After a sluggish start which saw them go 8-14 in April, the Miami Marlins have turned things around in a big way during the month of May. Their 14-5 surge has allowed them to get back into the thick of things in the NL East, as their 22-19 record seats them third in the division, just 3.5 games behind the first-place Braves.
Outside of two players, the offense has been largely pedestrian. Collectively, they've put up an OPS+ of 83, which ranks 14th in the National League. However, the pitching has been very good (their team 118 ERA+ ranks third in the league), and it hasn't even been the guys that were expected to be that way.
#12 / Second Base / Miami Marlins
Dec 26, 1981
|2012 - Omar Infante||.326||.357||.568|
Omar Infante was acquired in a trade that sent Dan Uggla to Atlanta. Infante was coming off an "All-Star" season in which he posted a sub-.800 OPS (as he has in every other year of his career). His first season in a Marlins uniform wasn't a real good one, as he posted a 90 OPS+ (though he led the league in sacrifice hits!). Still, they re-signed him at $4 million per year for the next two seasons. So far, this has proven to be a wise investment, as Infante leads the club with a 147 OPS+. Is he going to sustain that level of production? Not likely. However, he's already on pace to shatter his personal single-season record of 16 home runs, as he has hit six already. And, that's with half of his games being played in a park that has been rough on home run hitters. Luckily for Colorado (but not fortunate, and actually very sad, for Infante), Omar left the team yesterday after learning about the passing of his grandfather. He may return on Wednesday for the finale.
Mike Giancarlo Stanton has been the other productive bat in the Marlins' everyday lineup, and that one was a little more predictable. Stanton sports a 129 OPS+ and has hit eight home runs so far. That total will only go up when he figures out how hard he has to swing to get balls out of his new park. No park in the universe can hold his homers, that's for sure. Although the rest of the lineup has yet to eclipse the 100 OPS+ mark, there are some positive signs in nearly every spot. For instance, as a club, they're better than average at drawing walks, and they don't strikeout anywhere near as much as they have in the past. Jose Reyes epitomizes this, as despite the fact that his OPS sits at just .667, he has drawn 21 walks compared to just 12 strikeouts. Logan Morrison (.698 OPS/91 OPS+) has cut down on his K's dramatically as well, striking out just 18 times compared to walking 16. They also still have Hanley Ramirez on their team. Some of these guys are going to adjust to hitting in their new ballpark (which has treated hitters well, according to the park factor of 116) and when they do, their lineup might be pretty scary.
On the mound, two of their prized pitchers have scuffled so far this season. Josh Johnson has pitched to an ERA+ of just 81, as he's being hit more than he ever has in his MLB career. Meanwhile, Heath Bell, their big bullpen acquisition of the offseason, has been absolutely dreadful. He has an 8.16 ERA (49 ERA+) and has walked more batters than he has struck out. Aside from those guys, Miami has been quite successful on the bump. Carlos Zambrano's resurgence has been music to the Marlins' ears, as he currently boats a 1.96 ERA (199 ERA+). The only guy in their rotation that has bested him is Anibal Sanchez who, despite having a higher ERA and lower ERA+ (2.32/168), has struck out better than a batter per inning and has a K/BB ratio of nearly 4. Mark Buehrle, another big free agent acquistion, has pitched about as well as expected. His 3.17 ERA (123 ERA+) and K/BB ratio of 3.22 are exactly what the Marlins hoped for when they gave him a $58 million deal in December.
Projected starters and more after the jump...
Game 1 - tonight at 5:10 PM MT (ROOT Sports)
Jamie Moyer (2-3, 4.20 ERA) vs. Mark Buehrle (3-4, 3.17 ERA)
Game 2 - tomorrow at 5:10 PM MT (ROOT Sports)
Juan Nicasio (2-1, 4.37) vs. Ricky Nolasco (4-2, 4.10)
Game 3 - Wednesday at 5:10 PM MT (ROOT Sports)
Alex White (0-3, 5.09) vs. Carlos Zambrano (2-2, 1.96)
Miami Marlins Roster