Jun 29, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Jacob Turner (center) greets second baseman Derek Dietrich (left) and first baseman baseman Ed Lucas (right) after defeating the San Diego Padres 7-1 at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
The Miami Marlins will reach the midpoint of their season after tonight’s finale with the San Diego Padres. I think its time to see how far the team has progressed in the first year of the most recent rebuilding project. It has been kind of bummer year for the Marlins, but their have been some bright spots.
I am not going to go all David Schoenfield and only talk about how much the Marlins suck. However this isn’t going to be a complete praising of a last place team, but it won’t be a complete bashing of up and coming team. I’ll go from worst to first in the grading system. It will be a fair and honest look at where the Marlins are in the middle of the 2013 season.
So lets begin.
The Marlins in May– F
When a team is comparisons to the 1962 Mets, you know there’s a problem. The Marlins only won six games in that month. Only six games! Injuries decimated the lineup and rotation, so when people compared us to a Triple-A roster, they weren’t too far off. We rushed up Prospects, we had no first basemen, Stanton was hurt, Alex Sanabia started regularly for us, etc. It was really a very bad time to watch the team. They were big losing streaks almost every week of nine or eight games. It was really depressing. It seemed for a moment that the rebuilding process was a failure and Loria was just trying to screw with us again. While there were bright spots (they’ll becoming a little later) the month of May was the lowest point of the first half of the season.
May 21, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria looks on during the fourth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jeffrey Loria- D
While I could go on and on about how much of a terrible owner he is and cry about how he ruined the team, but it would be pointless. Were stuck with him for the long haul and we might as well try to see the good. This grade is an improvement on his offseason. By far. But why does he warrant a below average grade. Well it’s because he continued to meddle where he shouldn’t meddle. An owner should be a boss who doesn’t micromanage the little things on a team. He has to look at the big picture and have his wallet open in order to help that long-term future. Loria has a habit at trying to control everything from the front office to the players on the field.
This year he made a weird decision in a doubleheader matchup with the Twins. Going against the decision of Manager Mike Redmond, he decided to play Jose Fernandez in the first game of the double-header and Ricky Nolasco in the second. It was such a strange decision and I really don’t understand why he wanted to meddle in that situation.
Then there was the entire incident with Miguel Olivo. The guy is a backup catcher for the Marlins for the first few months as Jeff Mathis recovered from a broken collarbone on the DL, then when Mathis returns the front office decided to keep three catchers on their roster for no particular reason. Then Olivo didn’t get any playing time for the team for weeks on end, so he requests a trade or to be released. This sounds reasonable but Loria decides not to release or trade him and because of how much time Olivo is wasting sitting on the bench, he decides after batting practice just to leave the team. Then Loria, in a drunken power state, places him on the restricted list. I mean just let him go. Neither of the parties want to stay with each other so just sever the ties and move on. This has been the extent of the Loria’s meddling but because he is so unpredictable, you never know what he is going to do next.
The Ability to Score Runs- C-
For the second year in a row, the Marlins are having difficulty getting the big hits at the right times. Sure recently the Marlins have gotten some very clutch hits, especially by a player that will be talked about later, but in general the team does struggle to score enough runs for their talented rotation. They have a big three when it comes to pitchers but their hitting is still a work in progress. Stanton is playing well but he got hurt which totally disrupted the already fledgling offense. Stanton also began the season hitting .220, so we can’t call him the only savior to the offense. Morrison was hurt until the beginning of June so when he came back the offense got a much-needed bat to a lineup that needs runs. Dietrich has struggled from time to time, Brantly isn’t getting as many at bats and when he does he is not exactly lighting up the scoreboard, and Hechavarria is work in progress with his bat. The team has shown that it has potential to get some big hits, they still need work.
Marcell Ozuna– B+
When Giancarlo Stanton got hurt in the beginning of May, the Marlins were forced to bring up one of their top prospects in Ozuna. I’m sure they didn’t expect him to bring such an impact to the team. His batting average has stayed around .300 for his entire stint, he has a .431 batting average with runners in scoring position, he plays excellent defense in either center or right field, and he is only 22. He represents the hitting side of the rushed Marlins prospects. He and Derek Dietrich had to come up early to replace some players and both have made sure they should stay on the team for the long run. Ozuna has been the better of the two and it brings a good deal of excitement for a outfield that could consist of Stanton, Ozuna, and Yelich. Marcell has been a solid contributor for the team and he has forced himself into future plans of the team.
Mike Redmond- A-
The first year manager has been pretty good, as he faced more adversity than anybody in the majors this season. Red didn’t have the team he expected at Spring Training due to injuries, he had to work with a Triple-A roster, he had to develop all the young players on the roster, juggle all the responsibilities of an everyday manager, and deal with the micromanaging of his boss Jeffrey Loria. Sure the Marlins have the worst record in baseball. Sure they had comparisons to the 1962 Mets. But it wasn’t Mike Redmond’s fault and he never gave up on the team. He always knew there was a better team hidden under the disabled list and he was able to prove that in the month of June. His managing during the games works so well and he is able to maximize the team’s efforts to win games. He has the demeanor and confidence that is needed to inspire a young team and its paying dividends now as the Marlins posted a winning record for the month of June. I think the team made a good decision in getting Mike Redmond as our Major league manager.
Jose Fernandez- A
The absolute brightest spot of the last place team. Ever since he jumped from Class-A baseball to the Opening Day Roster, Fernandez has been one of the most electric starting pitchers in the major leagues. Already, he is making a case for Rookie of the Year and he is solidifying himself as one of the best young starting pitchers in the game. His pure pitching stuff is absolutely beautiful to watch, his confidence on the mound is that of a veteran, and the way he adjusts himself during the game is incredibly impressive. The best thing though is that Jose Fernandez is only 20 years old. He is already one of the best young players and he is still developing. His potential is immense and I can’t wait to see whats going to happen with this kid.
The Marlins Potential- A+
2013 is a rebuilding year for the Marlins. In this rebuilding year we have seen some incredible low points but also some pretty good high points. This is a young team. More than half the starting lineup hasn’t had more than a year of big league experience. The starting rotation is led by three pitchers, Jose Fernandez-Jacob Turner–Nathan Eovaldi, whose collective age is about 21 and have all shown their potential to be front of the line pitchers. Their minor league system has some players that could be game changers for the Marlins, like Christian Yelich and Colin Moran. Next years team is going to be a young team with major league experience, that has incredible upside in terms of talent. I believe the future of the Marlins is incredibly bright and I have no doubt that the Marlins will be one of the best teams in a couple of years. Marlins fans should be excited as the time for another World Series is not far for this immensely talented team.
What do you guys, what grades would you give the players I mentioned and leave some grade for other players in the comments.