Sep 1, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Miami Marlins left fielder Christian Yelich (21) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a run against the Atlanta Braves in the first inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Our co-editor Chris is already undertaking the massive task of breaking down each Marlin’s 2013 season position by position. I’m glad somebody is doing it because if it was up to me it wouldn’t get done. The Marlins had a very bad 2013 they miraculously only lost exactly 100 games. An in depth season review would be instructive but I have a new concept to try here, I’m tentatively calling this kind of article “Fish Round-up.” What I aim to do here is to in a few sentences or a paragraph encapsulate how a Marlin player or just a position platoon has done, in a 1 or 2 week period, a half season or even the entire season. I feel like this method is effective because it allows for flexibility and to find interesting statistical tidbits without wasting a lot of time. I also aim to make these pretty witty and fun to read. So here we go.
Catcher – Mathis, Brantl et. al. ,- A Voltron of disappointment.
The Marlins had an all around tough year, I don’t need to keep saying that to prove that it was true. But behind the plate it was particularly bad. In 644 cumulative plate appearances Marlins catcher mustered a .192/.249/.280 slash line a 6.8/26.6 BB/K ratio and cumulative -1.8 WAR. Brantly was bad offensively but Mathis was worse striking out nearly 30% of the time. Mathis’ value was on defense contributing 5 DRS and 2 stolen bases runs saved. (rSB) The Cubs Wellington Castillo contributed 19 DRS while the Pirates Russel Martin contributed 9 rSB. Mathis defense makes him borderline as a platoon while his offense makes him unplayable.
First Base – LoMo NoMo? How 2013 proved that maybe Morrison isn’t the solution.
Marlins fans were expecting a lot from Logan Morrison’s return especially after how badly Greg Dobbs did in the first couple months of the season. In heavy playing time for a primarly bench player Dobbs struggled to a .228/.303./300 slash line hitting only 2 HR and 63 wRC+. Unacceptable numbers for a position expected to produce power and be the cornerstone of any lineup. LoMo stayed healthy, which as always is a bright spot but he was the ninth worst 1B by DRS among those played at least 500 innings, putting him in the same company as Adam Dunn, Adam Lind and Prince Fielder. His defensive ineptitude hurt his WAR numbers but a .708 OPS a .133 ISO, 6 HR and .312 wOBA in 333 PA is a step in the right direction.
Second Base- The Ballad of Derek Dietrich
A good baseball aphorism is “You can’t teach power,” well here’s to hoping that plate discipline can be taught. Derek Dietrich was the most intriguing Marlins player this season. A second baseman with legitimate power doesn’t come by very often. While Donovan Solano types are a dime a dozen. Let’s play a game below is a table with two rookie seasons one is Dietrich in 2013 the other is Chase Utley in 2003. Guess which is which.
Season A is Dietrich, Season B is Utley. I’m not saying that Derek Dietrich is the next Chase Utley but looking at their numbers as left-handed power hitting second basemen they seem to be very similar. Not having Dietrich play 100 games or 400 PA is definitely one of the things that hurt the Marlins most in 2013.
Third Base- How Ed Lucas was Ed Lucky.
As weird as the Marlins season was the emergence of Ed Lucas is the weirdest thing that happened. A 31 year old career Minor League journeyman played got nearly 400 PA and acquitted himself quite nicely in the “Show.” Thanks mostly to a .319 BABIP and 24.6% line drive rate. On par with Joe Mauer, Matt Carpenter and Allen Craig. Lucas is a singles hitter with good bat control and an understanding of the strike-zone. But his true value for having positive UZR/150 at 1B, 2B and 3B. A true asset on any NL roster.
Shortstop- Will the real Adeiny Hechavarria please stand-up?
Granted 2013 was only his 23 season and his full season at SS in the Major Leagues. But color me unimpressed a .227/.283/336 triple slash line a .270 BABIP along with trouble hitting fastballs and sinkers. I remember lots of weak pulled balls to the left side of the infield in 2013. I’m no hitting coach but something in Hechavarria’s approach must change for him to become a credible everyday Major League shortstop. He plays nifty defense but that sometimes can just mask some other deeper problems. At the moment Hechavarria is a sucking chest wound in the middle of the Marlins infield and the top or bottom of their order.
Outfield- An embarrassment of riches or who will be the fourth outfielder going forward?
The Marlins plan to build around Stanton in 2014 that’s the biggest duh. ever Even after having another injury interrupted season, an awful August, playing in one of the least deep lineups in recent memory Stanton still finished with 24 HR, .845 OPS, .231 ISO and 21.8% HR/FB ratio. Yelich in less than 300 PA has already solidified himself in LF with a .288/.370/.396 triple slash line an 11.4% walk rate and 116 wRC+. Ruggiano despite having an 0-42 hitless streak , during which he was benched still finished the season with 18 HR, .307 wOBA and .175 ISO. Further he is probably the second best fielding outfielder on the roster after Marcell Ozuna. This leads us to Ozuna who in 70 games showed the skills to be a very solid Major League outfielder in the future. Sure he is still raw and could probably could use one more season in the minors to learn better plate discipline as his 4.5/19.6 BB/K ratio shows.