After roughly a quarter of the 2019 season has been completed, the Miami Marlins are far and away the worst performing club in Major League Baseball.
The strength of the Miami Marlins is reputed to be their young-gun stable of starting pitchers, but Trevor Richards (0-5, 4.46) and Sandy Alcantara (1-4, 5.11) have underperformed. After a pretty good run of four starts from April 16th through May 5th (23 IP, 13 H, 6 ER, 7 BB, 22 K), Pablo Lopez (2-5, 5.93) gave up 10 runs in three innings for a GameScore of minus-11 on Friday night. After a slow start, Jose Urena (1-5, 4.82) is starting to pick up a bit, and Caleb Smith (3-0, 2.11) has been a revelation, ranking third in the National League with a 0.891 WHIP. (Is Caleb Day to become a thing? Let’s hope so).
While the starting pitching has been more hit-or-miss than we’d probably like, the Miami Marlins offense has been putrid, to put it kindly. A collected batting average of .219 ranks second worst in the NL only to the Cincinnati Reds, their .283 OBP is last in the majors by a slight margin, and their .310 SLG is far and away the worst mark anywhere. The slugging percentage, in particular, isn’t even close to the next-to-worst mark of .347 put up by the Cleveland Indians.
And another thing – we can’t really blame it on the youth of the starting lineup. The average age of 29.2 ranks as the seventh oldest in MLB, nearly a full year older than the average of 28.4. Of the nine players eligible for the major league leaderboard, Rosell Herrera is hitting .203, now-demoted Lewis Brinson is at .197, and Curtis Granderson, clearly past his prime, is chugging along at an anemic .178 clip. But it doesn’t stop there.
“Third baseman of the future” Brian Anderson is hitting just .229 with a .618 OPS. Starlin Castro, who has like clockwork turned in seasons near the .280 mark for time out of mind, is hitting just .232 with a .298 SLG. The closest thing the Miami Marlins have to a power threat, Jorge Alfaro, has struck out 42 times in 117 plate appearances. That’s a 35.9 percent whiff rate, the worst mark in the majors. Miguel Rojas is hitting right around his career average of .244, as is Martin Prado, predictably hitting well despite lingering injury concerns. He’s second on the club with a .276 average.
After a slow start, veteran free agent signee Neil Walker has been a bright spot in a whole lot of dark. He’s 23-for-64 over his last 23 games after starting the season on a six-for-37 slump. He’s also the only player on the team with an OPS+ over the league average, at 129.
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With 24 home runs through their first 39 games, the Miami Marlins have hit eight fewer than the next-to-last in the category Pittsburgh Pirates, and less than a third of the major league leading Seattle Mariners, who have 78. Is there any help on the way for the Marlins?
Despite a bit of a goose egg in a short look at the end of April, Austin Dean has torn up the Pacific Coast League, hitting .382/.462/.696 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 28 games. Monte Harrison, predictably, has drawn only three walks in 30 games, but his batting average sits at a comforting .281, with five homers, 10 RBI, and 12 stolen bases in as many attempts. Calling up these two to replace Granderson and Herrera would be a sensible start.
That’s just my 2¢ though. We’ll see if the Miami Marlins are serious about putting some sort of a passable product on the field in the coming days. Thanks for reading.