Scoring runs for the Miami Marlins was a difficult feat in itself last season. What have they done to fix that?
The Miami Marlins had trouble scoring last season with runners on base. Although the Fish finished 4th in the MLB in batting average, they finished 27th in runs scored.
With splits like that, there is definitely an issue considering that runs win games. One leading contributor to this issue is the fact that the Marlins finished with the 5th most double-plays turned against.
What’s worse is that many of these double plays were turned with runners in scoring position. Enough so that the Fish landed themselves at 6th for most double plays turned against with runners in scoring position.
More from Marlin Maniac
- Miami Marlins news: Another target gone
- Why didn’t the Miami Marlins sign JDM?
- Miami Marlins rejected Boston‘s trade offer
- Miami Marlins are pursuing Michael Conforto
- Miami Marlins need to spend to win
The Fish also finished 29th when it came to extra base hits. What that tells us is that a large majority of the 1460 hits they had last year, were singles. This tied into the fact that the Marlins were 2nd in baseball in ground outs does not bode well for scoring runs.
A lot of this is preventable when it comes to being aggressive on the base paths. The biggest problem, however, came that the Fish were only taking extra bases (first to third) 39% of the time. That was below league average.
When runners are not hustling around the bases, it makes it difficult to be able to score.
During the off-season, manager Don Mattingly sent a letter out to the Marlins’ players. Originally reported by Peter Gammons of ESPN, Mattingly sent out a letter that Jim Leyland sent to his Pirates players. The letter illustrated how important the little things are in baseball.
This letter seems to have set in the back of many of the players’ minds. Moving runners over and being aggressive on the base paths are paying off for the Fish in 2017.
While still currently ranking 6th in team batting average, they have climbed through the standings in terms of runs scored. The Fish are now in a three-way tie for 6th in total runs scored.
Their standing in extra base hits is still rather low, however, the Marlins have dramatically cut down on the amount of double plays they are grounding in to.
Let’s not forget that we have also seen a surge in their batting average with runners in scoring position as they now rank 9th in the big league circuit.
Changing of the Guard
Another thing that is different in the clubhouse is the coach that is helping our hitters. In 2016 the Marlins were learning from one of the greatest hitters of our time, Barry Bonds.
While the average was up, the runs were down. As great of a hitter as Bonds may have been, he was not able to teach the Fish on how to hit.
With Bonds out, in comes Mike Pagliarulo. “Pags” is an analytical man, moving his way through in analytics and scouting after his big league career came to an end. Prior to this season, the closest thing that Pags had to any professional coaching was as a hitting coach for the Pirates Triple-A affiliate.
Bringing a new skill set to the Marlins, Pags is able to prepare material and help the players understand the material he is presenting. This game prep is clearly paying off, and not a moment too soon either.
Along with Frank Menechino, Pags is looking to help this Marlins team rise to the top of the National League East.