2012 Fantasy Baseball Preview: Josh Johnson and the Miami Marlins Starting Rotation

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The Miami Marlins “real baseball” rotation is similar to DC Comics’ villain Two-Face – the good rotation anchored by ace Josh Johnson and the bad rotation that is not.  Johnson’s elite starting pitching skills have been muted by his tendency to be on the disabled list, which is probably more frustrating to the hundreds of thousands fantasy baseball owners than it is to the just hundreds of fans that were present at Marlins games last season.

There is no doubt of Johnson’s potential, but unfortunately it all hinges on a shoulder that may or may not be able to handle a full work load this season.  If you pay for a reasonable basement stat line – indicating there is potential for him to miss time, but not to the extent he did last season - from Josh Johnson on draft day then you take out the high risk/high reward that is attached to owning him.  That basement is probably somewhere between his 2010 and 2011 season performances, which could look  like 150 IP, 9 wins, a 2.50 ERA and 142 strikeouts.   

Following new manager Ozzie Guillen from the Windy City to South Beach, Mark Buehrle has thrown at least 200 innings in all 11 major league seasons as a starter, and even though he does not strike out a lot of batters he does have two big assets in his corner heading into 2012 – moving out of one of the most hitter friendly ballparks in major league baseball and heading from the American League to the National League.  Buehrle is what he is, but will still probably outperform his draft day investment even without a high strikeout total.

Anibal Sanchez was tagged as a 2011 breakout candidate by some, and did turn in an impressive season despite winning only 8 games.  Now at age 28, and six seasons of experience behind him, don’t look for more improvement this year, but he should produce another solid showing in 2012, similar to last season’s numbers but with a higher win total.

Carlos Zambrano and Ricky Nolasco are the inconsistent wild cards at the end of the rotation.  Both have shown flashes of brilliance at points in their career, but both have also been readily available on some of the deepest of NL-Only league waiver wires as well.  No one questions the ability or the “stuff” that each pitcher possesses, the question is, are they going to be able to produce it on the mound during a game?  Both are worthy of late round/$1 investments in NL-only leagues and monitoring in deeper mixed leagues, but not much more.  

Written by Nate Springfield exclusively for Check back weekly for Nate's NL-Only expertise, and follow him on his journey for a title of the State House League in 2012.

Follow Nate on Twitter @NateSpringfield

(February 22, 2009 - Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images North America)

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