Will the changes the Miami Marlins front office made to the pitching staff pay off this coming season?
The Miami Marlins pitching staff should be improved from last season.
Repeat that one more time.
The Marlins staff, which is still full of promise and hope – two words that are a dangerous combination in Major League Baseball – could be a surprise is the National League this season if pieces fall into place and their four starters: Sandy Alcantara, Caleb Smith, Pablo Lopez, and Jordan Yamamoto all continue to get better with each pitch they throw.
As for the fifth starter, it’s a complicated matter the front office and coaching staff will need to address once the team heads to Spring Training in less than a month.
The bullpen got upgrades this offseason with the additions of Yimi Garcia from the Los Angeles Dodgers, Sterling Sharp in the Rule-5 draft and the trade this week to obtain Stephen Tarpley from the New York Yankees. The Marlins are blessed to have numbers in terms of possible choices to fill out their pitching roster, but finding the right successful combination remains a mystery.
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"“Statistically, the only place the bullpen can go is up, because it ranked either at or near the bottom in many significant statistical categories in 2019,” Joe Frisaro of MLB.com wrote.“According to Fangraphs’ WAR, the Marlins’ bullpen was -2.2, ranking last in the Majors. Miami was the only team to finish with a negative bullpen WAR. The ‘pen ERA was 4.97, which was the sixth-highest, and it averaged 4.37 walks per nine innings, tied with the Pirates for the second-highest.”"
The fact the team does not have a prove closer on the roster and there is still a battle to be won in camp is a storyline we will follow closely. Manager Don Mattingly should have a number of names to choose from already affiliated with the organization.
Then, there is still the possibility of adding another veteran arm or two.
"“Add this all up, and you see why the bullpen has been overhauled,” Frisaro adds. “Having Drew Steckenrider healthy will be huge, because he will factor into the closer-role picture. Ryne Stanek also is a high-leverage option, as is lefty Adam Conley, and Jose Urena is moving to the bullpen after being the Opening Day starter for the past two years. The key to this bullpen may end up being the starters going deeper into games to ease its overall usage.”"
The Marlins may have other options coming out of camp from their minor league system and possible trade options before the team gets to Jupiter.