Marlins All-Time Pitching Staff: The Best of the Best

WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 08: Starting pitcher Josh Beckett #21 of the Florida Marlins pitches against the Washington Nationals on September 8, 2005 at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 08: Starting pitcher Josh Beckett #21 of the Florida Marlins pitches against the Washington Nationals on September 8, 2005 at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
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MIAMI, FL – AUGUST 24: Jose Fernandez #16 of the Miami Marlins. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images) /

The Florida and Miami Marlins have had a total of 331 players throw at least one pitch at the major league level through their 27 season history.

In choosing the best of the best, I had to set an innings threshold. One-hundred seemed like a nice, round number for these purposes, and gave me a pool of 115 Marlins pitchers from which to draw. Which statistic though, is the most sensible by which to rank them from best to worst?

Strikeouts per nine innings? That seems short sighted, and getting a ton of strikeouts doesn’t necessarily make someone a great pitcher unless his WHIP is correspondingly low. Walks and hits per inning pitched? That’s pretty good, but doesn’t really indicate if someone is truly a clutch pitcher.

The ERA+ metric seems appropriate for our purposes here, in that it measures which pitcher was good where it counted – keeping runs off the board. Now, we have to figure out what constitutes a “pitching staff.”

In 1993, when the Marlins started play, a conventional major league team had five starters and five relievers. Over time, that number grew to five starters and eight relievers, where it stands today. Here at the dawn of the new major league 26-man roster, it’s been further explained that teams need to carry no more than 13 pitchers, so five and eight will remain the status quo for the foreseeable future.

This method returned a pitching staff that had a lot of notable exceptions, not to mention the rotation I landed with had two “swing” pitchers, who were primarily relievers. One of those two was good enough in the end to remain on as a bullpen option, but swingman Luis Aquino was cut off the bottom. In reaching for the fifth starter, I also had to drop Kyle Barraclough off the list.

I think the group of 13 pitchers remaining would be able to keep the Marlins in contention every year. Here’s the rotation first.

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