Fantasy Breakdown: Miami Marlins for 2021

A preview of Miami's lineup, rotation, and bullpen for 2021.

Throughout the winter months of the offseason, the Pitcher List staff will be creating profiles for every fantasy-relevant player for 2020. Players will be broken up by team and role through starting pitchers, bullpen, lineup, and prospects. You can access every article as it comes out in our Player Profiles 2021 hub here.

 

At A Glance

 

The Miami Marlins were the surprise team of the shortened 2020 season. After experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak and having to recall a lot of replacements up, they still managed to stay in the postseason race, and they eventually clinched a spot in the expanded tournament and even won a series by eliminating the Chicago Cubs. Don Mattingly won the Manager of the Year award and they have a new GM in Kim Ng, and it suddenly looks like, for the first time in a while, that things are looking up in Miami.

Offensively, the team doesn’t have a true superstar. They ranked just 21st in the league last season in terms of runs scored, but they have gotten better. They nice a nice assortment of quality Major Leaguers who should be productive but the team is still missing a real, explosive offensive bat. A full season of Starling Marte should provide more of a punch, but the bats are definitely lagging behind their pitching staff. Miami has many explosive young arms, even while trading Zac Gallen. The youngest projected starter is just 25-years-old, and they have a lot more arms down on the farm. Their bullpen doesn’t feature the sexiest of names, and roles are far from certain, but it is possible that some of those young arms in the minors work out of the bullpen at times in 2021.

Overall, the Marlins do have quite a few intriguing names for fantasy purposes. The pitchers will be the real prizes of the draft, but that doesn’t mean that their bats should be slept on, either.

 

Hitters

By Matt Wallach

Projected Lineup

 

Infielders

Jesús Aguilar (1B)

2020: 31 R, 8 HR, 34 RBI, 0 SB .277/.352/.457 | 1B #14

2021 ADP: 296.13 (1B #31)

 

After losing a lot of his luster due to a subpar 2019 season spent with the Brewers and the Rays, Aguilar did shine for the Marlins in 2020. While he didn’t match his 2017 or 2018 highs, he did recover quite nicely and was a big part of the team’s lineup and one of their biggest sources of power. One reason for his resurgence was due to him pulling the ball more. In 2018, he had a pull rate of 39.3%. That dropped four points in 2019, but he got it back to a rate right in line with 2018 at 40.1% in 2020. So much of his power is to the pull side, which is why it is important for him to get the ball in that direction. Aguilar also cut down his whiff rate by almost four percent, which helped him set a new career-best strikeout rate at 18.5%, all while maintaining a healthy 10.6% walk rate, right around normal for his career. Overall, Aguilar shouldn’t be expected to replicate his big 2017 or 2018. He’s probably closer to a league-average bat, which means his fantasy value is limited, but he should be a good deep-league option for some power, although don’t expect much help in other categories.

 

Brian Anderson (3B) 

2020: 27 R, 11 HR, 38 RBI, 0 SB .255/.345/.465 | 3B #8

2021 ADP: 208.58 (3B #22)

 

Anderson has developed into quite a good hitter. During his first taste of the Majors in 2017 and 2018, his ISO was barely above .100. In the two seasons since, he’s had ISO marks over .200, peaking at .210 in 2020. I wrote about Anderson before the season, going in-depth on his transformation as a hitter. The main theme of that post was that Anderson had been continuously trending up in several key Statcast metrics as well as hitting more fly balls and line drives, and more importantly, hitting them hard. While Anderson did regress in terms of hard-hit and ground ball rate in 2020, he did improve his barrel rate to another new career-high at 9.6%. He also developed into more of a pull-hitter, with his pull rate skyrocketing to 43%, easily becoming his career-high, which likely explained the jump in power numbers. The one downside of this new approach is that he did strike out a lot more, at nearly 30%, due to a huge surge in whiff rate. We could live with a 30% strikeout rate if he had power like Aaron Judge, for instance, but he doesn’t and that is something that Anderson will need to improve upon in the future if he wants to become a more complete hitter. Overall, Anderson does have limitations, but he is still a quality hitter. He doesn’t do it in the flashiest way, and that’s reflected in the ADP. That does mean though, that there is an opportunity for a manager to select him and enjoy a healthy return.

 

Miguel Rojas (SS) 

2020: 20 R, 4 HR, 20 RBI, 5 SB .304/.392/.496 | SS #23

2021 ADP: 374.91 (SS #32)

 

One of the biggest individual surprises in baseball in 2020 was the elevated play of Rojas. Prior to the year, Rojas was viewed as a slick-fielding shortstop without much upside in the bat. While his offensive performance last season was quite outstanding considering the track record, not much of it looks all that legit. There are some bright spots including career-highs in launch angle and hard-hit rate, but his 0.9% barrel rate is probably the biggest hurdle in the way of him repeating or coming close to his offensive output from 2020. A career-best BABIP of .330 definitely had an impact, and he could continue to post a high BABIP considering he puts the ball in play quite a lot. However, there is a reason why his ADP is so low, and considering how deep the position is, Rojas likely won’t play much of a role in fantasy leagues outside of extremely deep or NL-only formats.

 

Jon Berti (2B/OF) 

2020: 21 R, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 9 SB .258/.388/.350 | 2B #26

2021 ADP: 251.36 (2B #24)

 

The calling card and the reason why one would draft Berti is for his speed. His sprint speed has consistently been among the best in the game. Last season, his sprint speed ranked in the 97th percentile, and in 2019 it ranked in the 98th percentile. Additionally, the good news is that the Marlins let him run. In 73 games in 2019, he stole 17 bases (a full season pace of around 37) and last year he stole 9 in 39 games (a similar full season pace). There’s no real reason to expect the Marlins to suddenly give him the stop sign, which is important because he doesn’t contribute much else offensively. Similar to Rojas, his barrel and hard-hit rates are towards the bottom of the league leaderboard. Unlike Rojas though, Berti strikes out a lot, last season at a 24.8% clip. Before placing a premium on a player like Berti, it should be kept in mind that the Marlins have other options for the position. If they choose to go younger at the position, both Isan Díaz and Jazz Chisholm could get their fair share of playing time, which would largely make Berti irrelevant for fantasy purposes, even with the outstanding base-stealing ability.

 

Chad Wallach (C) 

2020: 4 R, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 0 SB .227/.277/.364 | C #58

2021 ADP: Undrafted 

 

Wallach seemed to become the Marlins’ preference at the catcher position late in the season and during their postseason games. He’s always received positive marks as a defensive catcher and as a game caller and his ability to work with a pitching staff. Those reasons likely give him the early advantage for the catching spot to start the 2021 season. It’s good to see him fill that role, but he is not a good hitter. Even with playing time looking likely and the shallowness of the position, Wallach should not be an option in fantasy this season, barring some super funky league type. He has a career .209/.282/.318 triple slash and that is unplayable no matter what.

 

Outfielders

Corey Dickerson (OF)

2020: 25 R, 7 HR, 17 RBI, 1 SB .258/.311/.402 | OF #64

2021 ADP: 351.33 (OF #89)

 

The lone lefty in the projected lineup, Dickerson should get plenty of playing time for that reason alone. While Dickerson is far off from his 2017-2018 peak years, he still can be a league-average type of hitter, especially if his looks against same-handed pitchers are kept in check, as he has been much better against righties than lefties in his career (123 wRC+ vs 88). As a likely platoon hitter, he likely won’t have much mainstream fantasy use, and even then, his Statcast metrics such as barrel, hard-hit, and average exit velocity marks all dropped to career lows, and he put the ball on the ground at a 52.2% mark to boot. Dickerson may end up fighting for playing time or seeing himself off the roster completely at some point in 2021 depending on how things shape up record wise for the team, as he could be replaced by a prospect such as Jesús Sánchez or JJ Bleday in the not-so-distant future. Dickerson should provide boring, league-average-ish production, which does have use, but is not a profile that will be prioritized in drafts. There are tons of other outfielders to consider as well, and ultimately, Dickerson likely won’t have much fantasy value outside of NL-only or extremely deep leagues at this point in his career.

 

Starling Marte (OF)

2020: 236 R, 6 HR, 27 RBI, 10 SB .281/.340/.430| OF #18

2021 ADP: 49.64 (OF #13)

 

Marte is the Marlins’ highest-drafted player thus far, and there is a good reason for it. While his overall offensive performance did drop from 2019, including in the notable Statcast metrics, Marte still was on pace for 15 home runs and, perhaps more importantly, over 25 stolen bases in a 162-game pace. His combination of power and speed is what makes him such a desirable fantasy player. The projections seem to agree, with ZiPS projecting a near-identical 2020 prorated total with 15 home runs and 25 steals, while Steamer projects 20 homers and 22 stolen bases. If he matches either of those totals, Marte should once again remain a valuable fantasy contributor. His declining bat should be kept in mind, as after the extreme offensive environment of 2019 in which Marte had his best overall offensive season, he didn’t quite match it, and it’s unlikely that he ever does again, now another year older at age 32. His profile is nice, but his offensive downturn in 2020 should be kept in mind before placing a premium on him on draft day, considering how deep the outfield position is. Even still, Marte should remain a valuable piece in 2021.

 

Garrett Cooper (OF/1B)

2020: 20 R, 6 HR, 20 RBI, 0 SB .283/.353/.500 | OF #69

2021 ADP: 362.08 (OF #91)

 

One of my personal favorite players in the entire league, I wrote about Cooper before the season highlighting him as an underrated player based upon how well he’s hit when he gets the opportunity. It remained true in 2020, as when Cooper was on the field, he did well. Unfortunately, he was one of the many Marlins that had to lose time due to COVID-19, and injuries have affected his playing time in both 2018 and 2019, so we still don’t have a good idea of what Cooper can do over the course of a full season. Now at age 30 and with other hitters in the system ready for the Majors, we may never quite see just what Cooper can do. However, I still do love the profile, and he was quite valuable when he was on the field for the fish in 2020. Cooper just hits the ball really well, and that is what makes him interesting. He’s above-average in terms of barrels, hard-hit rate, average exit velocity. Statcast was quite the believer on the whole as well, with xSLG, xBA, and xwOBACON marks that all grade out extremely well, and have graded well even going back to 2019. Playing time is far from certain, though. The signing of Adam Duvall clouds the outfield picture, but Cooper’s projections are better, so I’ll pencil him into a starting role right now with Duvall off the bench, but that is definitely far from certain. Cooper is not the most glamorous player, but at this ADP, most manager are likely making dart throws. Cooper is a player that has shown to be a quality hitter when he’s actually on the field playing, and he’s just sitting in the bowels of the draft pool, and should be a lot better than the average late-round dart throw. Cooper is a hitter that should be taken a bit more seriously.

 

Adam Duvall (OF)

2020: 34 R, 16 HR, 33 RBI, 0 SB .237/.301/.532 | OF #29

2021 ADP: 410.47 (OF #98)

 

He was mentioned in the Cooper write-up, but Duvall is a significant enough player that is worthy of his own write-up, especially because he may end up being a starting player. I have him projected as the short end of a Dickerson platoon now, but that can definitely change, especially if he looks more like the hitter we saw last year. He was a drain in the batting average and on-base department, but he provided serious power, and likely gave a big boost to fantasy managers that were able to snag him off the waiver wire. 2020’s good fortune makes it two straight small-sample size success stories for Duvall, coming off what was a dreadful 2018 season. It does say something that after his strong season with the Braves that they still non-tendered him, and there are always going to be glaring red flags in a profile like this. Duvall hits the ball hard, doesn’t walk a lot, and strikes out a lot. He is a good power option but is such a drain elsewhere that his fantasy value is likely to be limited, even if he lands an everyday role. Keep him in mind should outfield injuries happen in your lineup, but he’s probably not a priority for drafts.

 

Watch List Considerations

 

It was hinted at during the write-ups of the projected starters that the Marlins do have quite a few youngsters that could start to get filtered into more everyday roles. Lewis Brinson will be 27-years-old, and while he’ll likely play over Dickerson against lefty starters, he likely won’t get enough playing time right away to make him draftable. He’s a spring training All-Star though.

Elsewhere, infielders Jazz Chisholm and Isan Díaz figure to get playing time should the team opt to go for the youth movement at shortstop and second base. Díaz was a former top-100 prospect and Chisholm once placed somewhere inside the top-50, so they definitely do have pedigree. Lewin Díaz has a typical first-base masher profile should they decide to cut down Aguilar’s playing time, but he’s likely a minor leaguer at the start of the season. Sanchez and Bleday were mentioned as outfielders who can take playing time away from Dickerson or Cooper eventually as well. Bleday is the more highly-regarded prospect, being a top-five pick in the 2019 draft.

In terms of players with a greater helping of Major League experience, outfielder Magneuris Sierra is out of options and could get meaningful playing time, but his track record and projections don’t make him much of a priority at the moment for fantasy purposes. The same can be said for Harold Ramirez, who showed flashes in 2019, but received just 11 plate appearances in 2020.

The catching situation in Miami is an interesting one. The team seemed to prefer Wallach for his defensive capabilities behind the plate down the stretch last season and in the postseason, leaving Jorge Alfaro as the backup. While the bats for both of these catchers aren’t anything to get super excited about, Alfaro’s is definitely the better one of the two, but it won’t be much use in fantasy when he’s on the bench. Wallach seems to have the inside track for the starting spot, but I doubt we’ve seen the last of Alfaro. Keep him in mind if in need of a catcher later in the season.

 

 

Starting Pitchers

By Liam Casey

Sixto Sánchez (Locked In Starter)

2020: 3-2, 3.46 ERA, 39.0 IP, 33 K, 1.21 WHIP (SP #81)

2021 ADP: 109.0, SP #36

Repertoire: 26.7% Changeup, 24% Sinker, 13.8% 4-Seam Fastball, 17.2% Slider, 8.4% Curveball

 

Coming over from Philly in the JT Realmuto trade, Sánchez carried some nice prospect pedigree. He delivered on that in 2020 for the Marlins, getting the call towards the end of August and delivering very promising results across 7 starts. This included a stellar performance against the deep Tampa Bay Rays lineup on August 28th, in which he threw 7 scoreless to go along with 10 punch outs. All of that in just his 2nd major league start.

Going forward, there’s a lot to like for Sixto. He mixes in 5 different pitches headlined by an excellent changeup that he leans on the most. His fastball sits at a very nice 98.5 MPH on average, but unfortunately it was his worst pitch in his brief stint. Both barrel % (33.3%) and hard hit rate (60%) were both quite unsightly so he’ll need to harness more on it than just elite velocity for it to become an effective pitch. Still, the offspeed stuff is there and Sanchez can make it work despite the fastball woes. 

For 2021 drafts, Sánchez took a bit of a stock hit towards the end of the season. In his last two starts he gave up 5 runs in 4 innings against Washington and followed that up with 4 runs in only 3 innings against Atlanta. Those 2 starts ballooned his ERA up from 1.69 to 3.46. While this isn’t a crazy swing given Sanchez’s low IP, the more middling ERA coupled with Sánchez’s inability to effectively throw his fastball will take a toll on his draft price. He’ll also need to improve his strikeout rate to gain relevance, as his 7.62 K/9 was below average in 2020. Look for Sánchez in the mid to late rounds where he can be a value as a SP3 or 4 with a chance to push into the top-30 SP by year’s end. 

 

Sandy Alcantara (Locked In Starter)

2020: 3-2, 3.00 ERA, 42.0 IP, 39 K, 1.19 WHIP (SP #66)

2021 ADP: SP #131.0, SP #42

Repertoire: 34.9% Sinker, 24.8% 4-Seam Fastball, 22.1% Slider, 10.3% Changeup, 8% Curveball

 

At quick glance, Alcantara can look a bit like a slightly older version of Sanchez. He has a high-90’s heater, a swing and miss changeup, and a 5 pitch mix that gives him a lot of potential for exceptional results. His 2020 season showed that. An appealing 3.00 ERA and an above-average WHIP are nothing to shy away from, especially in deeper leagues. It’s a shame that he spent nearly a full month on the IL last season, because this really could have been the year to kick it into an entirely new gear.

Where Alcantara does seem to be improving is in his strikeouts and walks. After a 6.89 K/9 in an impressive 197.1 IP in 2019, Alcantara upped it to 8.36 in 2020. Still slightly below average, but coupled with that consistently improving walk rate (down to 3.21/9 in 2020) and Alcantara is looking like bargain bin gold. Did I mention he is still only 25? This guy has a ton of room for growth, and I think his reduced counting stats due to injury in 2020, along with a certain bias towards pitchers on “bad” teams, will leave you scooping up a very effective SP3 in the later rounds who could well outperform that. I’ll take Sixto for the ceiling, but I am all over Alcantara for the high floor.

 

Pablo López (Locked In Starter)

2020: 6-4, 3.61 ERA, 57.1 IP, 59 K, 1.19 WHIP (SP #31)

2021 ADP: 126.3, SP #41

Repertoire: 32.2% 4-Seam Fastball, 29.9% Changeup, 22.5% Sinker, 8.4% Cutter, 7& Curveball

 

2020 looks to be the start of something big for López. After 111.1 rather pedestrian innings in 2019, López was much improved in the shortened season. He brought his ERA down from 5.09 to 3.61 while also improving his xFIP from 4.37 to 3.73.

But it wasn’t just that. López upped his swing and miss percentage on nearly all his pitches, improving his total SwStr% up nearly 2 whole percentage points to 12.1%. This led to his K/9 climbing from an unimpressive 7.68 in 2019 to a much more palatable 9.26 in 2020. He also greatly improved his HR/FB ratio, but it remains to be seen if his 8.7% mark is sustainable. If López can keep the strikeouts coming, it will be much easier to see him more commonly rostered. 

López also carried an ERA just above 2.00 through his first 6 starts, and saw a spike after 2 back to back starts against the Rays and Braves, the latter being an awful 7 earned runs in 1.2 IP that brought his ERA all the way up to 4.50. The shortened season is going to force us to play a lot of sample size mind games and will force you to ask yourself if López is the pitcher we saw in August or the one we saw in September.

The good news is that like the other Marlins hurlers, López won’t cost you much on draft day. In smaller leagues, López can probably be had around the 12th or 13th round with him pushing into the 9th/10th range in 15-teamers. Take a flier on him and see if his 2020 is the sign of things to come.

 

Elieser Hernández (Locked In Starter)

2020: 1-0, 3.16 ERA, 25.2 IP, 34 K, 1.01 WHIP (SP #88)

2021 ADP: 243.0, SP #123

Repertoire: 58.9% 4-Seam Fastball, 35.1% Slider, 6% Changeup

 

It’s unfortunate that Hernández didn’t get to pitch a “full” season in 2020, as a lat injury landed him on the IL on September 2nd, ending his season. Prior to that, Hernández was having his best season to date, including a very impressive 11.92 K/9, 1.65 BB/9, and a SwStr% of 13.2. 

His slider, easily his best pitch, is the main culprit. The slide piece registered a 39.3% swing and miss rate and a 27.8 Chase % in 2020. It’s a great pitch to have in your arsenal, but otherwise it’s slim pickings for Hernández.

Both his fastball and changeup register as very average pitches, so despite the slider being very effective, it can’t stand on its own. Hernández is currently either going at the very end of most drafts or undrafted completely, but he’s worth keeping an eye on in Spring Training to see if he can further develop that repertoire. If everything breaks right for him, Hernández could push his way into top-75 SP territory, but I wouldn’t count on it just yet.

 

Trevor Rogers (Possible Starter)

2020: 1-2, 6.11 ERA, 28.0 IP, 39 K, 1.61 WHIP, SP #208

2021 ADP: 467.0, SP #170

Repertoire: 54.2% 4-Seam Fastball, 21.8% Slider, 18.1% Changeup, 5.8% Sinker

 

Rogers got the call to the majors on August 25th of last season and made 7 starts for the Fish. He flashed a ton of strikeout potential with his 12.54 K/9 and 13.0 SwStr%, but given his control issues (4.18 BB/9) and penchant for the longball (1.61 HR/9, although a 20.8% HR/FB seems a bit high) he is too far off from consistent production. He’s been able to manage hard contact for the most part (a good 5.3 Barrel% and 87.3 EV with a less-so 39.5 Hard Hit %) but so far the results haven’t lined up.

As per Roster Resource, Rogers is currently penciled in as the Marlins’ 5th starter, but the team is not without other options. The tall lefty has strikeout upside, but the lack of control and unclear path to innings leaves Rogers undrafted in almost all but deep NL-Only affairs. 

 

Watch List Considerations

 

Edward Cabrera had a shot at cracking the majors in 2020, but a shoulder injury kept him on the shelf. In 2019, Cabrera showed some dominant potential, sporting a 2.23 ERA and 10.8 K/9 between High-A and Double-A. Along with Max Meyer, Cabrera is among the more talented Miami pitching prospects. He is definitely in the mix for the 5th starter job. But between the shoulder injury and the innings-conscious Marlins, it may be a while before we see Cabrera in an extended capacity.

The Marlins signed Ross Detwiler about a week ago in an effort to bolster their staff before Spring Training. The veteran lefty has bounced around the league the past several seasons, most recently spending 2 seasons on the White Sox. While he did start 12 games in 2019 it was disastrous, and Detwiler spent the entire year out of the pen last season where he pitched to a 3.20 ERA and 1.22 WHIP across 19.2 innings. It’s quite possible Detwiler winds up in relief for Miami, but it wouldn’t be out of the question to see him possibly stretched out for a spot start or opener situation. At this point in his career, it’s highly unlikely Detwiler pops up on fantasy radars.

Because the Marlins seemed to be made of upper-level pitching prospects, here’s Braxton Garrett for your consideration.  Garrett made 2 spot starts for the Marlins in 2020, one good and one not so good, and ended up with a 5.87 ERA in 7.2 IP. He has a nice curveball/fastball combo, and could be a relevant starter if he can continue to develop his change. Garrett has an outside shot to win the 5th starter job, and will most likely make some spot starts throughout the season. For now, monitor the situation but don’t rush to add him.

The 2020 1st-Rounder (3rd overall) Max Meyer expects to progress quickly through the system but has yet to see any pro-action. His slider/fastball combo with a decent changeup makes for a nice repertoire, but he is simply too inexperienced to expect any major league work out of him this season. A dynasty league watch list for sure as he is arguably the best pitching prospect the Marlins currently have.

 

Relief Pitchers

By Matt Wallach

Bullpen Roles

 

Anthony Bass (Closer)

2020: 7 SV, 3 HLD, 25.2 IP, 21 K, 3.51 ERA,  1.01 WHIP | RP #29

2021 ADP: Undrafted (P #245)

 

With the trio of Brandon Kintzler, Nick Vincent, and Brad Boxberger all currently free agents, the Marlins were left with one reliever from last year that had a single save. A free-agent acquisition of some sort was going to be necessary, and the Marlins have landed on Bass. His seven saves for the Blue Jays last season led the team, as the Ken Giles injury opened the door for other options. Bass won’t be at the top of the strikeout leaderboards but does manage to get by. Bass relies on generating weaker contact, and in the shortened 2020 season, he did that the best he ever had in his career. He had a whopping 62.9% groundball rate last season, with a superb 2.9% barrel rate, which ranked in the 96th percentile of all pitchers. That groundball-heavy profile enabled Bass to post excellent xwOBA and xwOBACON numbers at .239 and .244, respectively, both among the league’s best. While Bass perhaps shouldn’t be expected to replicate that type of season in the future, he should still be a dependable reliever. For fantasy purposes, while the team doesn’t have a set closer at the moment, and we may not know who the closer is until the season starts, Bass is more than a viable candidate for the role. His ADP should be expected to climb some since he landed in a favorable bullpen, and he should be among the top sleepers for late-round save opportunities, barring another acquisition by the team.

 

Yimi García (Next in Line)

2020: 1 SV, 4 HLD, 15.0 IP, 19 K, 0.60 ERA,  0.93 WHIP | RP #34

2021 ADP: 407.78 (P #153)

 

Garcia had a respectable 3.61 ERA for the Dodgers in 62 innings in 2019, but with the Dodgers being the Dodgers, he was replaceable, and he signed with the Marlins for 2020. He did extremely well in a 15 inning sample, with the biggest takeaway being his 31.7% strikeout rate. There are some caveats with this performance, however. Most notable being his 92.9% strand rate, zero home runs allowed and a .250 BABIP allowed. These numbers will regress, that is a certainty. He can still be a solid reliever, but won’t likely be the best pitcher in the bullpen for the team in 2020. The early ADP numbers reflect the expectation that regression is coming and that the team may make another acquisition or two, because even a middle-of-the-road reliever with saves potential wouldn’t be getting drafted in the 400’s. Keep an eye on this though for some late save opportunities should the Marlins declare him the closer.

 

 

James Hoyt (Holds Option)

2020: 0 SV, 5 HLD, 14.2 IP, 20 K, 1.23 ERA, 1.16 WHIP | RP #75

2021 ADP: Undrafted (P #382)

 

It’s tough to project roles for the rest of this bullpen, but Hoyt did have the second-most holds on the team last year, so he should be one of their higher leverage arms going into 2021. Like Garcia, he did well last season due to metrics that won’t be sustainable. His strand rate was 96.4%, he allowed just one home run, and had a .250 BABIP allowed. He has shown good strikeout ability in his career though, with a career rate of 31.3%, which may make him interesting, but there’s no real reason to make him a priority in drafts.

 

Richard Bleier (Holds Option)

2020: 0 SV, 6 HLD, 16.2 IP, 11 K, 2.16 ERA, 1.08 WHIP | RP #125

2021 ADP: Undrafted

 

For his career, Bleier has been used in a LOOGY role, a role that is no longer all that feasible in today’s game. This makes Bleier a little bit more fantasy-relevant, but honestly, not really. He did have the most holds on the team last season, so if one is truly desperate for holds in a deep NL-only type league, Bleier could be an option, but he doesn’t provide much else. He has just a 12% strikeout rate for his career. He relies on ground balls to get outs, and last season he had a career-high 72% rate, which likely explains why he was so successful. It shouldn’t be expected for that rate to stick over a full season, which could send his ERA up a bit.

 

John Curtiss (Holds Option)

2020: 2 SV, 0 HLD, 25.0 IP, 25 K, 1.80 ERA, 0.96 WHIP | SP #49

2021 ADP: Undrafted

 

Curtiss was one of those pop-up arms that the Rays get their hands on and that immediately turn into studs that the Rays have become so famous for. While solid for the Rays last year, he wasn’t one of their higher-leverage arms, and deemed expendable due to their own signings and a 40-man roster crunch. Curtiss now finds himself in South Florida, and he should get plenty of opportunities to carve a role for himself in a bullpen that doesn’t have a star reliever.

What stood out most for Curtiss last season was that his walk rate was a minuscule 3%, which was his biggest defect throughout his minor league career and his limited looks in the Majors. It appears it really was as simple as throwing more strikes, as his zone rate spiked to 54.7%, up from sub-45% rates in previous seasons, and a rate well above league-average. Additionally, he threw first-pitch strikes at a 64.6% clip last season, whereas in past seasons he struggled to do so, with first-pitch strike rates of 43.3% and 41.7% in small samples in 2018 and 2019, respectively. While his fastball-slider repertoire isn’t one that generates many strikeouts, working in the zone more allowed Curtiss to have more success. His 1.80 ERA from last season is probably inflated, but if Curtiss can maintain his command improvements from last season, he should be a serviceable middle-reliever. On a team with not many locked-in roles in the bullpen, Curtiss may find himself taking on more high-leverage opportunities if he is successful and others struggle in front of him, which may make him fantasy relevant. For now though, Curtiss doesn’t have much fantasy value.

 

Adam Cimber (Middle Relief)

2020: 0 SV, 3 HLD, 11.1 IP, 5 K, 3.97 ERA, 1.32 WHIP | RP #257

2021 ADP: Undrafted

 

Cimber’s stock has fallen quite a bit since being dealt to Cleveland as the second piece of the Brad Hand trade back in 2018. Cleveland simply shipped him to Miami for cash early in the offseason, and while he could end up being one of the higher-leverage arms in the bullpen, that doesn’t necessarily mean he should be fantasy relevant. His strikeout rate was half of what it was in 2018, and while it was just 11 innings pitched in 2020, the strikeout decline started in 2019. His SIERA went from 3.27 in 2018 to 4.39 in 2019 and then to 4.96 in 2020. He could bounce back some, but this is not a pitcher worthy of consideration during drafts.

 

Dylan Floro (Middle Relief)

2020: 0 SV, 4 HLD, 24.1 IP, 19 K, 2.59 ERA, 1.11 WHIP | RP #54

2021 ADP: Undrafted

 

Acquired from the Dodgers late in the offseason, Floro is expected to occupy a middle relief role with the Marlins. Floro was never all that high up in the pecking order for the Dodgers in previous years, but he has still been a serviceable pitcher. He gets his success from generating groundballs and weak contact rather than strikeouts, and in 2020, he generated grounders at a career-best 56% clip, as well as a soft contact rate five percent higher than in 2019. In a bullpen that is missing a few traditional studs, Floro may end up in more important spots in games should the other options start to falter, which would make him fantasy relevant. For the time being though, Floro should be relegated to middle-relief, and thus out of the eye of most fantasy managers.

 

Watch List Considerations

 

With a bullpen situation as fluid as Miami’s, there are bound to be some interesting considerations to put on the watch list. Some of these pitchers may end up in the big league bullpen, or they may be minor leaguers, but the Marlins do have a bunch of live arms in the organization.

In terms of Major Leaguers, Ross Detwiler is a familiar name, but it’s been a while since he’s truly been fantasy relevant as he hasn’t had a save since 2014 and has just six holds in the same span. He’s just not likely to be in a high-leverage role. The team did snag two pitchers in the Rule 5 Draft, Zach Pop, and Paul Campbell. Pop is coming off Tommy John surgery, but did have a fastball that touched the upper-90’s prior to getting the surgery. He profiled as a late-inning pitcher as a prospect, and could fill that role for the Marlins this year. Campbell is more of a starter, but will likely pitch in long relief if he makes the team. He’s a high spin pitcher that doesn’t miss many bats, so he likely won’t have a high-leverage role either.

The minor leaguers include Braxton Garrett, one of the team’s higher-regarded prospects. He’s more of a starter long term, but he could pitch out of the bullpen in 2021. Jorge Guzman is about ready for the Majors, and has a high-velocity fastball. He profiles more as a reliever and could fill a role for the team this year. Edward Cabrera is one of their top prospects, and while he definitely fits the profile of a starter, he could make his debut this year out of the bullpen considering Miami’s rotation looks solid.

 

2019 Positional Rankings from Razzball’s 12-team Player Rater (ESPN).

Photos: Randy Litzinger, Juan Salas, Shelley Lipton, Doug Murray /Icon Sportswire | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)

Matt Wallach

Matt writes for Pitcher List and Rotoballer and is a lifelong fan of the New York Yankees. He can be found always talking baseball on Twitter @Wallach18.

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