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Florida Marlins Predictions | 2011 Season Betting Preview

2011 MLB Team Preview: Florida Marlins

Hard to believe, as many of us watch the snow fall outside, that the Boys of Summer are almost back. But it’s true; teams will report soon to 2011 Major League Baseball training camps and it’s time to start our team-by-team baseball gambling previews for the year.

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Marlins Calender

FEB. 1-18, 2011 – Salary arbitration hearings
FEB. 14, 2011 – Voluntary Spring Training reporting date for pitchers, catchers and injured players
FEB. 19, 2011 – Voluntary Spring Training reporting date for non-pitchers and catchers
FEB. 26, 2011 – Mandatory Spring Training reporting date for all players

After watching the San Francisco Giants win the World Series with a weak offense and dynamite pitching staff, the Florida Marlins have to feel a glimmer of hope in 2011. It sucks sharing a division with the Phillies and Braves but Florida has a great pitching staff and at least some potential in its lineup. If we took the Giants seriously last year, should we do the same with the Fish this year?

FLORIDA MARLINS
World Series odds: +3500

Pitching means everything in baseball these days. Last season’s cumulative runs per game total of 8.77 was the lowest in 18 years. Six pitchers threw no-hitters, the most in a season since 1991. The strikeout rate was the highest ever.

That means the Florida Marlins have some reason for optimism. Their staff isn’t quite on par with Philadelphia’s or San Francisco’s but it’s pretty darned good. Josh Johnson may be the game’s most underappreciated hurler. He was a monster last season, posting a 2.30 ERA, striking out 186 batters and allowing just seven homers in 183.2 innings. He’s here to stay as a true ace and, at 27 years old, could still improve.

Johnson has solid support; even if the Marlins’ secondary starters have underachieved of late, there’s no denying their talent. Ricky Nolasco struggles with the long ball but he’s a great strikeout guy with phenomenal control. Anibal Sanchez very quietly won 13 games and posted a 3.55 ERA last year.

And what about offseason signing Javier Vazquez? Sure, Florida probably should’ve used that money to re-sign Dan Uggla, but that doesn’t mean they won’t get bang for their buck. Everyone dumps on Vazquez after his 2010 with the Yankees but we all saw that coming. He can’t pitch in the Bronx or the American League in general, for that matter, but Vazquez usually excels in the National League. He has multiple seasons of sub-4.00 ERAs and 200-plus strikeouts on the Senior Circuit. Most recently, he had a career year with the Braves in 2009 (15-10, 2.87 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 238 K).

So Florida’s rotation looks more than satisfactory. But offense is another story. The Marlins have a true superstar leading the way in Hanley Ramirez; he can hit .300, smack 20 homers and steal 30 bases in his sleep. But who will drive him in this season?

The Marlins desperately need their young guns, Mike Stanton and Gaby Sanchez, to follow up their impressive rookie campaigns. Stanton clubbed 22 homers in 359 at-bats last season. The big fella has as much raw power as anyone in the game. But the 123 whiffs in his rookie season suggest his plate discipline still needs seasoning. Sanchez was a respectable run-producer, driving in 85 last year, but his ceiling is considerably lower than Stanton’s.

So who does that leave? Wes Helms? Chris Coghlan? John Buck? “All-Star” Omar Infante? Yipes. The Marlins will sorely regret shipping Uggla out.

2011 OUTLOOK

Florida’s starting pitching is absolutely playoff-calibre. Its bullpen leaves a bit to be desired, as Leo Nunez isn’t one of the NL’s elite stoppers, yet it isn’t an embarrassment. But Florida’s offense will hold it back this season. It doesn’t have the bats to keep pace with powerhouses like the Phillies in the East. Look for a competitive bud mediocre season from the Marlins, who should hover around the .500 mark.

Prediction: 3rd, National League East

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About Shea Matthews

Shea Matthews the Senior Writer at CP. Lives and breathes sports. He made the transition from athlete to sports journalist at a young age, writing in TV & national papers. Shea applies his knowledge to sports betting + handicapping daily, and shares winning picks with the world.


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