Marlins' pitching options: AJ Puk or George Soriano, who will step up to the challenge?

Will it be enough or should they add an arm?
Jul 21, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA;  Miami Marlins relief pitcher George Soriano (62) pitches against
Jul 21, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Marlins relief pitcher George Soriano (62) pitches against / Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Marlins are without ace starting pitcher Sandy Alcántara for the 2024 season and they need another starter for the year. The Marlins rotation currently consists of Jesus Luzardo, Braxton Garrett, Eury Perez, and Edward Cabrera, as well as Trevor Rogers. Rogers, Luzardo, and Cabrera however have been rumored in trades and so there is a strong potential one won’t be with the Marlins come opening day. The Marlins are looking at using AJ Puk and George Soriano as starting pitchers, stretching out their arms to see how they can perform. 

Is AJ Puk or George Soriano the answer for the Marlins' starting pitcher need?

This might be the most useful role for AJ Puk as the vaunted closer is searching for a role on the team. Last season Puk posted a 3.97 ERA out of the pen over 56.2 innings and 58 appearances. Puk struggled in giving up hits and runs which lost him the closer role this year. His hits per nine innings average rose from 7.2 to 8.6 and his home runs per nine innings average rose from 0.9 to 1.6. The southpaw doesn’t have much value coming off last season so he will have to find a way to make an impact and starter could be his way forward. 

George Soriano is also potentially up for a starting role, coming off his rookie campaign in 2023. Over 52 innings and 26 appearances, including one start, Soriano posted a 3.81 ERA with a 1.327 WHIP. He had a better average than  Puk in both hits per nine innings at 8 and home runs per nine innings with 1. 

Soriano seems to be the better fit for the starting position just by the numbers, and based on last season he is a more dynamic pitcher, mixing between his 95 miles per hour fast ball at 41% of the time, his slider 38% of the time, and his changeup 21% of the time. Puk was fastball heavy and used his 96 mph fastball 51% of the time, his sweeper 43% of the time, his sinker 5.1% of the time, leaving only 1% use of his changeup. Comparing the two, Soriano has a clear out pitch where hitters are hitting under .200 versus Puk where hitters are all mid .200s against. Soriano wins the day looking at the numbers, but we will see what plays out this spring. The trade market is tough this off-season, so the Marlins will have to work hard with a few big names taking up a lot of time for executives.