Mar 31, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins right fielder Marcell Ozuna (13) connects for a solo home run third inning in the of an opening day baseball game against the Colorado Rockies at Marlins Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

2014 Miami Marlins: Veteran Leadership, Talented Youngsters Should Boost Offense

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Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no point in being a downer and talking about small sample size and selection bias.  Statistics are meaningless at this point  2 games into a 162 game season. There will be up there will be downs but the team’s performance will ultimately be determined by a singular truth – youth and experience will have to come together.

For better or worse, no matter how you feel about the Marlins going out and acquiring Saltalamacchia, Garrett Jones, Casey McGehee and Jeff Baker their fate in 2014 will be intimately tied to their performance and this where I will not play the sabermetrician but agree with numerous ex-ball players giving their analysis all over TV.

There has to be an X-factor for a team to succeed, sometimes it comes from the manager, often from a single inspirational leader but usually it is about how the team as a whole chooses to approach the season.

The Marlins veteran acquisitions may all be on the wrong side of their primes, they will not improve in the future or have a career year in 2014 but what they lack in skill they will more than make up for in determination.

There is a debate in the advanced analytics community sparked by Allen Craig’s 1.138 OPS and .482 wOBA with runner in scoring position if that is actually a “skill” or if it just happens through variance and dumb “luck.”

If I was a Cardinals fan i don’t care how or why Allen Craig arrived at his insane RISP numbers last year, I accept that they are impressive and hope that he will be able to recreate at least a semblance of those numbers.

 

Mar 31, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins third baseman Casey McGehee (9) connects for a three run RBI double in the fifth inning of an opening day baseball game against the Colorado Rockies at Marlins Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Mar 31, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins third baseman Casey McGehee (9) connects for a three run RBI double in the fifth inning of an opening day baseball game against the Colorado Rockies at Marlins Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

 

I  agree with Mark Twain here when it comes to the RBI and hitting with men in scoring position “There are lies, damned lies and statistics”

It is a wild goose chase to try and predict how a batter will hit with RISP because there are so many variables that it is nearly impossible to determine what is significant and what isn’t.  Maybe it is nothing except a question of how many opportunities a hitter has to hit with RISP.

The Marlins 3-4-5-6 hitters will more likely have many more chances to hit with men on and in scoring position than last year and they will be able to actually capitalize on those opportunities.

At the very lowest lows last year in May when Juan Pierre, Placido Polanco and Adeiny Hechavarria were taking reps in the 1-2 holes and two rookies Dietrich and Ozuna hitting 3 and 4 no wonder the Marlins couldn’t score runs and played 14-41 ball for the first 2 months of the season.

Rafael Furcal’s injury is the best thing to ever happen to the Marlins

Christian Yelich will get on base he proved that he could in the high minors and last year and will continue to do so.  Until further notice he should be Marlins leadoff hitter, it is better to start games and innings with a hitter on second or third than relying on a singles hitter.

I feel like if Ozuna hits he should  hit second as with his natural power bat, dynamic speed and as another extra base threat. Would be a boon to an offense that sorely needs to do its best to not give up outs.

Giancarlo has proven to be a streaky hitter and will continue to be one. At least he should he should get more pitches to hit with some proven veteran talent hitting behind him.

I am not delusional, I completely understand that the Marlins will still be a bottom third offense and they may even remain last but at least they won’t be last by so much.  Last year they Marlins finished with 1823 Total Bases about 200 less than the Mets who were second to last while also finishing in 12th the NL in runners left on base. They scored 513 runs in 6021 plate appearances or a run scored for every 11.73 plate appearances.

This years Marlins will not suddenly morph into a good offensive team but at least it is nearly impossible for them to be a bad they were last year given. Thanks to an infusion of veteran talent and full seasons from up and coming hitters Yelich, Ozuna and Dietrich.

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