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MLB Predictions / Previews: Florida Marlins

MLB Team Previews – Florida Marlins 

We know what to expect entering 2009 MLB betting for the NL East. The Marlins are in the middle of their typical five-year cycle: dismantle World Champion roster, acquire boatloads of prospects, slowly develop them, become competitive, sign a couple free agents for playoff push, win World Series, rinse and repeat.It worked in 1997 and 2003 and, while the Marlins are slightly behind schedule, they could win it all again by 2011 or 2012. 

As always, the Marlins have slowly upped their 2009 sportsbook odds thanks to some growing offensive talent primarily acquired through blockbuster trades. Shortstop Hanley Ramirez, one of MLB betting’s true superstars, can do anything and has the ability to join Canseco, Bonds, A-Rod and Soriano as a 40/40 man. Han-Ram arrived in Florida several years ago in the deal that sent Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to Boston. Another product of a huge trade – the Miguel Cabrera deal – expected to make a major, ahem, splash with the Fish is centerfielder Cameron Maybin. With blinding speed and developing power, he’s expected to open 2009 as Florida’s leadoff man and is a borderline consensus sportsbook pick to win the NL Rookie of the Year award. 

The flawed yet powerful Dan Uggla has as much pop as any second baseman in the game and Jorge Cantu has thrived as a reclamation project after the Rays and Reds left him for dead. Can Dallas McPherson qualify as a reclamation project too, or does he not count since he never really “made it” in the big leagues? Either way, the Marlins are hoping they can harness his vast power potential; he has multiple 40-homer seasons as a minor leaguer. 

Florida’s starting rotation looks like the All-Potential team. Both Ricky Nolasco and Josh Johnson have proven at different points that they can approach dominance as major-league starters, while Chris Volstad, Anibal Sanchez and Andrew Miller – another product of the Cabrera trade – have the stuff to succeed. Only time will tell which members of this dynamic young staff are ready to make the next jump. 

Though he’s battling injury right now, Matt Lindstrom looks to be the guy in the ninth inning for the Marlins in the 2009 MLB odds. He’s unproven, but he throws gas – 100-plus MPH gas – and doesn’t have much competition for the job. 

Online betting fans should understand that Marlins aren’t ready to contend for the NL East crown, especially since they share a division with the defending World Series champion Phillies and improved Mets. However, they have the talent to match their 84-win 2008 season and should be fun to watch.

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