Earlier today, we saw what the Miami Marlins Season Preview projections finally tallied up to, and we got an idea of where the Marlins supposedly should be. But there are other sources other than yours truly, and even though I took a conglomerate average of various different projection sources to come up with my answers, it is nice to see how the other systems think of the Marlins. Here, we will look at a few available sources and see what they project for the Marlins in 2012.
Projected WARP: 37.0 WARP
Projected W-L Record: 87-75
Baseball Prospectus has released its 2012 annual and the Clutch Performer 2012 update as well, and their experts and the PECOTA projection system expect a successful first season with the "Miami" name in tow. Their system projects an 87-win campaign that mirrors our own conglomerate projection. Recently, I discussed this projection with co-worker and Baseball Prospectus's own Jason Collette on all things Marlins, and he had some thoughts to share that I will paraphrase.
On the actual projection, Collette felt that PECOTA did not drastically under- or overshoot the Marlins in 2012. His own personal projection stood at 85-77, and he mentions that previous iterations of PECOTA have slightly missed on his hometown Tampa Bay Rays as well. When asked about PECOTA's thought that the Marlins would have the second-best offense in the National League by their TAv statistic (an all-encompassing offensive stat), Collete said that the team's offense is much improved, in particular with the addition of Jose Reyes. The pairing of Reyes and manager Ozzie Guillen particularly impresses Collette, who says it is a perfect pairing of a top-flight baserunner and an aggressive baserunning manager. In addition, Reyes should not have to adjust much in the move, since he should be familiar with most of the pitchers in the division. With the rest of the offense, Collette sees some possible improvement in 2012. In particular, he figures Ramirez should improve from his career-worst 2011, not only due to simple regression but also because of the natural tendency of players to want to avoid poor seasons like that along with his pairing and potentially great relationship with Guillen.Over on the pitching side, Collette thought that a reasonable projection for Josh Johnson's innings was 175 innings, which is higher than the projection that we put up here on the site. He said that Johnson is likely to miss a few starts, but it is not possible to argue against his talent that puts him firmly in the second tier of elite starters. Collette liked the addition of Mark Buehrle due to his consistency, experience, and his ability to shut down the running game. He did not think the addition of Heath Bell was necessary, agreeing with Fish Stripes that the money could have been better spent, particularly in an extension for GIancarlo Stanton. Collette mentioned Steve Cishek as a good option to go to as closer had the Marlins not spent on Bell.
Overall, Collette puts the Marlins' odds at a playoff spot in a crowded National League at 25 to one, which seems low, but is not unreasonable.
FanGraphs Position Power Rankings (ZiPS)
Projected WAR: 42.7 WAR
Projected W-L Record: 85-77
The projected record here from FanGraphs' Position Power Rankings series is based on the ZiPS projection system and is also a fair estimate of the Marlins' true talent. The major differences here between ZiPS and our conglomerate projections were in estimating Josh Johnson's innings (projected 130 innings leading to almost a full win lost) and a decreased projection for the Marlins' bullpen pitchers. Nevertheless, this estimate is not all that far off and really should not be considered all that different than the one we came up with separately on this site.
FanGraphs Fans Projection
Projected WAR: 48.4 WAR
Projected W-L Record: 90-72
Here is what happens when you ask fans of any team, not necessarily just the Marlins, to project players. The Fans overshot the average projection that we used here on a number of players, including Reyes, Logan Morrison, and Chris Coghlan on the hitters' side and Anibal Sanchez and Ricky Nolasco on the pitchers' side. Again, the numbers are not so far-fetched that they are not within reach, however. In fact, each of these projections is within one standard deviation when it comes to win totals for teams in the league overall (one SD is usually six wins). I would consider that this is what would happen if the Marlins catch a few more breaks than expected.
Baseball Nation's own Grant Brisbee had some optimistic thoughts on the Marlins as well. In particular, he did have something to say about the lineup and how good it could be.
It's like … it's like … last year's lineup but with Jose Reyes stapled to the top. Which it sort of is. And last year's team wasn't exactly the Big Red Machine, scoring 625 runs. After accounting for park, it was a slightly below-average offense. But when you play the better/same/worse game, the Marlins do very well:
Expect to hit better:
Jose Reyes (in place of Greg Dobbs)
Expect to hit the same
Expect to hit worse
That looks about right for most people; even if you differ on a name here and there, you are still looking at a much-improved lineup. Then with the addition of Buehrle to replace Javier Vazquez and the return of a somewhat healthy (certainly more healthy than last season) Josh Johnson, one would expect the Fish to drastically improve, and that is what Brisbee refers to in his final paragraph.
The Marlins aren't just fighting for a spare wild-card spot in September; they're within three games of the division lead. They'll also trade for a center fielder at some point, either because Bonifacio regresses, or there's an injury in the infield that forces Infante to shift around, moving Bonifacio back to second. The home-run display will make a large swath of Florida sterile. Thirty-seven-thousand people at a time.
So maybe he isn't the biggest home run structure fan, but it seems like, much like Baseball Prospectus, thinks that the Marlins can win a Wild Card spot and maybe even the division. That is more or less what I had them at by the end of our projections series, and it looks like the other systems agree. With that in mind, it looks as though Marlins fans will have a competitive season to watch in 2012, and that provides a world of good for a Marlins franchise that is looking to re-establish its fan base.