Now that we have finished grading the position players for Miami, we will turn our focus to the pitching staff. As disappointing as Marlins’ hitters were during the 2013 season, I could say just the opposite about the young stable of arms the Marlins sent out to the hill. Each day we have focused on handing out grades to two different players based on position, and we will continue that trend with the pitching staff. I will submit grades for two pitchers and you can decide whether or not you agree with those grades in the comments below. Remember, I am handing these out based on reasonable expectations for each player heading into the season. Today we will review Jose Fernandez and Tom Koehler.
Let’s start with the Marlin’s MVP and future National League Rookie of the Year award winner Jose. If you have spent any amount of time with us here at Marlin Maniac, you know our general feelings about this kid. He has Pedro Martinez like stuff and he is only 20 years old. He was the lone all-star that represented the Marlins in the mid-summer classic, and he only got better as the season wore on. Let me throw some more stats at you just to paint a clearer picture of what Fernandez meant to the Marlins this year. He placed 6th on the Marlins team in WAR for just hitting. That’s right, not taking into account any of his pitching stats, he took 6th. Now that is more of an indictment of the Marlins’ hitters, nonetheless, still impressive. Things only get better when you take into account his overall WAR statistics. He finished third in the N.L. among pitchers with a 6.3, Trailing only Clayton Kershaw and Cliff Lee. He finished 7th in the N.L. in overall WAR, 2nd in ERA at 2.19, 1st in Hits per 9 IP at 5.786 and 2nd in strikeouts per 9 IP at 9.747.
As amazing as those statistics are for a rookie, they don’t encompass what he truly meant to this franchise this year. He brought an energy and an exuberance that was refreshing and gave Marlins fans something to be proud of. He was a competitor and when Miami sent him to the mound, they had a chance to win regardless of what their bats did. He is so exciting to watch that even during games that Fernandez wasn’t pitching, they would still keep showing shots of Fernandez in the dugout as he cheered on his team. I fully expect him to win the ROY award and also place in the top 3 in Cy Young votes. When he does, You can be assured that we will have even more articles discussing just how magical this season was for Jose, for now we will just settle with his grade.
Koehler is next up on this young starting pitching staff. Prior to this season, the 27 year-old right-hander had only thrown 13.1 innings in his major league career. He best projects as a middle reliever in the major’s but found himself moved to a starter role May 12th of this season. It was an opportunity based on injuries and trades and Koehler acquitted himself nicely in the role of 5th starter. He finished the season with a 4.41 ERA and a WAR of 0.8. His record was 5-10 on the year, but he went through the month of May without allowing more than 3 runs in any game.
Like many pitchers, Koehler seemed to have trouble the second and third time through the order. He is not an overpowering pitcher and relies on movement and deception to get hitters out. He pitches to contact and that saw him get into a bit of trouble at times. I expect Koehler to break camp next year as a long reliever and spot starter coming out of the bullpen. I didn’t expect much out of Koehler this year, but he really wasn’t too disappointing.
Usually we post an overall grade for the position here but since we still have 4 more starters to review, we will wait until they are finished. Until then, let me know what you thought of Fernandez and Koehler in the comments below.
Here’s to 2014!