The Miami Marlins stumbled into a legit ace in Jose Fernandez last year. The problem for the Marlins is that Fernandez can’t pitch everyday. They need to find four other guys to slot in behind him.
Nathan Eovaldi will likely open the season as the number two starter behind Fernandez and is one of the few pitchers here with upside. Eovaldi relies on his big fastball. By “relies” we mean “used it 70.6% of the time last year.” He’s essentially a one-pitch pitcher with mediocre secondary stuff. He needs to develop his secondary stuff in order to truly become a reliable starter in fantasy or real baseball.
For a guy who relies on a 96 MPH four-seam fastball, he sure doesn’t miss that many bats with it. His whiff percentage on the four-seamer was only 7.20% and his overall swinging strike percentage was only 7.7% last year. He won’t post the strikeout totals fantasy GMs expect unless he’s able to offer hitters something to look at other than his four-seamer. He’s an end of the draft flyer at this point. It would make sense to use him in his home park, but he actually had better results on the road (.288 wOBA against) than at home (.315 wOBA against).
Henderson Alvarez will likely fill a role in the Marlins rotation. The good news is that his K/9 was up from the ridiculous 3.80 he posted in 2012. The bad news is that it’s still only 5.00 in 2013. Alvarez does three things well. First, he doesn’t walk very many (6.0% BB% for his ML career). Second, he doesn’t give up very many homers (0.18 HR/9 last year). Third, he gets a TON of ground balls (2.24 GB:FB ratio for his career). The problem is that he’s awfully reliant on his infield to make plays. He’s essentially an innings eater in NL-only leagues. His lack of K’s will actually hurt your team in shallow leagues or leagues with innings caps.
Remember when Jacob Turner was an uber-prospect? His minor league strikeout totals haven’t translated to major league success at all. Turner was lucky that his 2013 season wasn’t a disaster. He managed to post a 3.74 actual ERA. That number makes him sound like a useful pitcher until you look at his 4.71 xFIP and a gag-worthy 1.43 K:BB ratio. Turner is a guy with a job, but there isn’t much here than a few good minor league seasons. It feels like he’s been around forever, but Turner is only 23. It feels like it’s too early to write him off, but he’s yet to show anything at the major league level.
There’s a greater than zero chance that fifth starter Tom Koehler will end 2014 as the Marlins second best starter. That doesn’t speak to Koehler’s quality, but to the lack of quality in the Marlins’ rotation.
Koehler’s breaking stuff actually met with solid results last year. In 2013, He posted a .192 BAA against his slider and a .166 BAA against his curveball. His fastball…needs work. He threw his four-seamer 56.4% of the time last year and it was pummelled for a .338 BAA and a .197 ISO. His whiff % against the fastball was only 4.66%. That’s a bad fastball. He’s waiver wire fodder for now, but the secondary stuff is there. There’s got to be an adjustment he can make to have more success with his fastball. The velocity is there, so it’s got to be a movement or deception issue. Keep his name in the back of your mind as a possible stream candidate if he’s able to rattle off a few solid starts.
Kevin Slowey actually made 14 starts last year…before being shutdown with a forearm issue. Slowey is back on a minor league deal and it’s unclear when he’ll be available again. When he was healthy, Slowey was actually pretty good. He posted a 4.22 K:BB ratio and he was basically the same batted ball-wise (extreme fly ball pitcher) and velocity-wise as he’s always been. He could be a cheap source of K’s/WHIP help, if he’s able to stay on the field. He’s not even a late round pick until we have some idea when he’ll be back on the field.