Miami Marlins first half report card: Defense
It’s no surprise the Miami Marlins are near the top in nearly all statistical categories. The team has played solid defense all season.
Year in, and year out, the Miami Marlins are one of the better defensive teams in the league. Save for the Dan Uggla, Hanley Ramirez years up the middle, the Fish always play solid in the field. This season is no different.
While the offensive potency has gotten most publicity, Miami’s defense is quietly turning in one of the best years around the league. They are near the top at several key statistical categories as a unit, and only stand to get better.
It’s another day in the life of Perry Hill. The Miami Marlins are playing soundly with the leather.
Perry Hill has long preached the gospel of “The Six F’s”. By following these six F’s, Hill has turned out a number of gold glove fielders under his watch. The six F’s are: feet, field, funnel, footwork, fire, follow.
Miami appears to be doing all of those right now. The hard work is paying off, too. While the Fish don’t lead in any major statistical category, they are in the top five of nearly any you can think of. A fact made all the more impressive when you consider the way the infield was ravaged by injuries.
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Starting third baseman Martin Prado has missed the bulk of the season with various injuries. Starting shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays, and spent significant time on the DL. Slick fielding utility man Miguel Rojas still hasn’t made his way back.
The Miami Marlins have managed to maintain one of the most fundamentally sound defensive units with a rotating door of fielders on the left side.
Where they’ve succeeded
There isn’t a liability to be found in the field for the Miami Marlins. JT Realmuto is the most athletic catcher in baseball, hands down. Around the horn is a virtual who’s who of could-be gold glovers. Even Justin Bour has improved his defense tremendously this year.
Hill’s expertise is showing up in the statistics. The Miami Marlins are best in the National League with the fewest errors on the year. Their team fielding percentage is just .001 behind the Colorado Rockies for the same honor.
They also rank second in the National League in defensive efficiency.
Volume statistics like assists, putouts, and innings recorded are skewed by the Marlins having played among the fewest games so far. But playing the percentages gives you a clear idea of just how good they’ve been.
Next: First half report card: Manager
Defense first half grade: A+
The defense has undoubtedly been the most encouraging aspect of this team through the first half of the season. There isn’t much they can’t do with the leather. No matter where the ball is hit on the field, a plus defender always seems within reach.
You can only imagine how much the numbers might improve if they’d had the same players in there all season. It’s been a turnstile on the left side, but that hasn’t caused a noticable dip in efficiency.