Nobody could have predicted how year three of the rebuild would begin.
Now in the second week of May, we should be roughly a quarter of the way through the 2020 Major League Baseball (and by extension Miami Marlins) campaign. Instead, many of us across the United States remain in quarantine. Mandatory in some places, in others it’s become somewhat voluntary. Despite the ambiguity of the current quarantine picture, no major North American sports leagues have begun play due to the possibility of spreading the novel Coronavirus, COVID-19.
But prior to the current lockdown (not to be confused with a lockout), we were about to see a possible change in the fortunes of the Miami Marlins. Although the starting rotation picture remains roughly the same as it did at the end of last season, the Marlins defensive and offensive picture was much changed.
The offseason acquisitions of Matt Joyce, Jonathan Villar, Francisco Cervelli, Corey Dickerson, and Jesus Aguilar promised to make the Miami Marlins offensive threat maybe a little more “threatening” than in the past two seasons. Key to how far the Marlins can improve is tied to no other perhaps as much as Jesus Aguilar.
As recently as 2018, Aguilar was a National League All Star. That season, while playing for the Milwaukee Brewers, Aguilar put up the best numbers of his three full seasons of major league play. In 149 contests, he put up a line of .274/.352/.539, with 35 home runs and 108 RBI.
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But it isn’t as simple as plugging in the slugger at first base and bringing in the fences slightly then expecting another 30-40 home runs. In 131 games in the 2019 season, split between the Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays, Aguilar’s metrics took a dive to .236/.325/.389, with only a dozen home runs and 50 RBI in 131 games.
Aguilar, who is a six-foot-three, 250 lb. right-hander from Maracay, Venezuela, is currently 29-years-old, or right in the middle of the traditional “best seasons,” once thought to be the age 28-32 seasons. Although advanced metrics have in recent years proven that peak performance is somewhat younger than noted here, Aguilar can buck the trend. Maybe moving those fences in slightly and a change of venue to a more tropical locale can make all the difference in the world to Aguilar. At any rate, it was wholly unexpected that he would come to the Marlins via the waiver wire.
But for now it’s only a lot of talk, and I’m sorry that’s all we have right now. All we can do is cross our fingers and hope that MLB has some sort of plan to get play underway soon. I have a feeling that as Aguilar’s fortunes go in 2020, so go the Marlins. Thanks for reading.