Fishing for Hope- A Miami Marlin Story

Season in Review: Miami Marlins

When you think of dismal, poor, or not competent I believe that the Marlins might be the first baseball team to pop inside of your head. They are just a few years off of trading away their entire stock of Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, J.T. Realmuto, and Christian Yelich. Were the trades worth it? Well that is what we are going to be finding out today!

Recap of Marlins’ 2019 campaign

The Marlins are fresh off a brutal 57-105 season. What might be the most impressive about the Marlins is that they have not seen a winning season since 2009! Yikes… Over 10 years ago! That year in 2009 they went 87-75 off the back of Hanley Ramirez. Oh how the times have changed. The Marlins were a team that was full of promise in the earlier part of the 2010’s with studs in Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, J.T. Realmuto, Jose Fernandez (R.I.P.), Dee Gordon, and not much to write about after that. However, whenever Derek Jeter rode into town, the farm was shipped out of town and so the rebuild began. The fun part about being a fan for the Marlins is that usually your favorite player will always leave, 23 of 25 players that top WAR for the Marlins have been traded. The other two are A.J. Burnett and Jose Fernandez. Basically such as life for the Miami faithful. So after all of these trades, what shape are the Marlins in currently? Well to be honest they look to be a bottom-dweller in the NL East for the foreseeable future and the moment they get close, they will likely trade away their talent. They came in this season with a dismal .241 batting average as a team with Brian Anderson leading the charge. The results on the pitching side were roughly the same too, with a 4.74 ERA and a 4.89 FIP. All of this is to say there might be little hope.

Bright Points

The poor season that Miami saw last year, it is awfully hard to find any bright points except for the weather and the fact that they are in Miami, but hey we will try.

Brian Anderson

The 26-year-old slugging third basemen/outfielder from Edmond, Oklahoma is one of the few bright points to talk about for the Marlins. He saw his ISO jump nearly double to what it was in prior seasons. Which is a good sign that he is making more solid contact that he was before. The only worrisome stat with him is his knack to not get walked that much. This could be a bi-product of the team that he is playing for causing him to be pitched to more aggressively or could be a fault of his own. We can back up that he is a fairly aggressive hitter with an O-Swing% of 32.3% which is higher than most batters. Another positive aspect of his game is his DRS which was an 8 at 3b and a 5 in the OF. He could be one of the next victims of the perpetual nature of the Marlins to trade their top players. He has seen his wOBA increase each of the past three seasons .309/.333/.342, respectively. In the video below, you can see that he has an above average blend of fielding abilities, contact skills, and some raw power.

Sandy Alcantara

Sandy Alcantara was a pleasant surprise for the Marlins this past season. He is going to be in his 24 year old season in 2020 and looks to go further off of his first All-Star campaign. Sandy was part of the trade the Cardinals had to get Marcell Ozuna. Other players of notable status in that trade were Zac Gallen (Miami traded him too) and Magneuris Sierra. The young right hander has what most would call and electric Fastball with his average heater coming in at a cool 95.9 last season. On top of that, his fastball grades out as a value of a 10 wFB. His other pitches show promise at times especially if he can get slider to consistently break. If he can hone his secondary pitches, this guy could become a pitcher to watch out for. He shows a capable arm that is able to take on around 190+ innings in a season. This past year he threw 197.1 innings. His 3.88 ERA looks good, but the numbers behind that are a little more shaky. His FIP was a 5.17 this season which is .01 higher than his prior year where he threw 37 innings. This is likely due to the fact that he does not strike out many hitters and is prone to give up flyballs. His SIERA is even more concerning with a number of 5.28, where a 5.00 is considered awful by Fangraphs. However, with Sandy if he regresses a bit in the starting game, especially because may suggest that it could be plausible, I see him as a Closer. I will not count out a 24 year old just yet though because there is a chance that he can find his stride with his offspeed and see a notable difference in SIERA, Strikeouts, and Flyballs.

Sandy Alcantara Highlights

Prospects

The last bright point for the Miami Marlins is that they have some decent prospects in their farm system. The only issue with betting on the prospects is that their future is always uncertain. You can check out some of the prospects that are notable for the Marlins below.

Sixto Sanchez

Sixto Sanchez could easily be one of the top pitchers for the Marlins in the near future. The 21 year old right hander was brought to the Marlins as part of a trade for J.T. Realmuto. He made it up to AA this past season and saw much success there. He was capable of an ERA under 3 in 103 innings. It seems that we could see him either this next year or the following based on his current progressions. I would be interested to see him in the majors because he has a plus changeup and an above average fastball. Which usually can project very well as long as no command issues arise. In the video below you can see his fastball and the interesting windup that he possesses. He has the makeup that would see in a top prospect for the MLB. He could easily be a huge part for the future of the Marlins, especially if he continues his success.

Monte Harrison

Monte Harrison is another interesting prospect for the Marlins. He has progressed fairly slowly in the minors just making it to AAA this past year. He MO is to strikeout and at a fairly decent clip. He has been anywhere in between 25-41% for a strikeout rate which does not bode well. However, there is some upside to this kid. He has the ability to hit for power. His Fangraphs rating for raw power is 65 which shows that his above average in that stand point. I believe that once he makes it to the major leagues, he will struggle with most of the pitching that is put in front of him. He may not be able to compete at first, but maybe overtime, he could progress nicely. One thing that is certain about Monte is his athletic prowess. In his years in high school he was a top prospect for football, basketball, and of course baseball. Looking at Monte, you can see that he is a built guy with the ability to be a plus level competitor in the MLB, but he will have to harness more contact ability for that athletic ability to shine through. You can see some of his speed below.

Monte Harrison Speed

Isan Diaz

Isan Diaz is my wild card because he did not make it in the list I put together above. That is because he is already in the MLB. The 23-year-old prospect from Bayamon, Puerto Rico did not impress this last season in his rookie campaign. That is fine because, I believe that he will progress into a better player this upcoming season. My reasoning is this, in AAA he had a season that was eerily similar to the season that he just put forth in the MLB. He had a 29.0 k% in AAA his first season and a 29.4% in the MLB, his walk percentage for both was 9.7% and 9.5%. He hit .204 in AAA and .173 in the MLB. His next season in AAA was decent with a slash line of .305/.395/.578 and a wRC+ of 132. Now am I saying that Isan will hit the same? No, but I am saying that he will progress. The last time besides AAA that he was at the same level for more than a year was in Rookie ball and he improved that year too. I think that Isan is a grinder and might turn out to be an above average player in the MLB. He doesn’t swing and miss at too many pitches with a swinging strike rate of 10% and he is not going to hurt you defensively with a 1 DRS in 418 innings. He will be someone to keep your eye on in the future.

Got Trades?

Marlins ReceiveMarlins Give
Starlin CastroGiancarlo Stanton
Jose Devers
Jorge Guzman
Yankees Trade
Marlins ReceiveMarlins Give
Lewis BrinsonChristian Yelich
Monte Harrison
Jordan Yamamoto
Isan Diaz
Brewers Trade
Marlins ReceiveMarlins Give
Sandy AlcataraMarcell Ozuna
Magneuris Sierra
Zac Gallen
Daniel Castano
Cardinals Trade
Marlins ReceiveMarlins Give
Nick NeidertDee Gordon
Robert Dugger1 million in Internation Pool
Christopher Torres
Mariners Trade
Marlins ReceiveMarlins Give
Sixto SanchezJ.T. Realmuto
Jorge Alfaro
Will Stewart
International Pool
Phillies Trade

The Marlins are known for trading away their talent. This is a disappointing part of their culture. The largest shame is that they could potential have had a playoff caliber team if they stopped playing the trade game. Just look below at this part of an article from fivethirtyeight.com.

POSITIONPLAYERCURRENT TEAMWAR
CJ.T. RealmutoPhillies3.0
1BJustin BourAngels-0.1
2BDee GordonMariners0.3
SSEnrique HernandezDodgers1.3
3BColin MoranPirates0.8
LFMarcell OzunaCardinals1.7
CFChristian YelichBrewers6.1
RFGiancarlo StantonYankees0.2
BenchJake MarisnickAstros1.4
BenchCameron MaybinYankees1.2
BenchAustin BarnesDodgers0.5
BenchAdeiny HechavarriaMets0.2
SPLuis CastilloReds2.3
SPDomingo GermanYankees1.7
SPChris PaddackPadres1.6
SPTrevor WilliamsPirates1.1
SPNathan EovaldiRed Sox-0.2
RPAnthony DeSclafaniReds1.5
RPAnibal SanchezNationals1.3
RPSam DysonGiants1.1
RPJason VargasPhillies1.1
RPYusmeiro PetitAthletics0.7
RPNick WittgrenIndians0.6
RPAndrew HeaneyAngels0.5
RPSergio RomoTwins0.4
SOURCES: BASEBALL-REFERENCE.COM, FANGRAPHS, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-marlins-traded-away-a-playoff-team/

Anyone with any knowledge of baseball would know that this team is stacked. Add in a free agent or two and you might have a World Series contender. This is probably the low point about being the Marlins. I do not have faith in the Front Office to keep this team going in a current direction. While things are promising now with tons of talented prospects, there is a good chance that they do not see a winning season for years to come. They could easily prove me wrong, but I doubt it, nobody wants to watch them in their new stadium which equals low revenue numbers which means less money to spend on players, which means worse performance on the field, which means less revenue… but you get the point. They even turned away one of their most faithful fans, if that doesn’t tell you what direction these guys are headed in, nothing else will. Even though over this offseason, they have added a couple pieces to already bad team, there won’t be much to look forward to in the future. They have added Corey Dickerson, who is a very good player but isn’t going to single handily save a team. They also managed to trade for Jonathon Villar. Once again, he is a nice player but he will not set the world on fire. They need more than just a couple pieces and the largest worry would be the team that they turned away from all the trades they originally did. Time is always the best indicator of what will happen next, so soon we shall see.

Bold Predictions

#1: Expect more trades from the Marlins

#2: They will not see a winning season in next 3 seasons

#3: They will break through and finish with under an average of 10,000 fans at their games this following season (they had 10,016 on average last year).

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