Fish Bites


A happy 4th of July weekend from the Marlin Maniac, and here are some links to make the weekend go nice and smooth.

– First off, tonight’s matchup between the Marlins and the Pirates at Land Shark Stadium. Chris Volstad looks to bounce back from a series of poor outings versus Charlie Morton, he of the Nate McClouth deal. The Pirates swept us over at PNC Park last time we met, and it triggered a massive losing slide by the ballclub. Hopefully this time around we can pick the wins and propel ourselves heading into the All-Star Break.

– As you might have caught yesterday, Luis Ayala will be a Marlin. The Marlins sign him to a deal after he cleared waivers for the Twins. Dave Cameron said it before, then I reiterated it, and Dan 2.0 of FishStripes wanted everyone to know, in case you missed it, that Luis Ayala is not the answer for the Marlins bullpen problems. In fact, Ayala is just another guy, like a Triple-A scrub with major league experience. Does that really make him worth the signing? If it’s for the minimum, I suppose there’s no real difference, just make sure he doesn’t get the high leverage innings, because:

"If you don’t put stock in WPA stats, look at his splits. In low leverage situations, batters hit .242/.286/.361 with a 3.14 K/BB ratio. In medium leverage, they hit .286/.334/.443 with a 3.35 K/BB ratio. But in high leverage situations, aka in big spots, batters hit .310/.361/.463 and his K/BB ratio drops to 2.38. In short, fifth or sixth inning? Put him out there. Get Pinto out of a jam in the 8th? Not so much."

Dan used a convincing argument using WPA that had no numbers in it, so I decided to give you the splits based on leverage instead. Unfortunately fo us, what the Marlins need is someone who can take care of high leverage innings, and what Ayala wants is to be the eighth inning guy; in fact, apparently that’s why he wanted out of Minnesota. Looks like we’re in for a bumpy ride, folks.

– Joe Frisaro credits Hanley Ramirez’s RBI streak to the guys in front of him. Both Coghlan and Bonifacio have had a nice stretch, but unfortunately for us, this gives the Marlins brass even more reason to not replace Bonifacio with a better player. From the article:

"Because of his game-changing speed, the Marlins have shown great patience with Bonifacio, who has had his ups and downs. On the season, he’s hitting .250 with a .297 on-base percentage and 44 runs scored.“It’s a long season. You just have got to continue to play hard,” Bonifacio said.The organization continues to build up Bonifacio because it feels he can be an impact player with his speed and defensive skills.“They always have given me support. When I was struggling, they were always saying, ‘Keep pushing, keep pushing,'” Bonifacio said. “Everybody here is helping me.”"

It’s obvious they’re not planning any time soon to replace him. I wonder why the Marlins have been so supporting in watching Bonifacio struggle mightily for 2 1/2 months while they also decided to send Cameron Maybin, a much better player, back to the minors for similar struggles and began benching Hermida, who has an average bat and has gone through a recent slump. I don’t get it.

– Speaking of Hanley’s streak, Juan C. Rodriguez (Dan calls him JCR, so I might start doing that too) says Hanley’s improved as a “run producer.” It sounds silly to me, because Hanley always produced runs on offense. Unfortunately, the mainstream media doesn’t see that unless they see his RBI’s go up, and let’s face it, RBI’s are all context and no meaning, other than “there are people on base in front of you.” Hanley leads the league in batting average with RISP, but second is Yunel Escobar, no big time RBI machine himself. It’s all context.

The groundbreaking event for the new stadium is set, reports the Herald. It’ll be on July 18th, free and open to the public, and everyone gets to shovel! Oh, joy!

– R.J. Anderson of FanGraphs with another great article on Joel Piniero, his groundball success, and if it’s sustainable. I’m sure this is very interesting to the Cardinals, because they can use any starter that works decently. Just don’t credit Dave Duncan too much.