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The 2012 MLB Draft has officially come to an end and it provided its fair share of drama, as we got a first look at how the new CBA and altered draft rules affected teams’ draft strategies. I discussed the Marlins’ first-round pick, left-hander Andrew Heaney out of Oklahoma State, and now I’ll be taking a look at how the Fish fared on days two and three of this year’s draft.
The Marlins had to wait 95 picks after the Heaney selection to take local Florida high schooler Avery Romero in the third round. Romero played shortstop in high school but most think he has the bat to be able to stick at second or third base in the pro ranks.
Another one of the more intriguing Marlins’ picks on Day 2 was Louisiana prep outfielder Kolby Copeland. An athletic, toolsy outfielder, some were comparing Copeland before the draft to White Sox first round pick Courtney Hawkins. The Marlins were also linked to Hawkins in the days leading up to the draft, but perhaps the club felt they had the chance to get a similarly-skilled player in a later round, thus part of the reasoning behind taking Heaney ninth overall.
In the fifth round, the Marlins grabbed another high school bat in Austin Dean out of Klein Collins HS in Texas. Though he played third base in high school, the club selected Dean as an outfielder. In watching video of Dean at the plate, you can see that he has a bit of a funky stance and gets out on his front side a bit too much, but he also generates tremendous bat speed that should translate into power in the pro ranks. He’s committed to play at the University of Texas, so he could be one of the Marlins’ tougher signs from the first ten rounds.
You hear it all the time while watching baseball games. It’s one of those widely used baseball cliche that fans, writers, and commentators have latched onto. Some player hits a long homerun and a good 7/10 times I guarantee you’ll hear it referred to as a “bomb”.
I would describe a bomb as a loud, devastating, violent, ‘game’-changing event… So, I won’t argue that the comparison is without its merit.
But, it got me wondering; if homeruns are equated to bombs, what then is a stolen base?
Then it came to me. How about a lightning strike? Fast, exciting, there and gone in an instant with little to no warning, and often beautiful in its dangerousness. Yeah… I like that.
“What are you talking about, Mike?”
Oh, hello again my imagined reader. Allow me to explain.
As of the moment I write this article (about 11:00pm on 05/29) the Miami Marlins lead the entire MLB with 60 stolen bases, 15 more than any other team. This puts them on pace for 194 stolen bases this season, 24 more than the leader last season (San Diego – 170) and the most any team has accumulated since Tampa Bay also had 194 in 2009.
Which would also tie them for the highest total since 1996 when Colorado had 201 SB’s and Kansas City had 195, respectively.
In a league that’s modern era has seemingly moved away from the stolen base in favour of the more ‘fan friendly’ long-ball, it’s exciting to watch a team stealing bases at such an enthusiastic pace.
Giancarlo is back. After starting this April with only one home run and a serious dip in his power numbers across the board, Stanton has returned to his regular self in May. So far he’s knocked out 11 homers to go along with a .324/.410/.735 (BA/OBP/SLG) slash line, and the month isn’t over yet. Although it took him longer than expected, Stanton has finally gotten going this year, and he appears to be back on track to hit somewhere around 40 home runs this year.
The main reason for Stanton’s recent success has been the uptick in HR/FB%. In April, only 6% if the fly balls he hit were home runs, while 30.3% have ended up as home runs in May. Stanton’s career HR/FB rate is 23.9%, and he was due for some positive regression towards his true skill level–some regression which he’s clearly taking advantage of.
The change in Stanton has not only been in home runs, however. He has also hit more than twice the amount of doubles in May (9) than he had in April (4), and his Isolated Slugging is up from .096 to .398.
Thanks to the data at TexasLeaguers, we can see visually the difference between the two months for Stanton.
With this graph, what becomes clear is not only did Stanton hit but one home run, but he really didn’t hit for very much power at all. Most of his hits here were singles (either to center or left), and only a few were even threatening fly balls. While not terrible, April was definitely below standard for Stanton, given what we’ve seen and come to expect from him.
When you open the season with a roster featuring players of the caliber of Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Reyes, Heath Bell, Hanley Ramirez, Carlos Zambrano, Gaby Sanchez, Mark Buerhle, and Logan Morrison there is a reasonable expectation that one of those players would be the team’s best player.
Someone forgot to tell that to Omar Infante.
The ten year MLB vet has come into the season on fire leading the team in a multitude of categories including hits (33), doubles (10), batting average (.330), Slugging Percentage (.650), and is tied for the team lead in homeruns with 6, and 2nd in RBI’s with 17.
But, it’s not just his team that he leads. Entering play on May 12th Infante finds himself sitting with the elite second basemen of the MLB, and in many cases, in a league of his own. The numbers, in fact, are so good that putting Infante’s name among the elite is not only warranted but nearly a necessity.
Now, I’ll pause for a moment to say that personally, I’m not a fan of sabermetrics. Don’t get me wrong, I believe many of the statistical categories are eye opening, but conversely I also feel some of the categories don’t serve much a purpose in player evaluating.
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According to MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, the Marlins are directing their attention toward Greg Dobbs, attempting to re-sign him. Dobbs is coming off his first year with the Fish, where he hit .275/.311/.389 in 439 plate appearances. He spent much of the season playing at third-base, while also seeing occasional action in the outfield. Although not nearly as exciting as some of the team’s other signings this off-season, the potential move would come as no surprise given the Marlins need for depth in the infield and the added benefit of having a “clubhouse leader” on the roster.
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Now that the dust has settled and many of the big name free agents have decided on their next city of residence the Marlins and their fans have started discussing where the extra “Pujols money” should be spent. If you where to put yourself in the Marlins front office position the answer is clear. There is only one person available who is an above average player, highly regarded by most scouts, and who would be a marketing departments dream in South Florida. That man is Yoenis Cespedes.
Yes, I realize it is being reported that Cespedes could receive as much as $60 million dollars for an estimated 5-6years, and we can all agree on the fact that that is a lot of money to give a 26-year old center-fielder who has never even set foot on a major league field, but this isn’t just a baseball decision. To be a part of the Miami Marlins front office we have start looking at the business side of baseball and in Miami the Cuban born Cespedes is far more valuable than any “royalty” that is available on the free agent market.
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He hasn’t signed yet, but all signs suggest a potential deal is close.
Two days after the Marlins made headlines by signing Jose Reyes, it appears that perennial All-Star Hanley Ramirez is “distraught” over the idea of moving from shortstop.
The Palm Beach Post’s Joe Capozzi reported this potentially disheartening news yesterday. For all the progress the organization has made in its recent signings of Heath Bell and Reyes and pursuit of free agent starting pitchers, the assumption was that Ramirez would accept moving to another position given the improvements Reyes would bring to the team. It seems this may not be the case.
Though it is still unclear how serious the report should be taken, there is no doubt that Ramirez is at least somewhat disappointed in the likelihood of switching positions. After all, he has been the franchise’s best player for years and switching from shortstop, one of the most difficult positions, would likely decrease his value. But exactly how unwilling is Ramirez in switching?
For all we know, Ramirez could downplay the controversy while acknowledging that Reyes at shortstop makes the team better. Or, he could assert his unwillingness to move – perhaps he envisioned the organization focusing on first base and starting pitching this offseason, rather than shortstop? It will become clearer very soon as to how seriously this controversy should be taken.
Capozzi wrote that team officials, including President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest, “dodged” questions about Ramirez moving.
Left fielder and first baseman Logan Morrison hopes Ramirez “accepts it and does what’s best for the team, because in the end, what’s more valuable – wins or if I’m playing shortstop?”
Morrison has a point in that it is no secret that Ramirez is not a good defender. Over the last three seasons, Ramirez has accumulated UZR/150s of -0.1, -12.4, and -10.2. On the other hand, Reyes not only has superior numbers defensively, but holds a much better reputation among scouts.
ESPN’s Keith Law is of the opinion that Ramirez could be a “plus defender” at third base.
As Capozzi noted in his column, Miami already has an estimated $75.35 million in contract commitments for eight players in 2012, which apparently is not deterring the team from pursuing Albert Pujols. Just as there were skeptics of the Marlins’ interest in Reyes, there are even more doubters surrounding the team’s pursuit of Pujols. But it appears that Miami is, once again, a serious player for the first baseman.
It could be that things are only heating up for Miami so far at this year’s Winter Meetings.