Today we will complete our grading of the Miami Marlins starting pitchers. We will give one grade to a player who has set many records in the Miami organization and one who ended the season in storybook fashion. As always, our grades are based upon reasonable expectations entering the season versus actual performance. Without further ado, lets review Ricky Nolasco and Henderson Alvarez.
Entering 2013, Nolasco had spent his entire big league career with the Marlins. Making his debut in 2006, he has been on his share of losing teams. It was little surprise then, when the Marlins began trading their established players and collecting prospects, Nolasco requested to be traded. Midway through the season that request was granted, but not before he had an opportunity for one last hurrah.
All of these stats are what Nolasco did while on the Marlins this year. I am not going to grade how he pitched for the Dodgers. As the lone veteran on a young team, much was expected of Nolasco’s leadership. For someone who was constantly in trade rumors, he performed pretty well, setting the tone early for a staff that would pitch well this season.
He finished with a 5-8 record for Miami, tied for second on the team in wins. He had a 3.85 ERA, certainly within acceptable range and a 1.22 WHIP. He had a WAR of 1.4.
The thing that has impressed me about Nolasco has been his consistency. He leads the Marlins with 81 career wins, 197 games started and 1001 strikeouts. One would never mistaken Nolasco with the most talented pitcher on the Marlins in any given season, yet he always produced solid, unspectacular results. Maybe we will see him don a Marlins uniform in the future, until then, here is his Marlins season grade.
It sounds like a broken record, but Alvarez was another young player that came over in the blockbuster trade with the Toronto Blue Jays this season. I must admit, that trade looked better and better for the Marlins as the season wore on. Alvarez is not a power pitcher by any stretch of the imagination, but he locates well with excellent movement on his pitches and keeps the ball down in the strike zone. He posted a 3.59 ERA to go along with a 1.140 WHIP. He showed a lot of poise for a 23-year-old, as we will get to later.
He managed a 1.9 WAR, and he brought back memories of Dontrelle Willis in the batters box. The fact is, Alvarez can flat-out hit. There were numerous times that I was secretly hoping that Redmond would have the cojones to throw Alvarez in as a pinch hitter, but it never happened.
There is no way that I could finish an end-of-season recap and not mention Alvarez’s last outing of the season. In one of the most memorable games in Marlins history, Alvarez threw a no-hitter that ended in a wild ninth inning that saw him get the 27th out, then return to the dugout to watch his teammates push across the winning run on a wild pitch. With that game, Alvarez showed that he has the ability to be something special in this league and cement himself into the rotation for next year.
Miami’s young pitching staff outperformed all early season expectations. They carried this team, and it sounds crazy to say, but this team would have lost a lot more games had it not been for the pitching. As a matter of fact, this team could have been in the discussion for worst record ever. The Marlins placed 13th in starting pitching ERA and 21st in WAR. When you take into account that 4 out of the main 6 starting pitchers were 23 years-old or younger, color me impressed. Marlin’s fans can certainly hang their hat on a young pitching staff that can be the backbone of this team for the future.