Did the Marlins keep the right OFer? Pt. 1

By Editorial Staff

I went over this in the recent Jai Miller post, but to reiterate and expand: This past offseason, the Marlins were left with one spot on their 40 man roster for three players.  They would be Jai Miller, Alejandro De Aza, and John Raynor.  The Marlins kept Jai Miller, DFAing Alejandro De Aza (The White Soxs would claim him) and leaving Raynor unprotected in the Rule V (The Pirates would take him second overall).

When we looked over Jai Miller, things did not look good at all.  And on Saturday, the Marlins would DFA Miller to make room for Brian Barden.  With Cody Ross a question mark for opening day, this shows just how much faith the FO has in Miller being a major league quality outfielder.  Is that the same case with Raynor or De Aza, or did we make a poor decision?  Today I’m going to look over Raynor, and later I’ll look over De Aza.

Raynor’s combination of slash lines and speed in 2007 and 2008 wowed fans.  However, his slash lines were powered by huge BABIPs, his power was propelled by his age, and he struck out at an above average rate.  Things came crashing down last year, putting up just a .105 ISO and .348 BABIP, and he’s likely closer to that going forward.  That’s not a bad thing though.  Let’s take a look at his projection:

His .313 wOBA is identical that of Jai’s, though they do go about it in different manners.  CHONE has him at a slightly more optimistic .316.  Offensively, we can say him and Jai are about the same.  Defensively, you can repeat that same statement.  Raynor takes poor routes to balls but makes up for it with his blazing speed.  This makes him a poor CFer but above average in a corner, though his weak arm limits him to LF.

But there’s a pretty big difference between the two, and that’s on the base paths.  While Raynor stole just 19 bases at a 70% clip last year, that’s not really an inclination of his talent level.  Throughout his minor league career, he has stolen 142 bases (50 per 150 games) at a 82% clip.  So Raynor and Miller are the same offensively, the same defensively, but Raynor is considerably better on the base paths.  With Raynor’s speed, he was looking like a great bench player for pinch running and spot starting.  And while there’s still a chance he comes back to our organization (As a Rule 5 draft pick, he has to stay on the Pirates team all year), chances are he’s doing that for Pittsburgh going forward.  Now certainly with Bonifacio, Raynor’s value to our bench wouldn’t be as high since Bonifacio has the pinch running role down, but that doesn’t change the fact Raynor will likely be more valuable than Miller going forward.