Miami Marlins are 29th on ESPN MLB Analytics Rankings

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Oct 6, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon (9) hits a single during the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals in game three of the 2014 NLDS baseball playoff game at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

BABIP, we don’t need no steenkin’ BABIP

The draft and international free agency are just one aspect that is informed by analytics. Another arguably more important factor is how a team chooses to go about its decisions in free agency and in transactions with other teams. The Marlins proved they have a complete lack of analytical knowledge earlier this offseason when they traded three very intriguing prospects, Austin Barnes, Enrique Hernandez and Andrew Heaney for Dee Gordon and Dan Haren.  Heaney was one of the premier left-handed pitching prospects in all of baseball and Hernandez and Barnes were both multifaceted and multidimensional players who had a future playing a variety of roles for a baseball team.

Dee Gordon had a breakout year last year in which he stole 64 bases, but that came on the back of an inflated .346 BABIP. The odds are is that his BABIP will regress to the mean and he will have a year more akin to his 2013 (.234/.314/.298) than his 2014 (.289/.326/.378). Either way Gordon is nothing more than a league-average offensive second baseman with a below-league-average glove.

The story is much the same with Mike Morse who also had a .348 BABIP in 2014. Miami’s first baseman strikes out too much and doesn’t walk enough to justify his high HR/FB ratio and ISO. Morse is an interesting case if he can stay healthy and can somehow improve his plate discipline and pitch selection. He could be one of the premier power hitters in baseball but at the moment he will always be a second banana nothing more than a complementary player who can never fulfill his potential.

BABIP is just one example of an advanced stat the Marlins seem to ignore when making personnel decisions. Some advanced stats are more pertinent than others, but it is quite obvious that if the Marlins aren’t paying attention to even BABIP, how can they know what xFIP or defensive runs saved is?

Next: To bunt or not to bunt?

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