With the 2010 season in the books, the Marlins can move on to another interesting offseason which should have us few Marlins fans glued to MLBTradeRumors on a consistent basis. However, I think it is just as important that we look back on this season, the second season which Marlin Maniac had the privilege of covering. While coverage was lighter than it was in the tight race last year, I can say that it has been an interesting season with a few exciting twists but also its share of disappointments.
In fact, that’s what we will be going over here during the 2010 Marlins Season Review, the second MM review in the site’s young career. As we did last season and with the midseason reviews, we’ll be going through hitting, fielding, and pitching in separate posts over the next few days. I also will be discussing one thing that I felt the Marlins did correctly and was important for the future of this ballclub. But first, let’s start off with the overall team record and offensive marks.
Runs Scored-Allowed: 719-717
Run Differential: +2
Pythagorean W-L: 81-81
Component fWAR: 35.3
Component fWAR W-L: 83-79
Component rWAR*: 26.2
Component rWAR W-L*: 78-84
*Note, Rally’s WAR (rWAR), as displayed at Baseball-Reference, is based on a .320 win% team for replacement level (52-110). FanGraphs WAR (fWAR) is based on a .300 win% team for replacement level (48-114).
After a couple of years in which the Marlins overachieved and exceeded their component and pythagorean records, the team finally fell to Earth this year, playing basically exactly as they should have. This record, however, shouldn’t surprise any of us based on what we saw this season. Between the injuries, underachieving performances from some of the healthy starters, and struggles from this season’s edition of the patchwork bullpen, how could the Fish be expected to compete in a division with two excellent teams? It took herculean efforts from a number of key players and excellent showings from three rookies to even keep the Marlins close to a .500 mark.
Runs Scored: 719
Team Slash Line: .254/.321/.403
Team wOBA: .319
Park-adjusted batting runs above average: -5.9
Team wRC*: 702
*Note: wRC calculated by FanGraphs as sum of league average R/PA * PA and park-adjusted runs above average
After the Marlins had an offensive burst at the tail end of 2009, the team faltered all season in 2010. After getting above average performances for two seasons from Cody Ross and Jorge Cantu, the two struggled to around average performances in the reduced run environment and were eventually jettisoned in favor of younger talent. Hanley Ramirez struggled compared to his past three seasons, batting just .300/.378/.475 slash line (.378 wOBA) after hitting .325/.398/.549 (.409 wOBA) the last three seasons.
The Fish were seventh in the league in runs as a whole and eighth in wOBA, and these rankings remained similar even after park adjustment. The team’s .254/.321/.403 slash line was well below last year’s .268/.340/.416, though some of that can be contributed to the lower leaguewide run scoring environment. Despite the significantly lower OBP, the Marlins actually maintained a steady 8.3% BB%, identical to the 2009 mark. Where the Fish struggled was again in the power department; their team ISO of .149 was lower than expected. Once again, the Marlins hit just 152 homers this season, another stat in which the team was middle of the pack in the NL. This is the second straight year in which the team failed to break through 160 HR after hitting 208 in 2008.
Best Performer: Dan Uggla
Uggla, along with Ramirez, carried the offense for much of the season. While Ramirez still performed well, though below his lofty standards, Uggla had a career year offensively. He batted .287/.369/.508, good for a .381 wOBA. The AVG, OBP, and wOBA were all career highs for the slugging second baseman, and he topped it all off with some nice traditional-stat marks as well. Uggla was the first second baseman in history to record four consecutive seasons with over 30 HR, and he set his career high in homers with 33 as well. In addition, he finally reached the 100-R/100-RBI club that eluded him when he was batting second in his first few seasons.
All of this performance is not without its caveats going forward. That .330 BABIP is unlikely to stick given Uggla’s career mark of .302, and that aided him a lot this season. While the .221 ISO is still acceptable, I mentioned how Uggla was getting fewer extra-bases per hit this season, signaling that a larger share of his contact this year was going for singles rather than extra bases. Whether or not this trend continues is as of yet unknown, though I suspect we’ll see a similar to Uggla to the 2007-2009 model in the next year or two, complete with his typical power. Finally, while he did pierce the 30-double mark this year after falling below it last season, he still ended with two fewer doubles than homers after hitting 86 between 2007 and 2008.
Still, a +33 season with the bat and a 5+ WAR mark for Uggla is more than acceptable to Marlins fans.
Worst Performer: Chris Coghlan
There were a plethora of players who struggled to make an impact in their time with the team. This award could have easily gone to Cameron Maybin, who was even worse than Coghlan. However, coming off a rookie year in which Coghlan batted .321/.390/.460 and won the Rookie of the Year on the back of his offense, even the most tempered of Marlins fans (such as myself) had to expect something better than this. Yes, his .260/.335/.383 line and .322 wOBA ended up being league average in this year’s depressed run environment, but there was no reason to be optimistic about Coghlan’s season by the end of it. His numbers fell at every important peripheral:
Only a ridiculously hot June (.377/.463/.642, .471 wOBA) prevented Coghlan’s season from being a disaster. Of course, he did not get a full season to recover from that early slump because he put himself on the DL with a dumb injury in celebration, hurting the team (forcing us to play Wes Helms almost everyday) and his own development by stunting his return to third base. All in all, Marlins fans simply could not be happy with Coghlan’s year.
Biggest Second-Half Improvement: Mike Stanton
I called for Stanton to look beter as he continued to develop on the fly during the second half. I didn’t expect him to go on a torrid streak and end up with 22 home runs in just under 400 PA in his rookie year in the majors. Look at the improvement from the first half to the second half.
First half: .231/.,276/.435, 37.9% K%, .314 wOBA
Remainder of the year: .270/.345/.536, 29.0% K%, .373 wOBA
If you’re a Marlins fan, that’s enough to make your mouth water. Stanton ended the year with an impressive .259/.326/.507 slash line, good for a .355 wOBA. Combine that with what appears to be quite a bit of praise from the defensive stats (+7 runs from UZR, +17 from DRS, +15 from TotalZone) and Stanton looks like almost a 3-WAR player in only two-thirds of a season. While that defense probably should be a smaller contributor in the future, said future is looking pretty bright for the youngest of Marlins.