Buehrle Enjoying Best Start Among New MarlinsBy
It is still very early in the season but Mark Buehrle, the free agent signing that likely landed the least amount of press of Marlins’ three big signings, is having a fantastic early season start in his first year in the senior circuit.
Top free agent signing Jose Reyes is hitting a poor .230/.294/.377 with a wRC+ of 80 and only four stolen bases in six attempts. To make matters even worse, his -3.2 UZR is the fourth worst mark in the National League and tied with Derek Jeter for the worst mark among all Major League shortstops. Add a -0.7 Bsr and you get a player worth -0.2 fWAR on the early season.
Heath Bell has only pitched five innings but has already allowed four runs and three walks on the season, not to mention he already has two meltdowns on the season and his fastball velocity is at its lowest mark since he wore New York Met blue and orange back in 2005.
The Marlins did not just sign all of their new players; they also made a trade for one. Carlos Zambrano is off to a much better start than the two players mentioned above with a 2.84 ERA in 19 innings over three starts and he also has a healthy 3.88 FIP and 3.85 xFIP. But, he has had some luck with a ridiculously low .170 BABIP, which is more than 100 points below his career mark. So, while his shiny 2.84 ERA looks good it may not be what we get the rest of the way.
But, having the best early season among all the newcomers is Mark Buehrle and please, do not let his 1-2 record fool you. Buehrle has logged 20.1 innings in his three starts and owns a 12/1 K/BB rate (using unintentional walks) to go with a 2.66 ERA despite horrible fielding behind him. His FIP sits at a nice 3.48 while his xFIP is also looking good at 3.70. Both his FIP and xFIP are the lowest since his 2005 season. Buehrle also annually outperforms his FIP and xFIP.
These are small sample sizes but Buehrle’s BABIP and ground ball rates are right in line with his career marks while his strikeout rate is at its highest mark since 2008, suggesting that some of Buehrle’s low ERA success is due to ability and not just luck.
While I do not expect Buehrle to continue to post a 2.66 ERA due to poor defense behind him and a stranded runner rate a little higher than his career norm, I do expect this early season success to continue and I would not be the least bit surprised to see his FIP and xFIP remain the lowest marks he has posted since his 2005 season.