We have spent the last few weeks projecting almost every Miami Marlins player expected to make the roster, and the task has been arduous, yet interesting at the same time. The task has been arduous in that it has been difficult to see just how meager the Marlins' chances are this season. It has been interesting because there are a number of new, exciting players to watch this season, even as the team overall is buried in difficulties. Since we put a projection down for almost every player, it only seems natural to add up all of the projections and see just what kind of team the Marlins are this season. How many games are the Fish expected to win?
Before we guess the win total, let's look at the individual projections. You can find all of the explanations in the Miami Marlins Season Preview series.
|First Base||Logan Morrison||1.2|
|Second Base||Donovan Solano||0.7|
|Third Base||Placido Polanco||1.1|
|Left Field||Juan Pierre||1.0|
|Center Field||Justin Ruggiano||2.2|
|Right Field||Giancarlo Stanton||5.6|
|Starter #1||Ricky Nolasco||2.1|
|Starter #2||Jacob Turner||1.1|
|Starter #3||Nathan Eovaldi||1.3|
|Starter #4||Henderson Alvarez||1.4|
|Starter #5a||Wade LeBlanc||1,7|
|Starter #5b||Kevin Slowey||0.9|
The total number the Marlins are expected to produce is 26 WAR. That is, the Marlins are projected here tor produce 26 more wins than a replacement-level squad full of Quad-A players would. Such teams are generally expected to produce somewhere between 42 and 48 wins in a season, so the Fish are at least likely to get into the 60's in terms of a win total. With 26 wins in the books, the total number of wins in the season that the Marlins are expected to produce is somewhere between 68 and 74 wins. Given the horror show that most folks were predicting before the start of the season, this total is not all that bad and compares favorably to the 2012 Marlins' 69 wins.
How does this compare to the performances of teams in 2012? Well, 10 teams last season had FanGraphs WAR totals less than 26, including the 2012 Miami Marlins (25.7). This means that, as a group, this stripped-down version of the Marlins is expected to be as good as the 2012 Marlins were. Of course, this does not mean that this group is as talented as the 2012 Marlins, who were expected to play a lot better than they actually did. Rather, this simply means that this team is expected to be as good as last year's club actually performed, and we know that they drastically under-performed their projections. In a way, owner Jeffrey Loria was right about not paying for a losing team, but the question was whether that losing team was really going to be present given their expected regression back up towards their mean.
Other teams that were worth about 26 WAR last season are the Seattle Mariners (24 WAR, 75 wins), San Diego Padres (25.5, 76). and Pittsburgh Pirates (25.5, 79). These are all fairly rosy projections, honestly, and it makes me wonder if the team really can put up a win total in the mid-70's. The truly terrible teams from last season, the 60-win teams and the sub-60 Houston Astros, were all represented in the low-20's or less in terms of FanGraphs WAR. The Colorado Rockies (23.2, 64) and the Marlins may have gotten a bit unlucky as well as having been generally bad last season, as they had WAR totals that surpassed their actual win marks. Ditto goes for the Boston Red Sox (30.1, 68).
All of this points to the possibility that, if the Marlins do play up to about 26 WAR, they may be able to pull off a 70-win season. Given the projections listed, my ultimate prediction is a 70-win campaign for the 2013 Miami Marlins. I think the team will surprise in that it will not lose 100 games like most prognosticators are guessing, but it still will not be a good team. The goal for the 2013 Marlins should be to try and finish ahead of the 2012 Marlins, and I think they can pull that off.