Fear & Loathing in the National League, East: the Marlins

The next stop in our whirlwind tour around the N.L. East is Miami. I predict the Marlins will win 75 games this year.

On offense, the 2012 Marlins become a run-scoring machine. True to his word, Hanley Ramirez answers his critics, with 100 wRC. Mike Stanton continues to mash, putting up 92 wRC of his own. New Fish José Reyes should be worth 88 wRC. That’s a line-up that’s sure to light up the flashing-neon monstrosity the Marlins will erect in the outfield enough to turn even casual fans into Tripping Buster Olney.

But the Marlins’ defense is pretty poor. Logan Morrison (-5 UZR) is the biggest culprit here. José Reyes manages to be a slight liability on defense, as well (-2 UZR). All told, the Marlins’ defense costs them 9 additional runs over the ’12 season.

And how about the pitching? Don’t ask. Buehrle is a fine addition (4.07 FIP), to be sure, but not enough to keep the staff as a whole from allowing 787 runs.

If you like high-scoring affairs, Marlins games might be your thing this year. For as many times as the neon lights up in Miami, the Marlins pitching and defense eventually has to take the field and give back some of those runs.

These are still pretty crude estimates, but it doesn’t look like the Marlins are going to generate the kind of buzz they’re going to need to fill their brand-new Miami ballpark. Gio Gonzalez isn’t going to have a hard time getting seats for all his friends & family who want to come up from Hialeah and watch him pitch, that’s for sure.

Once again, Natstradamus must give the nod to Dave’s more pessimistic outlook:

While clubhouse issues and off field distractions take their toll on the offense the pitching staff is riddled with issues of a different kind. Mark Beuhrle has a typical season for him but it really only replaces what the Marlins lost in Vasquez, Josh Johnson’s shoulder feels 100% but isn’t and he can no longer throw a fastball higher than 89, and Sanchez and Nolasco never realize there [sic] potential and continue to be inconsistent mid to back of the rotation starters.

The Marlins bullpen is quite interesting to begin with. Heath Bell was signed in the off-season to replace Juan Carlos and he is able to but that doesn’t make the Marlins bullpen good as they are still lacking a set-up man, seventh inning guy, and Mike Dunn is the modern day version of Ray King. Combine the bullpen issues with an injury to Josh Johnson and Jose Reyes, and then sprinkle in all the craziness that could happen in the clubhouse and the Marlins could be one of the more interesting franchises in 2012, but not in a good way. At least it will all be on reality television though.

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