Marlins 2020: Is Ryne Stanek the Next Coming of Heath Bell?

Ryne Stanek’s two months in Miami were less than we all had hoped.

The Miami Marlins acquired Ryne Stanek from the Tampa Bay Rays with Jesus Sanchez for Nick Anderson and Trevor Richards at the 2019 trade deadline. Considering who we gave up, and what we’ve received in return so far, we have to hope that Sanchez is a future stalwart.

Pre-deadline, Stanek was pretty good for the Rays. Sixty-one strikeouts in 55 2/3 innings, a 131 ERA+, a 3.40 ERA, a 1.150 WHIP and a 0.9 WAR seemed to indicate a possibility at closer for the just-then Sergio Romo-less Miami team.

The year prior, Stanek had totaled 1.4 WAR in 66 1/3 innings for Tampa Bay, with an even better 1.085 WHIP and a 2.98 ERA with another 81 strikeouts. Although his 3.7 walk-rate was a little high, he had brought that down to a mark of 3.2 per nine through July 31st, 2019.

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ATLANTA, GEORGIA – AUGUST 22: Ryne Stanek #35 of the Miami Marlins. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)

After the trade, Stanek’s whiff rate was better than ever, with 28 in only 21 1/3 innings. Unfortunately, his walk-rate was more than double that of his prior mark of 3.7. With 19 walks, he racked up an untenable 8.0 BB/9, and that has be a matter of concern for those who pay attention.

Comparison

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PHOENIX, AZ – AUGUST 21: Relief pitcher Heath Bell #21 of the Miami Marlins. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Back in 2012, Miami came into their season with great hopes after a complete retooling at the major league level. The additions gained in the 11-player deal with the Toronto Blue Jays, along with the acquisition of Heath Bell and long-time Chicago White Sox stalwart Mark Buehrle looked to push the Marlins into the playoff picture.

Buehrle, at least, performed more-or-less as advertised, but the 34-year-old closer extraordinaire Bell did not. With 132 saves over his past three seasons with the San Diego Padres, Bell converted 90.4 percent of his opportunities. For the Marlins, he saved 19-of-27, with a 1.555 WHIP, a 5.09 ERA, and -0.4 WAR. For Bell, Miami eventually gained minor leaguer Yordy Cabrera.

Verdict

Can Stanek turn it around? Time is on his side. Still just 28-years-old, maybe his two-month hiccup for the Marlins is simply an outlier to the larger picture. In the conversation for Miami as their 2020 closer, Stanek can nail it down with a strong Spring Training showing.

Whatever the case, Miami has several options other than Stanek for closer. Jeff Brigham, Adam Conley, Jarlin or Yimi Garcia, Jose Guzman, Jose Quijada, Sterling Sharp, Jose Urena, and Drew Steckenrider remain possibilities. We just have to see how everything shakes out.

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