Legends On Deck

How They Were Built: 2015 Miami Marlins

Starting Pitchers

Mat Latos – Acquired in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds in December 2014.  Latos will be penciled in the ace of the rotation spot until Jose Fernandez returns.  Latos has been a real good pitcher so far during his six major league seasons.  He is a three-time 14-game winner, and with the exception of last season makes all of his starts.  He ERA hovers a little north of 3.30 and he is a 8.1 K/9 throughout his young career.  The Marlins won the arbitration case against Latos and will pay him $9.4 million in 2015.

Jarred Cosart – Acquired in a trade with the Houston Astros at the trade deadline in 2014.  In his first full season in the major leagues, Cosart didn’t disappoint.  Playing for two teams that had their struggles in 2014, Cosart managed a 13-11 record with an ERA of 3.69.  Once he made the change from Houston to Miami his ERA went from 4.41 to 2.39.  He doesn’t strike out many (5.7 K/9) but seems to be able to get the job done.  With the offseason moves the Marlins made, look to Cosart to potentially eclipse the 15-win mark if he remains healthy.

Henderson Alvarez – Acquired in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays in November 2012.  Alvarez made 30 starts last season for the Miami Marlins and earned himself an All-Star selection in the process.  The owner of a no-hitter, Alvarez lead the league in shutouts last season with three.  He finished the season with a 12-7 record with an ERA of 2.65.  He seems to be a star in the making at the ripe age of 24, and once everyone is healthy the starting rotation could rival some of the best in the league.

Dan Haren – Acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers in December 2014.  Obviously by now if you follow this game at all, you would know that there are plenty of questions surrounding Haren and his willingness to pitch in Miami.  It was said once the trade happen that he was planning on retiring instead of pitching there, but things have changed slightly as he is going to attend spring training.  Haren has been real good in his career, making three straight All-Star teams (2007-2009), and has been considered for the Cy Young Award twice.  He is a very durable pitcher who has made 348 starts in 12 seasons.  His career record is 142-122 with an ERA of 3.77 in over 2,200 innings of work.

Tom Koehler – Drafted in the 18th round of the 2008 amateur draft by the Marlins.  Koehler made 32 starts for Miami in 2014 and posted a 10-10 record with an ERA of 3.81.  He has some experience coming out of the bullpen and could wind up their depending on Fernandez coming back from injury and Haren staying on to pitch.

Jose Fernandez (DL) – Drafted in the first round of the 2011 amateur draft by the Marlins.  Fernandez is one of the most exciting young pitchers in the game.  Unfortunately he had to undergo Tommy John surgery so his return date is unknown.  In his first season in the major leagues, he won the Rookie of the Year award, made the All-Star team, and finished third in the Cy Young voting.  There are some people that are already saying he could be one of the best in the game depending on how he bounces back from the surgery.  In 2013, he was 12-6 with an ERA of 2.19, but the number that I am always fascinated with the is K/9 and he registered 9.7.  The quicker he comes back the better it is for the Marlins and baseball as a whole.

Bullpen

Steve Cishek (CL) – Drafted in the fifth round of the 2007 amateur draft by the Marlins.  Cishek has appeared in over 60 games three straight seasons, and registered a career-high 39 saves in 2014.  His ERA is a bit higher than you would want your closer to have, but he has an 11.6 K/9 which certainly helps matters.  The 6’6 righty and the Marlins agreed to a one-year $6.65 million contract to avoid arbitration in January.

A.J. Ramos – Drafted in the 21st round of the 2009 amateur draft by the Marlins.  Ramos appeared in 68 games for the second year in a row, and recorded a 7-0 record in 2014, with an an ERA of 2.11 and a 10.3 K/9 rate.  He is a very good late-inning option for the Marlins and certainly the hope is that he continues to improve.

Mike Dunn – Acquired in a trade with the Atlanta Braves in 2010.  The lefty has certainly been a workhorse over the last few seasons.  He went 10-6 in 2014 in 75 appearances.  As a situational pitcher the ERA in my opinion doesn’t matter as much since you only go in for a batter or two, but what does stand out is the K/9 that I always seem to talk about with pitchers, and he posted a 10.6 in 2014.  Dunn is eligible for arbitration and numbers haven’t been made public, but Cot’s has it projected in the $2.3 million – $2.6 million range.

Aaron Crow – Acquired in a trade with the Kansas City Royals in November 2014.  Crow was a former top prospect of the Royals as a starting pitcher, but has found a nice comfortable home coming out of the bullpen.  He made his major league debut in 2011 which was accompanied by an All-Star selection.  He appeared in 67 games in 2014 for the American League Champions and had a 6-1 record.  The Marlins and Crow reached an agreement on a one-year deal worth $1.975 million avoiding arbitration.

David Phelps – Acquired in a trade with the New York Yankees in December 2014.  Phelps is a valuable asset for the Marlins as he can start and come out of the bullpen.  He appeared in 32 games last season for the Yankees starting 17 of them.  His numbers aren’t the greatest but her could fill in nicely in an emergency role.  He is 15-14 in three seasons in the big leagues and has an ERA of 4.21.  Phelps is eligible for arbitration with the numbers projected to be around $1.4 million to $1.9 million according to Cot’s.

Starting Lineup

Jarrod Saltalamacchia (C) – Signed a three-year $21 million free agent contract with the Marlins in December 2013.  “Salty” had an off year at the plate in 2014 after signing the contract going from hitting .273 to .220.  The 29-year old backstop will have the privilege of catching this exciting young staff and should help them grow.  He brings with him a World Series ring that he won with the Red Sox which can go a long way with a young ball club.  His defense was down from a year ago but he is still good behind the plate.

Michael Morse (1B) – Signed a two-year $16 million free  agent contract with the Marlins in December 2014.  Another crafty veteran that brings brass with him to Miami.  Morse can play first base and outfield, but for now I believe he will get the nod at first in 2015.  When given the chance to play every day, Morse makes the most of it and produces offensively.  In 2014 he played in 131 games with the San Francisco Giants and hit .279 while belting 16 home runs and driving in 61.  His slash line in 2014 was .279/.336/.475/.811 and was a one-win player for those advanced stats people.

Dee Gordon (2B) – Acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers in December of 2014.  Gordon is a lead-off hitter that other teams will salivate over.  The world was able to see what he was capable of when given the chance to play last season.  He hit .289, with an on base percentage of .326, added 64 stolen bases which led the league, hit 12 triples which also led the league, and he made the All-Star team.  He would be a great addition to any team and the future is so bright. The Marlins signed him to a one-year $2.5 million contract avoiding arbitration.

Martin Prado (3B) – Acquired in a trade with the New York Yankees in December 2014.  Prado has the ability to pretty much play anywhere on the field, but the Marlins will slot him in at third base where he played 110 games with the Diamondbacks and the Yankees.  Prado is entering his 10th season in the major leagues and has one All-Star selection.  He is a career .291 hitter  and will help balance out a lineup of youngsters and veterans.  He is signed through the 2016 season from a four-year $40 million contract he signed as a member of the Atlanta Braves.

Adeiny Hechavarria (SS) – Acquired in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2012.  Hechavarria had a good season in 2014 hitting .276 in 146 games.  He is decent defensively and will improve with more experience.  It could be a fun double-play combination between him and Gordon moving forward.

Christian Yelich (LF) – Drafted in the first round of the 2010 amateur draft by the Marlins.  One of the Miami’s top prospects got to show his stuff last season while appearing in 144 games.  Offensively in 2014, he hit .284 with nine home runs and 54 RBI and also stole 21 bases.  His WAR in 2014 was 3.6 and he won the Gold Glove award for his play in Miami’s outfield.  He is a player worth keeping an eye on and could potentially reach the 200-hit mark if he stays healthy.

Marcell Ozuna (CF) – Signed with the Marlins as an amateur free agent in 2008.  Ozuna can play every position in the outfield but will get just about all his starts in center considering who is flanked to both sides.  He played in 153 games in 2014 hitting .269, but stuck out 164 times.  This is going to be an exciting outfield as long as Miami can keep them together.

Giancarlo Stanton (RF) – Drafted in the second round of the 2007 amateur draft by the Marlins.  There really isn’t much to say about Stanton that isn’t known.  He is one of the best young superstars in the game and is key to Marlins success.  He is the face of Florida baseball which the Marlins agree, so they signed him to a 13-year $325 million contract extension, which is the largest in baseball history.  There is an opt-out clause in the contract after the 2020 season, and I feel that he will if the Marlins don’t win between now and then.  The once concern about Stanton in 2015 is how he is going to respond after being hit in the face.  He is a two-time All-Star and Silver Slugger winner who has hit 154 home runs in five seasons.  His health is needed for baseball.

Projected Bench

Jeff Mathis – Acquired in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2012.  Mathis is a nice backup for “Salty” but that is about it.  He hit .200 last season in 64 games with Miami and should be expected to do the same this season.  He is entering his 11th year in the major leagues and is in the final year of his contract.

Donovan Solano – Signed as a free agent with Miami in 2011.  Solano primarily plays in the middle infield but can also play third if needed and has experience in the outfield.  He is a very good defensive replacement and can also hit a bit.

Ichiro Suzuki – Signed a one-year $2 million free agent contract with the Marlins this offseason.  The 41-year old future Hall of Famer is just 156 hits away from 3,000.  There really isn’t much chance that he gets it this season unless there are injuries.  Ichiro is such a huge asset to have on the Marlins and hope that he sticks around to get the milestone.  To go along with everything you probably already know, Ichiro has a MVP award, Rookie of the Year award, 10 consecutive All-Star selections (2001-2010), 10 consecutive Gold Glove awards, and three Silver Sluggers.

Jeff Baker – Signed a two-year $3.7 million free agent contract with the Marlins in 2014.  Baker can play most infield positions and should get some chances giving Morse and Prado so days off.  He appeared in 90 games in 2014 hitting .264.

John Ginder

Site Co-Founder/Senior Editor and Co-Host at Legends on Deck® The Podcast
In the past John has been a part of such successful sites as MetsMerizedOnline and MetsMinors.net.John was born and raised in upstate New York and has a love of all sports but mainly baseball. He has grown used to heartache with his teams as he roots for the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres too.John has a loving and understanding wife and is the the proud father of two amazing boys.He also loves heavy metal music.

You can also reach out to John at jginder@legendsondeck.com