Archive for Analysis
When the Miami Marlins became one of the most active teams on the free agent market this past winter, most of the attention was focused on their pursuit of Albert Pujols and ultimately the signing of Jose Reyes. Mark Buehrle, who followed his skipper Ozzie Guillen to the bath salt capital of the world, was seen as a solid addition to the Marlins’ rotation, and most figured that the lefty would give fans what he had put up routinely in his days with the White Sox. 200+ innings, a low walk rate and a sub-4.00 ERA. So far in 2012, Buehrle is on pace to do just that, albeit with a surprisingly different approach.
On Saturday night, the Marlins beat the Rays 4-3 in the 15 inning marathon. While the team recorded 13 hits and put up one of their better offensive performances of the year, it was not a night to remember for Omar Infante. The Marlins second baseman went hitless in seven plate appearances, with four of his outs coming by way of strikeout.
The hitless days have been occurring with increasing regularity for Infante as of late. Since the start of June, he’s been hitting .175, and has an under .300 OBP since the start of May. Worse still is the disappearance of Infante’s power—which many thought he would be able to sustain after he got off to a hot start.
Through May 11th, Infante had a team-leading 6 home runs, 10 doubles, and 2 triples, enough for a .650 Slugging percentage, over .250 points higher than his career mark of .396. His ISO of .320 was also almost 3 times higher than his career average (.121).
Below is a spray chart of Infante’s balls in play through May 11th:
The power shown here is quite impressive—especially so for a second baseman. The left field line and fence are clustered with extra-base hits, along with a few singles up middle in center. Also, while most of his hits here are pulled, Infante has shown power to the opposite field, drivng balls to the gap in right-center.
Finally, a series I feel particularly and specifically capable of previewing.
The Toronto Blue Jays are coming to town! Or, from my perspective, going to Miami (I’m Canadian, have I mentioned this?).
Two teams with completely opposite plans when it comes to team building match up in Interleague play sporting very similar records.
The Miami Marlins (33-34) spent $117m to bring in multiple key players in hopes of competing this season in the tough NL East.
The Toronto Blue Jays (35-34) spent $75m with high ceiling, but very raw prospects filling the Major League roster in hopes of competing two seasons from now in the tough AL East.
So, why are these teams playing with similar records? I have no idea, but I think it goes back to my last article.
Miami needs to win this series. I’ll say that first. After what can only be described as an abysmal month thus far they have a Jays team coming to town having lost four of their Top seven starting pitchers coming out of Spring Training and are struggling to gain traction Their top hitters have been underperforming, their young hitters have been streaky, and their bullpen has been overworked in recent weeks while relying on minor league call-ups to eat up multiple innings.
We all have them about pretty much every detail of our lives. Big expectations, small expectations, some we’re aware of and some we have without knowing it.
We expect to wake up every morning, we expect the sky to be blue, we expect work or school to suck and we expect life to continue when it does. Reasonable expectations.
I expect to write a snappy article that makes no sense when I start writing and somehow manages to conclude in a witty fashion. Another reasonable expectation.
However, like many expectations, including my expectation of myself, not all expectations are met every time.
With this in mind I give you the 32-30 Miami Marlins, a team who is just 1-7 in their last 8 games and have not lived up to their overall expectations as a unit.
And with all the lofty expectations that fans and media have for this team, mostly because of the big name acquisitions they had in the off-season, the blame does not and should not fall on those stars.
The Miami Marlins tabbed Oklahoma State southpaw Andrew Heaney with the ninth overall pick in today’s 2012 MLB Draft.
Heaney was seen as the most polished collegiate lefty of this year’s class, and although he doesn’t have the upside of high schooler Max Fried (taken by the Padres with the seventh pick), Heaney still brings plenty to the table.
The Oklahoma State junior was selected by the Rays in the 24th round out of high school but opted to continue to play Big 12 baseball in Stillwater. He had a breakout 2012 campaign that included being named a First-Team All American, striking out 140 and walking just 22 in 118.1 innings, as well as leading the team with a 1.60 ERA.
The 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft, or Rule 4 Draft as it’s officially known, is less than two weeks away and we’re just now starting to get a better feel for where some players are likely to get selected. Unlike the NFL and NBA Drafts, the MLB Draft is notoriously difficult to accurately mock, due in part to the immense collegiate and high school player pool, as well as the overall lack of national television exposure for prospects throughout the prep and collegiate seasons.
The MLB Draft has grown in popularity over the last several years, aided by its first-round broadcast on MLB Network beginning in 2007, as well as recent super-prospects such as Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper drawing national interest. The new Collective Bargaining Agreement will also affect the draft in several ways, with key changes being ten fewer rounds (50 to 40), an expedited signing deadline, and harsher penalties for teams that go over slot.
The Marlins hold the ninth pick in this year’s draft, putting them in a good position to get an impact prospect that has the long-term potential to be a cornerstone of the organization. I decided to take a look at a few draft prospects that should be around when the Marlins make their first-round selection, with some scouting notes and video on each.
RHP Lance McCullers
McCullers is a righty with power stuff out of Jesuit HS in Tampa who didn’t allow an earned run during the entire regular season of his senior year and is likely to hear his name called early on draft day. His repertoire includes a mid-90′s fastball, good slider, and average changeup. McCullers is also part of a good baseball bloodline, as his father Lance Sr. pitched for seven seasons with the Padres, Yankees, Tigers and Rangers. The Marlins took another Florida prep righty with their 2011 first-round selection Jose Fernandez, who has been stellar to start his professional career, and McCullers could be another high-ceiling arm to add to Miami’s minor league system.
Almost immediately after my first two blog posts had been submitted (the Infante blog was submitted on the 13th and posted on the 15th) I found myself having a hard time deciding what to write about next.
The Marlins are in no way short of interesting stories and angles, the same as any professional sports franchise, but as an out-of-city follower it’s not as easy to keep my finger on the pulse of the team and its fans.
And, so I did the only thing I could think of doing; I texted my best friend. I began explaining how difficult it was to write about for a team that I can’t always see play and asked her for advice. She responded asking only which team it was that I am writing about.
The resulting conversation went like this.
Me: “Miami Marlins”
That was all the prompting I needed to begin writing about a 24-year old prospect who was then hitting .284 with a .369 OBP and a .391 slugging percentage. Similar to the Infante article I was jumping on the ‘this guy is awesome!’ bandwagon.
That was ten days ago.
Since, I’ve watched as have all of you as LoMo went 3 of his next 25 and saw his average drop 34 points, his OBP drop 23 points, and his slugging percentage plummet nearly 40 points and I began to re-remember the most important thing for any baseball fan to remember.
Earlier today, while I was having breakfast, I overheard a disturbing statement that immediately grabbed my attention. Speaking to his girlfriend, a twenty-something year old gentleman remarked, very matter-of-factly, “I wish it were legal to just beat the crap out of whoever you wanted to.”
I had many questions running through my head after hearing this, chief among them was how a blueberry bagel could extract so much anger out of a single individual. But that’s beside the point. Anyways, in what has to be the worst segue in history, Giancarlo Stanton happens to be beating the crap out of baseballs. Since the beginning of this month, he’s doing it with increasing regularity, and from what I can tell, Bud Selig has yet to outlaw this behavior.
When the season began I posed the question “Is Anibal Sanchez‘s 2011 repatable?” He had a fine season, one that was worth 3.8 fWAR and he set career best marks in innings pitched, strikeouts, K/9, BB/9, and xFIP.
The question posed was one of legitimate reason and potential concern. After all, Sanchez had only surpassed 115 innings pitched twice in his career and his second half numbers were far different than his first half numbers. Take a quick look: Read More→
The Miami Marlins’ most notable moves of the past winter were undoubtedly the free agent acquisitions of Jose Reyes, Mark Bueherle, and Heath Bell, but perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects was the return of ace Josh Johnson. After missing most of the 2011 season with a shoulder injury, the Marlins entered the year hoping that Johnson would be ready to anchor their rotation in their quest for the NL East crown. But unfortunately for Ozzie Guillen and Co., Johnson’s start to the year has been anything but pretty.
Through seven starts this season, Johnson is sporting an ugly 5.87 ERA and has already had three starts where he has given up five runs or more. And although he’s coming off a solid seven inning start against the Astros in his last outing, perhaps the most concerning element to Johnson’s 2012 campaign was Ozzie Guillen’s recent comments to the Miami Herald, who told the paper that he wondered if Johnson was “not feeling good.”