By: Jeffery Romeu
Dylan Buell/Getty Images
Let’s starts by mentioning the dreaded fire sale this offseason which doomed the Marlins to become one of the worst teams in baseball. Nowadays, everyone knows who the Marlins traded since fire sales are basically associated with the organization. Guess what happened after all the trades? Surprise! They are one of the worst teams in baseball. As I’ve mentioned countless times before, the Marlins will only be contending for high draft picks for the foreseeable future and likely trading away any high salary players for prospects. Now, let’s take a look back at the Marlins first half of 2018! The Good, The Bad, and The Surprises.
The best player for the Marlins in the first half of the season is hands down, All-Star Catcher JT Realmuto. As the sole representative for the Marlins in the 2018 All-Star Game he has encapsulated an impressive .310 batting average, 12 home runs, 45 RBIs, .902 OPS, and rest base runners out over 90% of the time. He has proven to be the most valuable Marlins this season and has reportedly been in talks for a long-term deal with the team.
Another Marlins who is playing his first full year with the team and has continued to leave a mark on the team is rookie Brian Anderson. Last year Anderson played for about a month during the September call ups and proved his deserved a shot in the majors and this year he has become a legitimate contender for the National League Rookie of the Year Award. Anderson has a .288 batting average along with 8 home runs and 49 RBI's, but what is most impressive is his fielding percentage in both the outfield and 3rd base which is over .990. This versatile player can only get better and is likely become a home hold name in the coming years.
The bullpen of the Marlins is lights out! I was going to place this as a surprise, but in reality, all these players have proven themselves to be dependable in previous years. Kyle Barraclough has become one of the baseball’s best closers and is being desperately chased by teams such as the Red Sox, Yankees, and Dodgers. With a strong 1.28 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 44 games, he has drawn plenty of attention throughout the league’s teams who need bullpen support. In addition, Drew Steckenrider and Adam Conley have also been inquired about due to their consistency on the mound. Both have an ERA in the high 2 and a whip of about 1. While the future of the Marlins bullpen is in question, for now, they have been near unhittable.
If I would have told you the Marlins were going to play a top 50 prospect for an entire year at center field, most people would expect some struggle on the field and at the plate. However, Lewis Brinson has been very disappointing. Acquired by the Marlins in the trade for Christian Yelich, Brinson has been struggling since his first game. With a batting average of .186 and being on pace to strikeout over 150+ it is clear to say that he isn’t major league ready. Now, he has hit 10 home runs and knocked in 30 runs, but it is unknown if this prospect will be in the majors in 2019.
Wei-Yin Chen is probably one of the worst contracts the Marlins have ever agreed to. 5 years – $80 Million, but he has spent the majority of the time in the DL and when he does pitch he allows around 5.75 runs. This player will never stop being on this bad list. Nothing much to say but, terrible deal, below average player, and not a good arrangement overall.
The minor league pitching prospects for the Marlins have been a disaster. Their 2013 2nd overall draft pick Tyler Kolek hasn’t returned from his injuries and their 2016 7th overall pick Braxon Garrett is out with Tommy John Surgery and will most of the 2018 season. Trevor Rogers their 2017 13th overall pick has a 7.01 ERA in Advanced Single – A and their 2016, 3rd Round pick Zac Gallen has a 4.05 ERA in Triple A. Obviously the Marlins have recently called up pitchers such as Sandy Alcantara, Merandy Gonzalez, and Pablo Lopez, but due to their limited time in the majors there isn’t a sufficient data sample to determine if they are a bust or a win for the Marlins so far. But, the pitchers who are still in the minors are likely never to reach the major due to their injuries, numbers, or lack of talent.
Derek Dietrich! Wow! .288 batting average, 11 home runs, 32 RBIs, .805 OPS and a near perfect 1.000 in fielding all his 4 positions. Where did he come from? Every Marlins fan has known that Dietrich was a solid and dependable player, but this year he has exploded into a leader in the team. It is also fun to note just how much fun he looks like he is having everyday he is on the field! Pushing for this man to continue to produce in the 2nd half.
Brad Ziegler (Reliever) has been unhittable since his demotion to the middle reliever role after his multiple blown saves as a closer. Overall, he does have a 4.40 ERA, but as a middle reliever his ERA falls to around 2. It was a surprise to see a struggling Ziegler get back into shape with a minor role change. It is unlikely he will finish the year as a Marlins due to trade rumors, but for now he has been doing well as a reliever.
When Stanton was traded to the Yankees, Starlin Castro was shipped to Miami and he wanted out. There were rumors at the time that he wouldn’t even show up to spring training or fan fest because of his desire to play for a contender and not rebuilding team. However, Castro has proven to be one of the best players on the team even with his heart being elsewhere. Posting a .291 batting average, 37 RBIs, and gold glove caliber season on defense, Castro has continued to show the MLB that he is one of the best second baseman in the league. Again, it is unlikely he will finish the year as a Marlins, but he can’t say he hasn’t enjoyed his time as a fish.
The Marlins have a record of 41 – 57, which makes them the 4th worst team in baseball. However, if I am being honest, I expected the Marlins to win just 40 games this year. 41 wins before the All-Star break is impressive in book with this team.
Uniform change back to teal! Anniversary weekend at Marlins Park was so much fun! Large crowds, classic Marlins players, and best of all, teal uniforms. Jeter, trust me, THE TEAL IS STILL FOR REAL!