Do the Marlins have the best offensive middle infield in the National League East?


The acquisition of Dee Gordon to man second base for the Miami Marlins has at least one person super excited for the 2015 season. In a recent comment on Twitter, columnist Joe Frisaro opined that the Marlins may now have the best middle infield combo in the National League East, as seen below:

That’s a pretty brazen and generalized statement for a respected columnist to make, even for Twitter. Needless to say, he received a bit of jabbing from followers that didn’t necessarily agree with his opinion on the matter.

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On Saturday, we looked at the Marlins combination Adeiny Hechavarria and Dee Gordon, and compared the pair against their counterparts in the National League East from a defensive standpoint. If you want to save yourself the trouble of reading the previous edition, I’ll just let you know that the results were not pretty for our Miami heroes.

However today is another day, and there are two ways to skin this cat. With that in mind, we’re going to wrap up this argument by looking over the offensive comparisons and seeing which team comes out on top.

Just like yesterday, the following players will be used:

Miami Marlins – Adeiny Hechavarria (SS) and Dee Gordon (2B)
Atlanta Braves – Andrelton Simmons (SS) and Alberto Callaspo (2B)
New York Mets – Wilmer Flores (SS) and Daniel Murphy (2B)
Washington National – Ian Desmond (SS) and Danny Espinosa (2B)
Philadelphia Philiies – Freddy Galvis (SS) and Chase Utley (2B)

Additionally, I am going to be basing the examination on combined scores for the following categories:

wOBA – Weighted On Base Average
wRC+ – Runs Per Plate Appearance, Park Adjusted
ISO – Isolated Power
BsR – Base-Running Runs Above Average
wRAA – Runs Above Average, based on wOBA
OPS – On-Base plus Slugging

Again, like yesterday’s study, we’re only going to base this off of last year’s numbers. I’m sure that’s not fair for some players who have more consistent over the years, as opposed to those who may or may not be a flash in the pan, but it’s what we’re going to do here. That said, here are the statistical comparisons:

[table id=75 /]

Needless to say, the Marlins duo places much better from an offensive standpoint than they do from a defensive grading. Of the six categories, Hechavarria and Gordon fared particularly well in the categories directly impacted by base-running (BSR and wRC+), but obviously trailed the curve when it came to power and settled down the middle when it came to simply getting on base and adding runs.

Offensively, the Nationals and the Mets were the most well-balanced of the duos, with offensive stalwarts like Ian Desmond and Daniel Murphy leading the way. The Braves were understandable the worse of the group, with defensive-minded shortstop Andrelton Simmons and Alberto Callaspo coming off of a down year. Oddly enough, Chase Utley was unable to rescue the ineptitude of Freddy Galvis, who I can’t see the Phillies relying on through an entire season without looking for an upgrade there.

So with that behind us now, and both the defensive and offensive studies completed, we can now firmly say that the Marlins duo is not the best in the division, at least not yet. However, they are also not the worst of the group either. Based on the analysis, the Nationals are likely the best equipped to take the title home, but they also have a lot riding on a rebound for Espinosa and a decision to make regarding Desmond, who could be a trade candidate just one year away from free agency.

As for the Marlins, a second consecutive solid season from Gordon and the continued development of Hechavarria’s bat could go a long way in changing that ranking. Until then, they are firmly entrenched in the middle of the pack, which gives them plenty of room for improvement.