David Schoenfield Ranks Marlins 20th in ESPN Rankings

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"Sep 1, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Henderson Alvarez (37) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the New York Mets at Marlins Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports Due for a worse year: Henderson Alvarez drives analysts crazy because he went 12-7 with a 2.65 ERA despite a strikeout rate that ranked 83rd among 88 qualified starters. Alvarez does get ground balls — eighth in ground ball rate — but he also held batters to a .209 average and just one home run with runners in scoring position. Here’s betting that ERA climbs over 3.00."

Alvarez had a huge breakout 2014 campaign, but the chances of him repeating that in 2015 isn’t very likely. As David points out, Alvarez ranked 83rd out of 88 qualified starters in striking hitters out.

Only three pitchers have posted a 2.70 ERA and a K/9 below 6 in the past 5-years. So what Alvarez did last year was pretty rare.

But that doesn’t mean he isn’t a good pitcher. Alvarez, in my view, is still a very capable number 2 starter, just not the ace he pitched like last season.

Alvarez posted a 3.58 FIP and a 3.57 xFIP in 2014, which is probably closer to his true level as a pitcher. Steamer projects a 3.90 ERA and a 3.70 FIP in 2015 for Alvarez in 163 innings. I see Alvarez doing better than that, but we’ll get into that later as we jump into the season preview.

While fans may not like what David has to say about Henderson Alvarez, he’s not wrong in this case. Alvarez is a pretty good pitcher, but he’s not quite the caliber pitcher he was last season.

Next: Questionable Moves?