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2012 Fantasy outlooks: Miami Marlins

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The Marlins dashed out to a 31-22 record after the season's first two months, a 5-23 June got the organization looking ahead to 2012 earlier than anticipated. After the firing of manager Edwin Rodriguez, 80-year-old Jack McKeon led the team through a turbulent and bizarre second half in which Logan Morrison was demoted to Triple-A, Hanley Ramirez underwent season-ending shoulder surgery, Josh Johnson (shoulder) stretched his DL stint to the very end of the season, and Leo Nunez (now Juan Oviedo) was forced to return to his native Dominican Republic to face charges of using a false identity.

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This offseason, the Marlins have done a lot more than just leave a last-place finish behind them. Since November, the team has acquired a new name, switching from the Florida Marlins to the Miami Marlins, a new manager (Ozzie Guillen), a brand-new ballpark, new uniforms and new free-spending ways. Since their first World Series title in 1997, the team has been best known for fire sales and bargain hunting. Surprisingly, the Marlins were legitimate contenders to land Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, and while they lost out on both players, they won't head to spring training empty-handed. Miami signed free agents Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle, and they acquired Carlos Zambrano from the Cubs in exchange for fellow hurler Chris Volstad.

With the anticipated return of Johnson and their bevy of recent acquisitions, the Marlins enter this season as a markedly improved squad. Even so, there are a number of questions that leave the Marlins' status as a contender unclear. Hanley Ramirez could return to being an elite hitter, but will his shoulder be fully healed, and will his transition to third base affect him? Health has been an issue for Reyes in recent seasons as well, and will he be able to play at least 135 games for the first time in four years? Will Mike Stanton make enough contact so that he can become one of the majors' best hitters? Will Stanton be joined in the outfield by Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes, whom the Marlins might sign? Can Ricky Nolasco bounce back from a mediocre season, and will a change of scenery help Zambrano? Finally, will new manager Guillen and confessed Twitterholic Logan Morrison get into an online feud that threatens team chemistry?

Even with so many unsettled issues, the Marlins know they now have a stronger rotation, an upgrade at closer with Bell, and the best left side of the infield, at least in terms of offense, in the majors. That should help them exceed last year's 72 wins by a wide margin, but it may not be enough to help them to keep pace with the Phillies and Braves, not to mention an upgraded Nationals squad, in the National League East.

Breakout...Logan Morrison, OF

Morrison hadn't shown home run power in the upper minors, so his 23 homers in his first full year in the majors came as a welcomed surprise. Even with the uptick in power, Morrison's campaign felt like a disappointment. His calling card as a prospect was a high on-base percentage, but a reduced walk rate and low batting average on balls in play (BABIP) left LoMo with a pedestrian .330 OBP. Morrison's track record suggests both his walk rate and BABIP should rebound, and in fact, his .268 BABIP from a year ago looks like the result of some horrendously bad luck. He is a strong bet to improve on his OBP and, at worst, maintain the home run power he displayed in 2011. Add in some improvement and subtract out his minor league demotion and DL time from last season, and Morrison suddenly profiles as a No. 3 mixed league OF.

Bounce-back...Hanley Ramirez, SS

Ramirez had a miserable first half last season, and just when he started to get untracked, he suffered a shoulder injury that led to season-ending surgery. As the season progressed, Ramirez adjusted and started hitting more line drives and flyballs, and his batting average and power numbers rose accordingly. Even though his overall stats were pale compared to his norms, a good sign for Ramirez was that his home run per flyball rate was not much lower than usual. As long as his timing and mechanics are sound, Ramirez showed he can still hit for power, and given the strength of his midseason performance, owners have reason for optimism. Though his recovery from surgery and transition to third base might not go smoothly, it's still a huge risk to pass on the type of production that Ramirez provided over his first five seasons with the Marlins and even part of last year. Ramirez is still worthy of a second-round pick.

Head-to-Head hero...Gaby Sanchez, 1B

Sanchez was an All-Star last season, largely on the basis of the .322/.401/.520 line he put up through the end of May. For those two months, Sanchez was getting home runs and hits on balls in play at rates far beyond his established norms. He came down to earth over the final four months of the season, and at 28, it's unlikely Sanchez is going to develop into someone who hits over .300 with 25-plus home runs. While he is a low-end mixed league option for Rotisserie owners, the skill set that Sanchez clearly owns makes him far more valuable in Head-to-Head. What we know Sanchez can do is hit doubles and draw walks. That makes him a solid middle-round pick in standard mixed Head-to-Head leagues.

2012 Miami Marlins Fantasy Outlook
Projected Lineup Pos. Projected Rotation
1 Jose Reyes SS 1 Josh Johnson RH
2 Emilio Bonifacio CF 2 Mark Buehrle LH
3 Hanley Ramirez 3B 3 Anibal Sanchez RH
4 Mike Stanton RF 4 Ricky Nolasco RH
5 Logan Morrison LF 5 Carlos Zambrano RH
6 Gaby Sanchez 1B Alt Wade LeBlanc LH
7 John Buck C
Bullpen Breakdown
8 Omar Infante 2B CL Heath Bell RH
Top bench options SU Juan Oviedo (formerly Leo Nunez) RH
R Greg Dobbs 3B RP Steve Cishek RH
R Brett Hayes C RP Mike Dunn LH
R Bryan Petersen OF RP Edward Mujica RH
Rookies/Prospects Age Pos. 2011 high Destination
1 Matt Dominguez 22 3B Majors Triple-A
Dominguez is the Marlins' prospect who is closest to major-league ready, but his bat is still suspect, and there is no role for him currently.
2 Christian Yelich 20 OF Class A Class A
Yelich already has good gap power and the home runs could still come. A solid choice in long-term keeper leagues, he is still a couple of years away.
3 Rob Rasmussen 23 SP Class A Double-A
Rasmussen wasn't overwhelming in the Florida State League, but he is probably on the fastest track of the Marlins' young pitchers. He could potentially reach the majors late in 2012 as a reliever.
4 Marcell Ozuna 21 OF Class A Class A
Ozuna already has great power potential, and he made huge strides in his strike zone recognition last year.
5 J.T. Realmuto 21 C Class A Class A
Realmuto won't be in the majors anytime soon, but his combination of speed and power at the catcher position will be worth waiting for.
Best of the rest: Jose Fernandez, SP; Chad James, SP; Kyle Jensen, OF; Kevin Mattison, OF; Noah Perio, 2B; Adam Conley, SP; Mason Hope, SP; Jose Ceda, RP; Charlie Lowell, SP; Mark Canha, 1B; Grant Dayton, RP; Jose Urena, SP; Jesus Solorzano, OF; Chris Hatcher, RP; Omar Poveda, SP; Kyle Skipworth, C.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Al Melchior at @almelccbs . You can also send our staff an e-mail at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Player News
Dustin Pedroia, Ryan Hanigan out of Red Sox's lineup on Sunday
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(11:04 am ET) Second baseman Dustin Pedroia and catcher Ryan Hanigan are out of the Red Sox's starting lineup for Sunday's game against Baltimore. 

Pedroia is hitless in his last two games with three strikeouts. He's getting a rest on Sunday. Brock Holt replaces him at second base, leading off. 

Hanigan also gets a day off. Sandy Leon replaces him behind the plate, batting ninth.


Shane Victorino returns to Red Sox's lineup
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(11:00 am ET) Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino returns to the lineup on Sunday, after he was a late scratch on Saturday with sore ribs. 

Victorino is batting seventh for the Sox on Sunday. 


Pirates' Francisco Cervelli not in lineup Sunday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:00 am ET) Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli is not in the starting lineup for Sunday's matchup with the Brewers.

Cervelli has started each of his team's last five games but will catch a break Sunday. Tony Sanchez will get the start behind the plate and bat eighth.

The Pirates are heavy favorites (-170) at home Sunday.


Mets' Collins: Jeurys Familia to close over Bobby Parnell initially
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:57 am ET) Mets manager Terry Collins said Sunday that pitcher Jeurys Familia will remain the closer at least initially when Bobby Parnell and Vic Black return from the disabled list due to his recent success, ESPN New York reports.

Familia has racked up saves in each of his last five appearances while allowing one earned run on one hit and one walk and striking out six batters in 4 2/3 innings. He's posted a 2.70 ERA in 6 2/3 innings over the entire season while striking out nine and walking one.


Stephen Vogt, Ike Davis, Eric Sogard out of Athletics' lineup on Sunday
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(10:56 am ET) The Athletics gave several regulars a rest for Sunday's day game. 

Catcher Stephen Vogt, first baseman Ike Davis, center fielder Sam Fuld and second baseman Eric Sogard were all out of Sunday's starting lineup. 

Josh Phegley gets the start at catcher, batting sixth in the order. Ben Zobrist will play second base, batting third. 

Mark Canha moves from left field to first base, replacing Davis. Cody Ross gets the start in left, batting fifth. 

Craig Gentry gets the call in center, batting leadoff. 


Brewers' Ryan Braun batting third, Aramis Ramirez off Sunday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:52 am ET) Brewers right fielder Ryan Braun is back in the No. 3 spot in the lineup Sunday one day after batting leadoff against the Pirates.

The Brewers stacked the lineup with righties against a left-handed starter Saturday, and Braun made his first career start as a leadoff hitter, going 2 for 3 with two singles, getting plunked once and scoring a run in his team's 6-2 loss. He's back in his normal position for Sunday's series finale.

Third baseman Aramis Ramirez is out of the starting lineup Sunday for the first time this season. He'll be replaced at third base by Luis Jimenez.

The Brewers are underdogs (+155) in Pittsburgh Sunday.


Tigers' Joe Nathan needs game work before he returns
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(10:42 am ET) Tigers reliever Joe Nathan is eligible to return from the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday. Manager Brad Ausmus isn't sure if Nathan will be activated on that day, per MLive.

Ausmus did say that Nathan would need game work--either a simulated game or a rehab appearance--before he returned to the Tigers. 


Carlos Beltran out of Yankees' lineup again on Sunday
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(10:39 am ET) Yankees right fielder Carlos Beltran is out of the starting lineup for the second straight day. Beltran missed Saturday's game with an illness, and he's not in the lineup for Sunday's game.

Garrett Jones gets the start in right for the Yankees. He'll bat seventh in the order. 

Catcher Brian McCann is also not in the lineup. JR Murphy will start and bat eighth. 


Phillies' Chase Utley out of lineup Sunday vs. Nationals
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:37 am ET) Phillies second baseman Chase Utley is not in the starting lineup for Sunday's game against Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals.

It's the second day off this season for Utley, who has started six straight games but has hit just .119/.170/.262 in 42 at-bats this April and is 0 for 17 in his last four games. Cesar Hernandez will start at second base in his place.

Left fielder Ben Revere is back in the starting lineup after three straight games on the bench. He went 1 for 1 with a double, a stolen base and two runs scored Saturday after entering the game as a pinch runner in the seventh inning.

The Phillies are massive underdogs (+200) against the Nationals Sunday, per VegasInsider.com.


Nationals' Yunel Escobar (groin) out of lineup Sunday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:31 am ET) Nationals third baseman Yunel Escobar is not in the lineup Sunday for a second straight day while nursing a groin injury.

Escobar started each of the team's first 11 games at third base, filling in for the injured Anthony Rendon, before sitting out Saturday with the injury. He said before Sunday's game that he's feeling better and he'll practice on the field, per MLB.com. He also indicated that his MRI only showed groin inflammation, and that he hopes to be back in the lineup Tuesday, the Washington Post reports.

Danny Espinosa will draw a second straight start at third base against the Phillies. The Nationals are heavy home favorites (-225) Sunday.


 
 
 
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