Here at Fish Stripes, we just finished previewing all of the starting position players for the 2013 Miami Marlins, and the results thus far have not been great. If you have not checked out the entire preview series, here are all of the links to the position players:
You can take a look at the entire series right here.
What do we end up with once we add all of these win totals up? Where do the Marlins stand after we take into account their position players?
That adds up to a grand total, by just the Miami Marlins starters, of 14.7 Wins Above Replacement (WAR). Recall that the baseline number of wins for a replacement level team is somewhere between 42 and 48 wins in one season. If we suspect the Marlins' starting position players will put up about 15 wins this year, that puts the Fish at between 57 and 63 wins for the season without considering any of their pitchers.
Of course, that is just the starters, and the playing time projections I made for the Marlins there assumed a lot of missed time due to injury and ineffectiveness for players like Logan Morrison, Donovan Solano, and Justin Ruggiano. Usually, that would mean that we would have to also take into consideration the bench's performance in 2013. But a cursory glance at the bench the Marlins are likely to boast shows that the team is boasting at best replacement level talent. Take a look at these six players who could make the Marlins' bench this year and their performance over the last three years.
My goodness, what a hodgepodge of terrible. Only Kouzmanoff happened to have a passable season in the last three years, and he happens to also be the one player who did not play in the majors last year, indicating his clear lack of skill. The Marlins could very well boast the worst hitter over the past three years (Jeff Mathis, hands down) and the worst regular position player (Chone Figgins, though Greg Dobbs could give him a run for his money). The Marlins may put an outfielder who hits like a catcher and an outfielder who is really an infielder on their bench as well. All told, this motley crew put up -0.5 WAR over the last three years, meaning the collective group of six players was half a win worse than one Triple-A scrub in three years' time.
Given that the Marlins' bench players have not played well at all in the last few seasons, I am fairly comfortable giving the team replacement level play off of the bench as a collective group. That means that the position players as a whole would contribute just about 15 wins to the Marlins' season total. As a comparison point, last year, only five teams ended up with fewer than 15 FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement (fWAR) from their entire group of position players. Those teams were the lowly Houston Astros, Cleveland Indians, Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs, and, well, the Miami Marlins of 2012! None of those teams won more than 75 games, and two of them lost more than 100 games.
In other words, putting up this kind of number of wins is not a good sign for the upcoming season. If the projections are accurate enough and the Marlins' position players do indeed perform this poorly as a group, it will be difficult for the team's pitchers to bail them out. The Marlins' staff would have to put up between seven and 13 wins to match the 70-win mark and beat out the 2012 Fish, and that may be a difficult task given the youth of the rotation. As expected, this may be a very difficult year to be a Marlins fan.