The final Opening Day in FLORIDA Marlins history is tomorrow. Edwin Rodriguez finalized the roster yesterday. So...presenting your 2011 Florida Marlins:
#1 Emilio Bonifacio - OF
- Bonafacio enters his third season with the Florida Marlins. In 2010, he hit .261 with 0 HR and 10 RBI in 73 games. Bonifacio has 1 career home run...an inside the park homer on opening day 2009. Look for Bonifacio to be the super-sub once again, filling in at 2nd base and shortstop, along with center field. He needs to be better at his bunting for a hit and stolen bases to be successful in 2011 (his fielding stats don't matter too much for a guy like him).
#2 Hanley Ramirez - SS
- Hanley is Hanley. He has played all but 2 games of his career with the Marlins. His batting average last year was down to the 2nd lowest of his career. He hit "only" .300 with 21 HR and 76 RBI. Look for that batting average to rise as he is a career .313 hitter. Although the shortstop committed only 10 errors in 2009, he was up to 16 in 2010, still down from 26 in his rookie campaign. He has to keep the errors down to be successful in 2011.
- Coglan played just 91 games before he tore the meniscus in his left knee during a freak "pieing incident" after a Marlins walk-off win. Coghlan hit an impressive .394 this spring but his legs kept him from stealing bases and he spent half of the spring playing in minor league games as he had arm problems. Between his legs and arms, Coghlan is a GIANT "?" in his new position of Center Field. Coghlan had never played the outfield, except for 1 game a few days prior, before joining the Marlins in 2009. He won the ROY award that year. Time Will tell if he can be successful in center, but Marlins fans should be concerned about Coghlan, at least at the start of the season.
- Hayes earned the backup catchers spot after John Baker was put on the 60-day DL. Hayes was sidelined late last year after then National Nyjer Morgan ran into him, sparking the now infamous brawl. Hayes should not have a huge impact on the team this year, as is the case with most backup catchers.
#13 Omar Infante - 2B
- Infante had a STELLAR spring and has proved to live up to the hype given when he was traded from the Braves in the Dan Uggla deal. Infante hit a career best .321 last year and followed up with a .414 spring training. Infante also brings with him great defense. He committed just 7 errors at 2nd base in 2010 and has experience in various infield and outfield positions. He won't hit the ball out of the park too often, but he will be a very important part of the Marlins in 2011.
- Buck was also an off season acquisition. He was signed by the Marlins to a 2 year contract. Buck's main goal is to work with the still young pitching staff. He has a .991 career fielding percentage. But the career .243 batter added a new skill last year. He hit .281 with 20 HR and 66 RBI last year
#15 Gaby Sanchez - 1B
- Gaby returns for his 2nd full season with the Fish. In 2010, the rookie hit .273 with 19 home runs and 85 RBIs. He also settled in at 1st base, committing 11 errors in 149 games. Gaby followed up his near ROY season with a .368 spring training. Look for him to be impressive once again in 2011.
#18 Wes Helms - INF
- "Uncle Wes" returns for his 3rd season in this 2nd stint with the Marlins. He began his career in Florida hitting .329 in 2006. This was following stints in Atlanta and Milwaukee. In 2009 he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies and played the season before being re-acquired by the Marlins in 2010 for...$1. Helms had a horrid spring, but is a professional and a great locker room guy. He won't have any trouble staying with the Marlins this year.
- The Marlins #4 starter is expected to face Washington's Jason Marquis on Tuesday at Sun Life Stadium. Anibal has been battling back from injury, finally playing a complete season last year, his first in his career. He went 13-12 with a 3.55 ERA in 2010. He is also the only active Marlin with a no-hitter (2006). I can see him getting to 15 or more wins this year, after his great spring. He went 3-0 in 5 starts with a 1.89 ERA.
- LOMO is just 23 years old, but he has already made his impact on the Marlins. He hit .283 last year while committing just three errors in left field over 62 games following Coghlan's injury. Perhaps that was the best thing to come from the injury, but now he is teamed up with Chris and Mike Stanton in the outfield. Logan needs some seasoning, hitting just .233 this spring, but he is an up-and-coming young star and will make an impact on the Marlins roster for years to come.
- Perhaps the biggest surprise this spring was Donnie "Bleeping" Murphy! He was sidelined with injury following a .318 season as a pinch hitter, his best yet. He had 2 walk off games in a week. But Murphy basked into the starting lineup this year. With Matt Dominguez's struggles, and Omar Infante wanting to stay at second base, the job became open. So, the non-roster invitee went from possibly not being able to play ... to becoming the starting third baseman, joining greats like Mike Lowell and Miguel Cabrera.
- Javy will be the #3 starter for the Marlins. He will face R.A. Dickey on Sunday against the Mets. He had a rough spring going just 1-1 with a 4.57 ERA this spring, but finished with a solid 6 2/3 inning outing Tuesday. The 34-year old pitcher has lost velocity in recent years, but if he can keep his fastball around 90 MPH, Javy can continue his streak of 11 straight seasons with 10 or more wins.
- Not to state the obvious, but this guy is the REAL DEAL. He hit 22 HR in 100 games. This will be his first full season in the bigs, and look for him to approach the team record. Stanton missed most of spring training after hurting his leg running the bases against the University of Miami in the first game of the spring. In his return, he belted 2 home runs. The power hitter also has speed, with 22 doubles and even a triple! Stanton had just 4 errors in Right Field in 854 2/3 innings last year. He will be a stud this year and for years to come.
- Dobbs' primary role in 2011 will be a lefty bat off the bench, and he will serve that position well. The non-roster invitee worked hard to earn his 2011 roster spot, hitting an insane .453 with 7 doubles, 1 home run, and 7 RBIs. Dobbs spent the past 4 seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, hitting an abysmal .156 last year, but fits a pinch hitting role perfectly with a career .260 average. Dobbs has played in 190 games at 3rd base, and could fill in as a platoon or if Donnie Murphy fails at the position, until Matt Dominguez comes up.
- Clay returns to the Marlins for his second season after making the team as a non-roster invitee last year. Hensley pitched in 68 games last season, holding a 3-4 record with a 2.16 ERA. He also earned 7 saves filling for Leo Nunez late in the season. Hensley is a valuable asset, able to pitch long and middle relief, as well as having capability to be a setup man or closer. He can also start in a pinch, so look for him in doubleheaders or as an emergency starter.
- Cousins snuck into the 2010 25-man roster as the 4th outfielder, a position many thought would go to DeWayne Wise. Cousins hit .297 in limited action in 2010. He spent most of the season at AAA before being called up for his first stint with the club. Cousins appeared in 27 games but only played 11 of those in the field. I don't know much about him, so it will be fun to watch
#34 Edward Mujica - RP
- Mujica was acquired in the Cameron Maybin Trade from San Deigo. After a tough start to his career, he found new life in San Diego. Mujica had a horrible outing last time out against the Mets. He gave up 4 runs in 1 inning, blowing a save in the process. His spring ERA ballooned to 9.26. Look for him to be a last option until he proves himself.
#35 Randy Choate - RP
- Choate is a veteran reliever. the Left Handed Pitcher is the true definition of a lefty specialist. He only appeared in 44.2 innings despite playing 85 games last year with the Tampa Bay Rays. He has a high ERA (4.39). One positive is opponents are batting .245 against him in his career. He should fit his position well, but I would not expect Choate to be used too often in other roles of the bullpen.
#40 Michael Dunn - RP
- Dunn struggled to start his spring training, but did not allow a run in his last 7 starts. The lefty was acquired from Atlanta in the Dan Uggla trade after an impressive rookie season. With the Braves, the 25-year-old has a 1.89 ERA in 25 games. He has limited experience but looks like a real good talent out of the pen, and should be a staple in the 2011 season.
#41 Chris Volstad - SP
- "Vol-Stud" will be the number 4 starter and enters his fourth season with the Marlins. He brings a career 27-26 record with a 4.47 ERA. The 24 year old from Palm Beach Gardens needs to keep the ball down. In 2009 he allowed on average a home run per game, and although his home run total went down in 2010, he still needs to work on that number (17 in 2010 and 5 this spring).
#44 Brian Sanches - RP
- Sanches has found life in Florida! But he made this 2011 team by the skin of his teeth. Perhaps his track record speaks for itself, though. After abysmal seasons in Philadelphia and Washington, the NL East Journeyman posted a 2.56 ERA in 56.1 innings in 2009. He followed that up with a 2.26 ERA in 63.2 innings in 2010. He has a 6-4 record in his time as a Marlin. This spring he did go 2-0 but had a rough 4.22 ERA in 9 games. He was able to beat out Bruke Badenhop for the final bullpen spot, so maybe another chance at new life will continue to help the 32 year old out.
#46 Leo Nuñez - CL
- Nuñez enters his 6th season in the majors and second as a closer. He compiled 30+ saves in each of those years. Nuñez has 71 saves as a Marlin. He spent the off season working on mixing up his pitches, but his main problem is the fastball. Sometimes, he gets over-exicted, causing him to overthrow his fastball. Other times, his lack of energy causes him to leave meatballs. He needs to finally get his energy down pat and control his fastball to be a superstar closer in 2011.
- Nolasco faught off injury, appearing in just 4 games. He is expected to face Jon Niese on Saturday night at Sun Life. This start will tell if he was rushed, but Edwin Rodriguez has faith that the starter who signed a contract extention this off season WILL be the number two. Ricky has a career 59-34 record, and ended up with a 14-9 record last year. Nolasco completed 1 game last year. This is a big year for him after his contract. He needs to continue his success to show he is worth the money owed to him over 3 years. I can see him being a 15 game winner easily.
#55 Josh Johnson - SP
- If you have been living under a rock and just read JJ's numbers for the first time, you'd think Nolasco was a better pitcher. But the reality is JJ is the better starter, he just has not been healthy. Josh hopes that is changing. Last year he had an 11-6 record with a 2.30 before he was shut down September 4. If Johnson can stay healthy, he will be a cy young candidate once again. People around baseball continue to call him a glorified ace, and he can be...again if he stays healthy. I think he can flirt with 20 wins in 2011.
#58 Ryan Webb - RP
- Webb is entering his third big league season. In 9 games this spring, he went 2-0 with a 2.19 ERA. Webb is a career 5-2 with a 3.19 ERA over 82 career games. He will be a key piece of the bullpen this year. Look for him to possibly be a setup or at worst 7th inning man this year.
What's to come this weekend: Later today I will post my series notes for the Marlins-Mets and today or tomorrow I will post my 2011 projections (Marlins and otherwise). On Sunday I will post my Marlins Wanna Be's post, previewing who will be and who should be on this team at some point in 2011. Also on Sunday, I will recap the Marlins-Mets opening series and on Monday, expect the Marlins-Nats series notes.
*ONLY 78 GAMES REMAINING AT SUN LIFE STADIUM*