Aug 9, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Jacob Turner (33) and catcher Jeff Mathis (6) talk to the umpire after Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla (not pictured) was hit by a pitch in the first inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
In my previous article, I wrote about Giancarlo Stanton‘s struggles so far in August has hurt the teams. So far his -0.4 WAR is the worst among all right fielders in the Major Leagues this month. It is easy to place singular blame on the biggest bat in the Marlins order and the lineups logical center of gravity, where everything swings around. But despite this artifact it is important to not ignore what the other major faults in the Marlins order has been so far August.
Derek Dietrich‘s demotion to Jacksonville and his replacement by Donovan Solano on a daily basis has been disappointing. The Marlins have had an offensive black hole at catcher with Jeff Mathis and Rob Brantly so far this month. Jake Marisnick also has been less than stellar in his short time with the big club, mainly as number seven hitter. It is easy to also criticize Adeiny Hechavarria but that would be counterproductive as he has be one of the only if not consistent, but predictable pieces in the Marlins lineup since the All Star break.
Derek Dietrich in his time in with the Marlins never hit for average, but he could be relied to pop a home run every once in a while and be somewhat of a better extra base hitter. In July before being demoted, Dietrich slashed .204/.259/.389 which looks absolutely ordinary and maybe even worse than that. But since the Marlins are in such need of extra base hits and home runs, a player like Dietrich as flawed as he was, can have a very good place in this line up. The .278 wOBA and the.185 ISO are the main cases to be made for Dietrich to have an everyday spot in the Miami lineup. In August Donovan Solano has been a main cause for the Marlins offensive ineptitude, with no home runs a .233 wOBA and 42 wRC+. It is simple, Derek Dietrich at his worst is better than August Donovan Solano.
Second base has been an issue for the Marlins, but catcher has been even worse. In August the Jeff Mathis/ Rob Brantly “platoon” have combined to amass a .286 OPS for Mathis and a .283 OPS for Branly, wRC+’s in the negative 20’s and 30’s, and negative WARs. If Stanton has been a problem, the lack of pop from second base and having two catchers that could not hit the broad side of the barn exacerbated the situation. Catcher might be one of the positions in which a team maybe willing to sacrifice offense for defense but not to the extent that Brantly/Mathis have been hurting the Marlins. It is hard to propose a change to make this problem better, the Marlins called up Koyie Hill who has proved in his career to not be Mike Piazza or even Ramon Hernandez. I think that should be a major focus for the Marlins front office during the winter to get some offensive help at backstop.
Jake Marisnick was called up because of Justin Ruggiano‘s struggles and that is undeniable. Ruggiano who is in a 0-42 slump has gotten no plate appearances and that forced the Marlins hand and we have given the young Marisnick a shot, the only problem is that he hasn’t performed very well either. In August Marisnick has slashed .167/.167/.194; hasn’t drawn a walk has -10 wRC+ and is at -0.3 for the month and he has spent much of the month batting seventh behind Hechavarria. Lineup construction is about maximizing the chances for runs to score but it is completely meaningless, if nobody in the lineup can actually do their job.
We as baseball fans like to make this game very difficult, but it is simple. “Get ’em on, get ’em over, get ’em in.” It sounds simple to do but it is very difficult if nobody is getting on base and more importantly pushing runners across. There are no magic bullets, panaceas or anything that can actually happen to make this team better. We as fans better hope things get better, when Giancarlo snaps out of his funk and the rest of the team comes along with him. After all doesn’t the saying go “hitting is contagious.”