Today's Free Picks for
Miami Marlins over 76½ -108
Posted on April 5th
We usually prefer going under season win totals because these projections can’t quantify inevitable injuries but the Marlins are the steal over play of the year. This is a team that won just 65 games last year and because of that, they are grossly underpriced this year.
Last year, Sandy Alcantara pitched great and the Marlins usually lost. Pablo López also pitched great and the Marlins usually lost. Trevor Rogers also pitched great and the Marlins almost always lost. What Miami’s record doesn’t reveal is that the pitching staff and defense allowed the fourth-fewest runs in the league. This year they figure to be even better. Alcantara, alongside fellow 25-year-old Pablo López and second year starter Trevor Rogers, comprise perhaps the best trio of young arms the game has to offer. Their ascendant success is a beacon of light for where the franchise could go in 2022. Meanwhile, both Elieser Hernández and Jesus Luzardo have loads of potential. It is not crazy to think the Marlins’ one-two-three-four-and-five is the best or at the very least one of the top three rotations in the entire league.
Outside of pitching, the Marlins made some solid improvements. Still a team viewed in a rebuild, this number on them is incredibly beatable and we’re going to swing away. We especially like the Marlins are now a very analytically-driven team. The organization has focused on this important technology for five years now and is ready to reap its benefits.
Knowing that their lineup needed more pop in it, the team went out and signed two outfielders that should provide that pop they need and a catcher that can produce offensively as well as being a longer-term answer behind the plate they have been looking for. Miami was in the running to try and grab Nick Castellanos, but it’s possible that they simply weren’t willing to spend the kind of money necessary to sign that kind of a star.
Their lineup received a nice power boost in the signing of World Series champion Jorge Soler. Miami also brought in two pure hitters in Avisail Garcia and Joey Wendle. Further development of youngsters Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Jesus Sanchez should also aid a Marlins’ lineup that suddenly looks pretty good.
Wendle could be one of those dark horse signings that may not light up the marquee, but still gives them someone to move around the infield in case of injury/lack of production from one of their infield spots. He was the “victim” of Tampa Bay’s payroll crunch (one of their own creation) and Miami was there to swoop in and snag him. He could be one of those valuable pieces that every team needs. We haven’t even mentioned the 93 RBIs from Jesús Aguilar last season. It’s also worth pointing out the acquisition of Jacob Stallings. Although anemic at the dish at times, he is one of the better defensive catchers in the game. Behind the plate, at the game’s most important position, the Marlins are in very good shape. Derek Jeter knows a thing or two about important issues to address on the baseball field.
The Marlins’ bullpen pitched to an impressive 3.79 ERA last season which ranked fourth in the NL. They kept most of the group together and are led by a superb trio of Anthony Bender, Dylan Floro, and Richard Bleier. Regression for this group is possible given how many career-years there were. However, we don’t discuss bullpens too much because it’s a crapshoot.
Many a contending team has been paced by young starters who thrived in vain before team success followed. The Mets of 2013-14 featured Matt Harvey, deGrom and Wheeler yet finished both seasons with losing records. Before winning the World Series in 2005, White Sox youngsters Mark Buerhle and Jon Garland pitched a dominating three years. And prior to launching their 1990s dynasty, the Braves were routinely among the league’s worst teams, posting a combined .403 winning percentage from 1985-90. During that span, future Hall of Famers Tom Glavine and John Smoltz made a combined 180 starts with a 4.02 ERA, honing their craft before racking up Cy Young Awards and winning a World Series after Greg Maddux joined the rotation.
The Marlins may never come close to reaching those heights but with this trio of pitchers to start the year, some clever signings using modern technology and smarts, winning more than 76½ games is highly, highly, highly attainable. Hell. Alcantara and company could find themselves pitching in October again soon enough but that’s not what we are seeking. We’ll settle for just a bit more run support and should that come to fruition, the Marlins should crush this low total. A definitely beatable line this is.
Miami Marlins o76½ -108 (Risking 4.32 units - To Win: 4.00)