. Petit faces severe competition for starts, but as one of the two prized hurlers acquired in the team's biggest deals, he will receive a chance in the majors, perhaps as soon as next spring if he impresses during camp. Dolphins Stadium will minimize the downside of his weak groundball rate while a new group of aggressive young defenders hopefully will limit his hits. I easily see sufficient reasons to continue ranking Petit among the league's top fantasy prospects.
Currently set as the starting centerfielder, Reed unfortunately lacks the plate discipline necessary to emerge as a leadoff force. Comparing him to a less powerful Todd Dunwoody seems fair, so although Reed's speed and defense may warrant an everyday job behind the Marlins' young pitchers, he could destroy the team's offensive attack if hitting at the top of the lineup. Of course, even a decent BA could result in significant roto value thanks to his SB upside, so a strong spring will necessitate spending into double digits to secure a potential $30 player.
I fully expect Willingham to break camp in the everyday lineup - I just don't know whether Joe Girardi will list him as a catcher, first baseman, or left fielder. A broken left arm limited his defensive development, but with Mike Jacobs a better fit at first, hopefully Willingham will receive the chance he deserves behind the plate. Slotting him at catcher could give Florida one of the best offensive backstops in the game, and if Girardi manages to overlook his problems limiting the running game, we'll know the new Marlins won't suffer from another narrow-minded skipper. Willingham ranks as one of the best hitting prospects in the game and could blossom into a $30 player over the next few years if he receives regular at-bats.
Only additional contact problems seem likely to keep Wilson from emerging as a significant force on the rebuilt Marlins. He currently ranks as the best option at both second base and shortstop, though strong springs from any two of Hanley Ramirez, Robert Andino, Dan Uggla, or an NRI could push him to the minors. Wilson may possess considerable fantasy upside, but unless he takes advantage of this opportunity in camp to clearly win a starting job, you can't risk more than a minimum bid for his $25 upside.
Reggie Abercrombie, 25, OF-R
I really don't want to discuss Abercrombie. He possesses zero plate discipline and hasn't posted an acceptable OBP above A-ball. Mildly impressive power and speed skills simply shouldn't warrant this much attention given his obvious deficiencies, but thanks to the Marlins' depleted depth, he appears set to compete for a bench spot in the spring. Only risk a Dollar Days selection here if absolutely desperate for steals since his BA otherwise could kill you.
Kicking his drug habit paid welcome dividends for Allison, who again looks like a quality prospect and could shoot to the majors if he stays healthy and sober. However, I want to see him pitch professional a full year before rostering the addict on any of our teams.
A poor stolen base success rate jumps out as a major flaw for de Aza, who Florida selected from the Dodgers in the minor league phase of last year's Rule 5 draft. The Marlins' lack of centerfield depth could push de Aza up the ladder very quickly if he continues to demonstrate good plate discipline and defensive skills, but unless Eric Reed falters and Florida does not deal pitching for another option, de Aza probably will peak as a big league backup.
Continued problems with his left lower arm destroyed his season as his left thumb emerged as this year's culprit. The decision to acquire Mike Jacobs, a remarkably similar player to Stokes despite lower upside, indicates the organization's unhappiness with the second round pick's development. Stokes still might emerge as a force at first base, but right now he only looks like a keeper in leagues where owners keep a few dozen rookies every year.
Adam Bostick, 22, LH Starter
A second solid A-ball campaign position Bostick to rise to the majors fairly soon, especially if a potential return to the bullpen helps him overcome his control problems. He could emerge as roster filler by next fall with another good season.
The veteran journeyman deserves a long look in the spring after his superb performance in the hitters' haven of Albuquerque. Crowell owns the skills necessary to emerge as a very effective middleman, making the general managers that lavished ten figure contracts on similar pitchers this winter look like absolute fools for passing on this potential bargain.
Fulchino no longer appears in the Marlins' plans after adding to his stretch of mediocre performances. Perhaps a move to the bullpen could reignite his career, but I simply don't see him developing into more than a AAAA options until he departs Florida.
I absolutely expect Hill to land a AAA starting job in minor league free agency. While he lacks exceptional defensive skills, plenty of teams with strong starting catchers could use this guy as an offense-first backup. Hill could earn consideration as a viable second catcher soon after breaking into the majors.
No one who posts these numbers at Albuquerque deserves further attention as a legitimate prospect. Hopefully Jorgensen won't return to the majors any time soon unless he somehow adds an acceptable BA to his developing patience, though given his tremendous year-to-year inconsistency, I never expect him to earn any roto value.
Added in the minor league phase of last winter's Rule 5 draft, Lockwood enjoyed a third AA campaign, a fair balance between the upside suggested by his skills and his 3-17 record for AA Harrisburg(EL) in 2004. I expect him to reach the majors soon after finishing his gradual move out of the rotation, tough considering his control and ground-fly ratio, he just might surprise if given a starting opportunity.
Finishing the year in Japan provided another unwelcome detour for Miadich on his path to a regular big league job. While I admit he allows too many walks, his otherwise dominant repertoire makes him an ideal reliever to begin innings. The truly puzzling aspect of Miadich's story is that he generally pitches well during spring training yet can't seem to break camp in the majors. He still could emerge in a significant late-inning role if he ever finds a team where the manager doesn't care if his closer walks plenty of batters as long as he doesn't allow many runs.
Hopefully Padgett enjoyed his two years at Albuquerque to the extent that he'll remain with the Marlins now that he could have a clear shot at a big league bench job. With a decent BA, some power potential, and passable patience, he could contribute in a limited role if given the opportunity.
Posting an impressive set of stats in the Carolina League earned Resop several weeks in the majors, where he demonstrated passable skills despite a terrible ERA. Even a respectable performance during camp will allow him to keep his bullpen job, though until you see his WHIP drop, Resop even won't help as roster filler unless he somehow starts seeing save opportunities.
A return to Carolina for Ungs unfortunately resulted in the deterioration of his strikeout and walk rates, a situation only ameliorated by the halving of his homer rate. His failure to even a trip to AAA Albuquerque after close to three AA campaigns strongly indicates that he lacks a future in the Marlins' organization, especially after the club acquired a dozen rookie pitchers this winter.
The necessity for Walrond to finish the season in Korea despite a solid skill set suggests he may never see more than the briefest additional look in the majors. I still believe he needs to switch roles to advance his career, but without a firm footing in any organization, Walrond's failure to win a second promotion to the majors leaves in the last two years drastically reduces his likely upside.
Expecting Wood to return to the majors seems somewhat ridiculous after his six-season AAA exile, including the past four years at Florida's AAA affiliate, although if the Marlins want a journeyman capable bench bat to provide veteran savvy at minimal cost, Wood rates as a dramatically superior choice to the annual crop of major league free agents. However, my faith in his usefulness as a big league reserve doesn't extend to my recommending Wood as anything more than fantasy roster filler.
Gaby Hernandez, 19, RH Starter
Although Hernandez failed to echo Yusmeiro Petit's 2004 domination of A-ball, he easily mastered the Sally League and then compiled a very respectable skill set in the Florida State League despite only turning 19 last May. If allowed sufficient development time, he should blossom into a fantasy force, though given the competition he faces in the upper levels of the system, Hernandez only merits consideration this spring in extremely deep NL leagues.
Delegating potential starting jobs to Hermida, Willingham, Wilson, Olsen, and Johnson already ranked the Marlins among the top teams for 2006 fantasy rookie talent before they started dealing veterans. While I hoped to use the excuse of slotting several of the team's new acquisitions with their old clubs as reason for leaving Florida behind Arizona, the Marlins simply possess too much rookie depth to ignore even without considering the youngsters acquired from the Red Sox, Twins, Cubs, and the Rule 5 draft. Yes, the Marlins now possess so many pitching prospects that no one save Petit and Anibal Sanchez appears guaranteed a long look in the majors. The risk of gambling on the wrong prospect given the likelihood of heavy rookie rotation throughout 2006 also concerns me, but with so many sources of future fantasy value and the presence of Jeremy Hermida, who ranks next to Conor Jackson as the best fantasy prospect in the game, Florida's collection of talent simply mandates the top spot.
Current ranking of potentially helpful fantasy depth for teams discussed thus far in 2005, based on both the quality and quantity of players ready to contribute in the majors, as well as consideration of the trade value of minor league draft picks from the lower levels of each system:
1. Florida Marlins(Hermida, Jacobs, E.Reed, Willingham, J.Wilson, Petit, Olsen)
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