SportsPickle is previewing each MLB team in the lead up to Opening Day 2010. Today: Florida Marlins (2009: 87-75, 2nd in NL East).
STARTING PITCHING The Marlins are strong at the top of the rotation with Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco. After them it's Anibal Sanchez and Chris Volstad, young pitchers who have a ton of potential but need to produce if Florida is going to win. Sanchez and Volstad need to show they can compete with Johnson and Nolaso. Remember, guys: The Yankees and Red Sox can only sign so many future Marlins free agents.
LINEUP Florida's lineup has Jorge Cantu and Dan Uggla, but beyond them it's just a lot of young, unproven players who probably won't produce enough to let Florida stay close to the Phillies in the East. The one young player who is proven, however, is shortstop Hanley Ramirez, a legitimate star. You may know him as that one Marlin that people in your fantasy league have heard of.
BULLPEN Leo Nunez, Dan Meyer, Renyel Pinto, Brian Sanches, Burke Badenhop. These are all names. Names of people who pitch out of the bullpen for the Marlins. One is probably a closer. One is probably a long reliever. Then three are likely middle relievers or setup guys. I don't know which is which. They probably don't even know.
BENCH Emilio Benifacio is Florida's super-sub. He has speed and can play many positions. Unfortunately, he has no power and can't hit for average. He also doesn't have much of a throwing arm. He is the rare two-tool player. If Florida can find a surgeon willing to make him and Uggla into conjoined twins, the Marlins would have a really good player on their hands. Terrifying. But good.
OVERALL Owner Jeffrey Loria has stated publicly that he expects the Marlins to contend for the playoffs. Old people say such funny things. Loria should probably be quiet and just enjoy the chance to sit outside, watch baseball and enjoy some caramels.