Revamping the bench


The offensive woes the Marlins are currently facing stems from poor performance by several of the starters.  But the bench is not helping matters, having combined for a poor .267 wOBA.  There are a couple of guys in AAA who could help this cause though.

Hector Luna had an incredibly impressive year last season, finishing with a 1.025 OPS for Albuquerque.  Considering Albuquerque used to be the Marlins affiliate, I doubt I have to go into just how much of a hitters park it is, and his MLE for the year was a .731 OPS.  Going into the season, projection systems were in line with this, as CHONE had him at .720 OPS and ZiPS at .740 OPS.  Luna is having another solid season, as he’s putting up a .850 OPS for NOLA, which equals a .713 MLE.  His CHONE RoS has actually improved a bit, going up to .725.  With Luna having a career MLB OPS of .713, I think it’s easy to claim he’d be putting up a low-700 OPS for us.  Certainly not amazing, but still an improvement.

But Donnie Murphy is making a case that he shouldn’t just be on the bench, but that he’s a starting MLB caliber player.  After missing almost all of 2009, CHONE had him at a good .742 OPS coming into the season while ZiPS was a lot more pessimistic at a .672 OPS.  But he has been absolutely murdering PCL pitching, having a massive power line of .317/.359/.600/.959 and 8 HRs in just 128 PA.  This leads to a MLE of a .815 OPS and CHONE RoS has him at a .783 OPS.  Keep in mind Murphy is 27 years of age, so he’s still near the start of his peak.  His power off the bench would be a major welcome.

Unfortunately, even though their bats are possibly better then any of the four currently on the bench, there likely isn’t room for them.

They won’t be replacing Brett Carroll; both are IFers. (CHONE RoS: .705 OPS)

They won’t be replacing Brian Barden; Barden is easily the best defensive IFer we have, and only one capable of playing a good shortstop.  His role is that of a defensive replacement, so his bat is of less importance. (CHONE RoS: .667 OPS)

They won’t be replacing Mike Lamb; Both are right handed batters, and the FO is adamant on having a left hander on the bench even if there are right handers who’d hit right handed pitching better as these two likely would. (CHONE RoS: .667 OPS)

They won’t be replacing Wes Helms; While he holds the role of “Right handed infielder” that the two would covet, he is incumbent for “intangibles”. (CHONE RoS: .658 OPS)

Ditching Helms and Lamb for Murphy and Luna would likely serve as an improvement to our bench, but it’s very unlikely to happen.