The present iteration of the Miami Marlins is not built for winning.
tl;dr – The Miami Marlins will be better next year and the year after than they were this year.
The longer version follows thus: The Miami Marlins presently boast a 55-103 record, a .348 winning percentage. That total is just eight wins above “replacement” level for 158 games. Only nine members of the team have an individual WAR above 1.0, and two of them have been traded away (Zac Gallen and Trevor Richards). The Marlins leader in the category, Brian Anderson at 3.8, has been sidelined with a broken hand suffered on an HBP near the end of August.
In total, nearly half (24-of-50) of the 2019 Miami Marlins have a WAR of zero or less, “led” by Lewis Brinson‘s unconscionable mark of -2.1. Other players on the lowest side of the spectrum for this year’s team are Martin Prado (-1.3), Austin Dean (-1.1), Rosell Herrera (-1.0), Adam Conley (-1.0), and Wei-Yin Chen (-0.9). That’s $38 million in salary to the six worst players on the club. Something’s wrong with this picture.
To further illustrate the futility of Brinson’s historic season, a team of position players who each finish the season with a -2.1 WAR (with replacement level pitchers) would result in a record of 30-132. Even worse, Brinson has only appeared in 71 contests. Extrapolated over a full 162 games, Brinson would have nearly five wins below replacement level.
On the plus side, the Miami Marlins can build on a pseudo-solid infield comprised of Miguel Rojas at shortstop, Garrett Cooper at first, Anderson at third and Jon Berti at second if they were so inclined. Those four totaled 9.1 WAR between them. Even better, a 150-game extrapolation of those four players results in WAR figures of 4.5 (Anderson), 2.7 (Rojas), 2.1 (Cooper) and 3.3 (Berti). Extending those figures to cover four “like” abilitied position players (again with replacement level pitchers) would yield a 73-win season.
That’s not to look too in-depth into the pitching staff, which boasts a lot of potential but too many questions. Sandy Alcantara seems to have turned the corner at least, with a very-good second-half. Over his last 10 starts, he’s only 1-4, but he’s holding the opposition to a 2.90 ERA, a 1.010 WHIP, and a .197 batting average during that stretch.
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And there’s help on the horizon as well, both from the mound and at the plate (and in the field). Players likely to make their major league debut with the Miami Marlins next season include RHP Sixto Sanchez, OF Jesus Sanchez (no relation), SS Jazz Chisholm, OF Monte Harrison, 1B Lewin Diaz, OF Brian Miller, and RHP Edward Cabrera. The “second wave” includes names such as J.J. Bleday, Braxton Garrett, Trevor Rogers, Jerar Encarnacion, Victor Victor Mesa, Kameron Misner, Jorge Guzman, Will Banfield, Tristan Pompey, and Peyton Burdick.
And that’s not even it. There’s already a third and possibly even fourth wave getting ready. Get familiar with Jose Devers, Luis Palacios, Connor Scott, Nasim Nunez, Evan Fitterer, Osiris Johnson, Victor Mesa Jr., and Humberto Mejia, amongst a host of others.
Not a “hot” location for free agency, the Miami Marlins could become a more desirable destination with better attendance. Better attendance should happen with a more “winning” team. A more “winning” team may be on their way.
In short, be patient. The Miami Marlins weren’t good this season, but they can’t get very much worse. Thanks for reading. Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our daily newsletter to keep up with the Fish.