Miami Marlins: Grades for the 2023 season from our team

Consistently, the Miami Marlins were underdogs throughout the season. Whether it be due to expectations, due to their opponent, or due to the many, many injuries their team succumbed to, they were consistently seen as the lower team. Yet, you look at the Fish at the end of the season, and there they are. 6 games over .500, and a playoff birth. Both of which, were completely unexpected and unprecedented for a young, scrappy team in Miami. Even with the quick boot in the postseason, the Marlins had exceed every possible expectation laid out for them, and more. Here is how the team at 5R graded the Marlins performance this past season.


@KMiller_305 – Grade: A-

The Marlins exceeded nearly every expectation set for them this past season by finishing with an 84-78 record (should have been 85-77 but I digress), resulting in their first full season playoff berth since their World Series run in 2003. Meanwhile I had the Marlins finishing with a 77-85 record coming into the season, which at the time, I mentioned as “being optimistic” and “aiming high.” So, what else got them to an A-? 

Well, for me, having a massive bounce back year from Jorge Soler was a HUGE reason without question. Likewise, the addition of Luis Arraez prior to the start of the season, coupled with the deadline acquisitions of Jake Burger and Josh Bell, all of whom had incredible seasons with the Marlins in their own regards. To round out what helped them get to their A- lies within the pitching staff. Factors such as the emergence of Braxton Garrett as a mainstay in the rotation, the flashes of ace potential and the breakout for Jesus Luzardo, and the debut of future Cy Young candidate in Eury Perez. Likewise, the outstanding year from their pen, specifically from Andrew Nardi and Tanner Scott. All of that is great, but what kept them from an A or an A+? 

For one, they did not win a playoff game. Unfortunately, the season came to an end at the hands of the Philadelphia Phillies in the Wild Card Series. Not being able to advance out of the first round or even win a game in the playoffs certainly hurts. Besides that, the injuries and subsequential struggles were scattered throughout the roster. All in all, despite the ugly bits to the season being, admittedly, pretty ugly, the Marlins did have a very successful season, which is something absolutely nobody can take away from them. There is reason to be excited and optimistic for the future if you’re a Marlins fan, which is truly something special. There may not have been a World Series championship or any franchise altering moment in the season, but 2023 will definitely be a season Marlins fans will remember for a while.


@JonAndersen_5R – Grade: A

For the first time since 2003, the Miami Marlins made a postseason birth in a full season. The Miami Marlins were competitive and fighters until the end of the season. Sadly, that didn’t transfer into the postseason series against the Phillies, where they looked rather dead in the water in Citizens Bank Park. However, if going into this season, you had told us that the Fish would not only have a winning record, but have a stretch where they’re 14 games over .500, make the Wild Card, and have someone win a major award across the National League, yet tell me that this is all done with Sandy Alcantara pitching poorly for half the season, Jazz Chisholm Jr. missing 65 games, and going through 4 different closers throughout the season, I would’ve thought you were crazy.

Every little thing that could’ve gone wrong for the Marlins, did. Yet somehow, every little thing that we couldn’t even have imagined to go right, did. Luis Arraez winning the batting title for the second year in a row, Eury Perez debuting and providing meaningful innings for the major league squad, Jorge Soler hitting 30+ home runs, and having meaningful and impactful acquisitions at the deadline. This team showed grit and showed determination, no matter how many times it felt like the season was at death’s door. 

Regardless of the result of the postseason, the Miami Marlins far surpassed any expectations that were set for them at the beginning of the season. They beat the teams they needed to beat, and also beat teams that they were expected to lose to. The Fish reversed the 1-run game curse they had last year, and ended up being the best team in baseball in 1-run games. Going from a team that dealt with so many setbacks and adversities, yet still succeeding in the way they did, I have no other option than to grade the season as an A. 


@AidanGallard0  – Grade: B+

The Miami Marlins did what no one expected them to do and that was making it to the postseason. Although they got swept in the Wild Card round against the Philadelphia Phillies, this team really played winning baseball all year which is something that fans aren’t used to seeing. From Luis Arraez winning the batting title to Jake Burger really showing a different side of him since being acquired by the Marlins at the trade deadline, there were a lot of positive takeaways from the season. But of course, with every team in baseball, it’s not all positive. Last year’s Cy Young winner, Sandy Alcantara, really didn’t pitch to what was expected of him this season. He struggled at times on the mound but every now and then, he’d have a great outing. To make matters worse, he won’t be able to pitch next season because of Tommy John surgery. So yeah, there’s that. The reason I don’t give the season grade an A is because I felt like they could’ve made some noise in the postseason. The talent they were showcasing throughout the season just couldn’t catch up and a lot of that has to do with injuries and how the season’s longevity really took a toll on the guys, especially on the pitching staff. But, there’s a lot to be happy about with the Fish and next season might just be even better.


@JSportsMiami – Grade: A

Although the unfortunate loss in the wild card round to the Phillies, this season was a tremendous success for Miami. For a team many projected to end near last place of the division, and one of the worst in the NL, they showed promise and grit. Skip Schumaker arrived and did a complete flip on the team’s culture. The postseason was  a dream at the start of the spring training, if everything went perfect, just maybe it could happen. Instead, things were far from perfect and they still were able to accomplish it. Most fans and people of the sport had them around 70-74 wins. Instead they got 84 (or 85 with that Mets game) and a wild card berth. Just an outstanding job by Kim, Skip and the entire team to make this year work. 2023 being a memorable season is an understatement. 

The Floundering Fish: How did the Marlins get here?

As a team that came into the All-Star break being 14 games over .500, and added three necessary and major additions to their team in Josh Bell, Jake Burger, and David Robertson, the Marlins were poised for success and a playoff run for the first time, outside of a 2020 COVID season, since 2003. However, with 28 games left, the story is much different for a now .500 ballclub. What happened? What caused such an unprecedented downfall to be nearly out of the playoff race? Let’s talk about it.


Arraez and Shine


Prior to the All-Star break, Luis Arraez was well on his way to have one of the highest batting averages since Tony Gwynn hit .394 in 1994, as he entered the second half with an average of .383. Many expected Arraez to continue hitting non-stop, as it seemed as though there was nothing nor no man that could stop him. However, the second half has been an entirely different story for La Regadera. In the second half, Luis Arraez has been hitting for an average of .285, which caused his season average to dip below .350 for the first time all season. Yes, that’s a real stat. 


Now, a .285 average still isn’t anything to sneeze at. In fact, he’d still be 17th in the league in batting average with that. But, for a team who’s offense was dependent on Luis Arraez to be that constant bat in the lineup that would move guys over or start the inning off with getting on base, it’s less than ideal in a Wild Card race. Moreover, in August, Arraez only had 4 multi-hit games, which breaks his previous season low of 10 multi-hit games in May. If the Marlins are going to make that push for the playoffs and hope for sustained success, they need their All-Star to revert to his former self.


Bullpen Blows and Woes


The Marlins saw that, for some reason, AJ Puk had lost his ability to close out games. With Puk’s 20 ER on the season, 11 came from July. The Fish knew they had to act fast to get someone to close out the games in Miami as Puk’s blown save total began growing. So Kim Ng acted fast and grabbed the best reliever on the market in David Robertson. Robertson has a ton of sustained success throughout his career, and this season was no different, allowing 10 ER in his 42 IP in Queens. However, since arriving in Miami, he has been quite the opposite of any version of himself, allowing 10 ER in his 11 IP. Miami has since removed Robertson, whom they paid a hefty price for, out of the closer role and have inputted Tanner Scott there. It has yet to be seen if that choice will pay off. 


Are the Fish Fried?


Through all of these struggles, there’s still time for the Marlins to make that final push and run to the playoffs. They’re only 3 games back in the Wild Card hunt and are an incredibly streaky team who can get hot at a moment’s notice. The only issue is that moment hasn’t arrived post All-Star break. Miami has struggled with giving run support to their pitching, and when they give the run support, the bullpen throws away the game. It’s a seemingly consistent struggle lately that the team needs to overcome. With 28 games remaining in the season, the Marlins statistically aren’t out of the hunt and can come back for the playoffs. The only question is, can they do it?

Marlins series Braves

Five Things That Will Define the Marlins’ Future in 2023

The Marlins are treading into unfamiliar waters. 


Entering the second half, they were 14 games over .500, good for the second-best record in the NL and the fourth-best record in all of baseball.


With a 53-39 record, the Fish topped perennial title contenders such as the Dodgers, Astros and Yankees at the unofficial midway point of the season.


The first 92 games of 2023 provided a plethora of memorable moments, ranging from the franchise’s first cycle (Luis Arráez) , to the most anticipated Marlins debut in over a decade (Eury Pérez).


This season has been a whirlwind so far, and it’s bound to get even more interesting.


Arráez Chasing History


Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past three-plus months, you are undoubtedly aware of the hitting enigma that is Luis Arráez. 


The second baseman leads the league in batting average, on-base percentage and hits. Hitting .383, Arráez is 52 points ahead of Ronald Acuña Jr., who has the second highest average in baseball (.331). 


Simply put, this is the best hitter on the planet.


Flirting with .400 all season, Arráez remains in striking distance of the elusive feat. Ted Williams was the last player to eclipse the threshold, hitting .406 in 1941. 


The chase for .400 will be a compelling storyline to follow, as the baseball world is starting to take notice of just how special the Marlins’ leadoff hitter truly is.


Starting Pitchers Return


The starting rotation looks quite different from Opening Day, as only Sandy Alcántara and Jesús Luzardo remain. However, two pitchers who started the year in the rotation look to return from injury in the coming weeks. Edward Cabrera and Trevor Rogers have both missed extended time this season, and should make an impact down the stretch.


Cabrera hasn’t pitched since June 17, and is on the injured list with a right shoulder impingement. The righty is expected to be back in the rotation before the end of July.


The 25-year-old has shown flashes of dominance over his 14 starts this season, but needs to be more consistent. The talent is certainly there, and the Marlins hope he can tap into that talent more often than not.


Rogers has been on the shelf since April 19, originally due to a left biceps  strain. The lefty was only supposed to miss a few weeks, but a June 13 MRI revealed a partial tear in his right lat. Rogers was subsequently placed on the 60-day IL, and there is currently no definite return date.


Whenever Rogers does return, he will have a chance to significantly help a Marlins rotation that is thin on arms. Like Cabrera, the southpaw has been up and down this season, and will need to be more dependable for the final stretch of the season.


Can Jazz Stay Healthy?


Jazz Chisholm Jr. has made his presence felt every time he stepped foot on the diamond. However, there’s one problem — he can’t stay on the field. The Bahamian star has only played in 45 of 92 games this season, taking multiple trips to the IL.


After missing six weeks with an injury, Chisholm returned to the team on June 27 and instantly produced. The center fielder had five hits, two of which were homers, and four RBIs in his first series back. Chisholm was scorching, which made it even more unfortunate that his second IL stint would start after just six games.


On July 2, Chisholm left the game after an awkward swing and was diagnosed with a mild left oblique strain. He has not played since, and it is unknown when the 25-year-old will be back.


Chisholm’s return can’t come soon enough, as his mere presence takes this team’s confidence and swagger to another level. His combination of speed and power is also something sorely lacking for the Marlins with his absence. 


The former All-Star will be back on the field soon, but when he gets healthy, he needs to stay healthy.


Trade Deadline Looming


The Marlins are soon likely to find themselves a position that they have very rarely been in.


Buy mode.


The trade deadline is Aug. 1, still a few weeks away, but the Fish are almost certainly going to look to make a splash (pun slightly intended).


Right now, it is still too early to look at specific names, as teams around the league have yet to publicly portray themselves as buyers or sellers. But we should learn more in the coming weeks.


The Marlins have been playing as well as they could’ve hoped so far this season, but improvements  are necessary if they want to make some noise in October. 


General Manager Kim Ng could seemingly upgrade anywhere on the diamond, but a few obvious positional needs include: 3B, SP, RP (right-handed) and C.


August Gauntlet


The Fish have gotten off to a terrific start, and while a great deal of that has to do with their play on the field, the relatively soft schedule up to this point has certainly played a role. 


That’s about to change.


Starting July 31 through Aug. 20, the Marlins’ schedule is minefield of explosive offenses: 


4 vs Phillies

3 at Rangers

3 at Reds

3 vs Yankees

3 vs Astros

3 at Dodgers




With 19 consecutive games against teams over .500, Skip Schumaker’s club will need to be sharp night in and night out in order to survive this stretch. The Marlins will be in sink-or-swim territory (that’s my final pun) over these three weeks, and will have a chance to show national-media skeptics they are for real.

Midseason Awards for the Surprising Miami Marlins

We find ourselves at the halfway point of the 2023 MLB season, and the Miami Marlins are currently not only in second place in the NL East, but 13 games over .500 and holding one of the NL Wild Cards spots. This is a situation that has been nothing short of a dream come true for general manager Kim Ng and company down in Miami.

In honor of the halfway point, it’s time for some team awards:



I mean, come on. I feel like this is quite obvious. Who else could it be outside of Luis Arraez? An offseason acquisition by Miami that was under a level of scrutiny for the seemingly hefty cost it took to acquire him, and he has delivered tenfold on our expectations. Arraez is currently fighting to be the first batter since Ted Williams in 1941 to hit .400 on the season. Not to mention, he’s doing this with a 158 wRC+. In the leadoff spot alone, Arraez is hitting .432 with a .475 OBP. I mean, what more can you ask from a leadoff hitter? To put more emphasis on it, Arraez is at 3.5 bWAR, putting him on pace for a 7 bWAR season, the highest by a Marlin since Giancarlo Stanton’s MVP season, which held a 6.9 bWAR. What Luis Arraez is doing in Miami is unheard of, and has become the most influential and valuable player for the Marlins this season. 



Cy Young

This was a bit of a tough question. If you asked me at the start of the season, I would’ve said there’s no doubt in my mind it’s Sandy Alcantara. However, after struggles to begin the season, you’re looking elsewhere. With that in mind, especially after his recent stretch, I have to go with Braxton Garrett. Garrett was someone who, after a rough Spring Training, wasn’t even slotted in the rotation. Garrett stepped in due to injuries, and man, did he step in. This season, Braxton is having career bests in ERA (3.53), FIP (3.27), WHIP (1.12), K’s per 9 (10.1), BB per 9 (1.7) and more. Not to mention, Braxton currently leads the entire MLB in BB per 9 and K per BB (6.13). If you erase his singular start against the Braves on May 3rd (4.1 IP, 11 ER), Braxton’s ERA shrinks even lower to 2.44. The former first round pick has come around in a huge way for the Marlins.



Rookie of the Year


Okay, just like MVP, this is a runaway train. 20 year old pitcher phenom, Eury Pérez, has taken the league by storm. Eury is a pitcher who wasn’t even expected to pitch in the majors, yet he skipped AAA altogether to come up and absolutely shove. Eury Pérez currently holds a 1.34 ERA with a 0.979 WHIP, in addition to a 2.2 bWAR. Reminder – Eury is just only 20 years old. He’s currently on a 21 inning scoreless streak, including 24 K’s in his last 18 innings. The only downside is Pérez has currently matched his career high in innings pitched (78), so how the Marlins handle the young pitcher for the rest of the season remains to be seen. But for now, there are no words that can describe the talent that Eury has and hopefully his contributions will remain in Miami for a long, long time.




Reliever of the Year


This pick brings me so much joy, as he’s been one of my personal favorite relievers prior to his debut last year. With that being said, Andrew Nardi. The Nardi Party. The Nard Dog. Nardi is a power southpaw who has been absolutely clutch in every way this season for Miami. He has stranded 25 inherited runners, which is the most in the NL. He has 3 pitches out of the pen, one of which is a devastating slider thrown 40% of the time, resulting in a 37% Whiff Rate. Nardi also wins the award for best hair and mustache, but that’s for another time. Miami needed Nardi to take the leap from last season, where he held a miserable 9.82 ERA in his first 13 appearances and he has done that and more. With a lockdown closer in AJ Puk also on the team, naming Nardi as the Reliever of the Year is quite the honor. 




Who is Next?: Five Marlins 1st Round Draft Targets

The 2023 MLB draft is just a month away, and while Marlins fans have come to expect a dose of disappointment on draft day, the Marlins have a fantastic opportunity to add offensive talent to a system that certainly needs it. Analysts within the industry have set expectations that there is a strong crop of talent available for the first 10 picks, which bodes well for the Marlins since they own the 10th pick in this draft. As you read this article, keep in mind that while there are players that outlets have ranked higher who should be available for the Marlins selection, these are the players that I think would best suit the organization. 



This list assumes that the top ranked draft prospects—Dylan Crews, Wyatt Langford, Walker Jenkins, Max Clark, Paul Skenes, and Chase Dollander—are selected prior to the Marlins pick. If any of them become available at pick 10 it is reasonable to assume that the Marlins will select that player. 


Now without further ado, here are the five—plus an honorable mention—draft prospects who I believe that the Marlins should target in the 2023 MLB draft. 


Honorable Mention


Kyle Teel (C, Virginia)

MLB Pipeline Draft Ranking: 10

Pipeline Scouting Grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 45 | Run: 50 | Arm: 65 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55


When it comes to draft helium, no one has skyrocketed up the rankings as much as Kyle Teel, who went from being a fringe first round selection back in March to an almost assuredly top 10 pick now in June. I’ve listed Teel as an honorable mention because at this point, analysts are confident that he will be selected within the first 8 picks of the draft. With that being said, if he is available at pick 10, then the Marlins absolutely need to pounce and select him. 


A full-time starter since his freshman year, Teel has separated himself as the clear-cut top catcher in this year’s draft thanks to an incredible Junior season where he slashed .423/.487/.690 and struck out just three more times than he walked. It’s an above average hit tool with solid power on the offensive side, a profile that is similar to Henry Davis, who was selected first overall by the Pirates in 2021. With Teel, you won’t get the exit velocities that pushed Davis to the top of the draft, but you will get a hitter who doesn’t chase, doesn’t whiff, and can still produce exit velocities that exceed 100 MPH.  


Not only can Teel mash, but he’s also a very capable defender who will stick behind the plate as a pro. He’s an elite athlete with a plus arm, strong leadership skills, and a high baseball IQ. His athleticism has allowed him to play the outfield in addition to catcher, and some scouts believe he could play second or third base if needed. 


It’s no secret that the Marlins are desperate for catching talent, and while you aren’t supposed to draft for need in the MLB draft, selecting Kyle Teel would check the boxes of drafting both the best player available and a player who fulfills a position of need in the organization. 


  • Chase Davis (OF, Arizona)

MLB Pipeline Draft Ranking: 39

Pipeline Scouting Grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 55 | Run: 55 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50

Chase Davis is as polarizing of a prospect as it gets. Some outlets have him ranked in the 20’s or 30’s due to concerns surrounding his hit tool—Keith Law didn’t have Chase Davis selected in The Athletic’s first round mock draft at all. Other outlets have him surging towards the top 10. It’s a natural lack of industry consensus considering the type of season that he’s had. After hitting .289 with a 23% strikeout rate his sophomore year, Davis turned his bat into a lightning rod for his junior season and hit .362 with 21 home runs while lowering his strikeout rate to just 14% and walking 15% of the time. If you watch Davis hit, you’ll notice his mechanics look identical to that of Carlos Gonzalez, and his profile is quite similar too. 


With Davis, you’re looking at a corner outfield masher who will whiff his fair share but will also rip off some of the higher exit velocities for the team that drafts him. He’s been clocked with a max exit velocity of 115 MPH, and his 90th percentile exit velocity sits just below 110 MPH, per Mason McRae. His incredible bat speed allows him to realize his full raw power in-game. Despite the concerns surrounding his hit tool, Davis has certainly quieted concerns with the reduction in strikeout rate and chase rate (82nd percentile in chase rate, per Mason McRae). In the outfield, Davis has demonstrated an above average arm, which will allow him to play above-average defense in either corner. While he played only in the corners this season for Arizona, he did play some center field during the Cape Code League in 2022. 


I have Davis as my top draft target for the Marlins because of the prolific offensive upside he possesses. He hits the ball as hard and as frequently as top draft prospects Dylan Crews and Wyatt Langford, and he’s made incredible strides to improve his hit tool, which is now closer to above average than it is below average. He can run, he can throw, and he brings the upside of the coveted 5-tool profile. I mean, look at this power [insert linked video]


  • Arjun Nimmala (SS, Strawberry Crest HS)

MLB Pipeline Draft Ranking: 9

Pipeline Scouting Grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 55 | Run: 50 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55

Arjun Nimmala has some of the highest upside in the entire draft and it wouldn’t be out of the question to go in the first five picks despite not being ranked as high as some of the other talents ahead of him. At 6’1, 170 pounds, Nimmala has the toolset for you to dream on, with the ceiling of an elite MLB shortstop. He has a picturesque swing, which helped him accumulate a .479 batting average and a .573 on-base percentage during his senior season. While the game power hasn’t come in as much as analysts had expected, his frame suggests that there is more in the tank. 


Defensively, scouts laud his quick actions and strong arm, which should allow him to remain at shortstop as he develops in the minor leagues. Just as the Marlins were able to capitalize on the crop of elite shortstop talents in the 2021 draft, which included Marcelo Mayer, Jordan Lawler, Brady House, and Kahlil Watson, they have the ability to dip their toes yet again in the high school shortstop ranks and bolster their organization with young offensive talent. We’re talking about a fantastic athlete who hits the ball and hits it hard, which is exactly what you want from a high school prospect. 


Nimmala represents the high-ceiling/low-floor pick for the Marlins, but if they can develop him the right way, they could have a future star on their hands. 


  • Tommy Troy (SS, Stanford)

MLB Pipeline Draft Ranking: 19

MLB Pipeline Scouting Grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 50 | Run: 55 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50



You know when you take a bite of one of those mini pizza pockets, and all of the pizza filling bursts out of the pocket and burns your tongue? That is basically Tommy Troy. He’s a massive punch packed in a 5’10 frame, as evidenced by his 17 home runs and .747 slugging percentage. The starting shortstop for Stanford, one of the premier teams in college baseball this season, Troy has cemented himself as one of the top hitters in this draft. He hits for average (.413 batting average), power, and he can run the bases (17 steals on the season). His extremely fast hands allow him to make contact on pitches that he chases, which helps him make up for his poor swing decisions. While that could become an issue in pro ball, he has the tools and years of development to get by (how does 110 MPH exit velocity sound from your 5’10 infielder?). 


While Troy might not be a sure-fire shortstop in the pros, Keith Law told me that at worst he sees Troy moving over to third base where he could become a capable defender. He’s also spent time at second base and left field during his time at Stanford. Troy’s athleticism should allow him to add value all around the diamond even if it isn’t at shortstop every day. 


What I love about Troy is that he not only dominated PAC12 baseball, but he also was one of the top performers in the Cape Cod league last season. The significance here is that the Cape league uses wood bats, so Troy proved to scouts that he can handle a wood bat when he slashed .310/.386/.531 in Cape Cod. He’s going to hit and hit his way into a starting second base job in the pro’s. And while I don’t love putting pro comparisons on college players, I think that he’s someone who could develop into an Ozzie Albies type of infielder. 


  • Noble Meyer (RHP, Jesuit HS)

MLB Pipeline Draft Ranking: 11

MLB Pipeline Scouting Grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 55

How can the Marlins find a way to avoid a hitting developmental disaster in the first round of this year’s draft? By drafting a pitcher! We’re dipping into the prep school pitcher ranks here for the next option, an area where teams in the top 10 rarely go. However, when the player has the polish and the stuff that Noble Meyer has, you go and get him. Meyer hails from the same high school that recent top prep pitcher Mick Abel came from. And funny enough, they’re very similar pitchers. Meyer has a tall frame at 6’5 with plenty of room to fill out. He’s already touching 98 MPH on his sinker, and he’s got a sweeper that Mason McRae labels as one of the best pitches in the draft, citing a spin rate that nearly reaches 3,000 RPM’s. For context, Jackson Jobe, who the Tigers selected with the third overall pick in the 2020 draft, was drafted practically for his 3,000 RPM slider alone. Meyer pairs that devastating pitch with his elite sinker and a passable curveball, so you can see why he’s a tantalizing prospect. 


This is a pick where the Marlins can really make their mark. As an organization, they’ve proved their ability to identify and develop pitching. Adding an elite arm like Meyer into the system will only bolster their talent pool. The organization is known for helping pitchers develop lethal changeups (see Jesus Luzardo, Sandy Alcantara), and if they can do the same with Meyer then it should give him four plus/double plus pitches to pair with an advanced feel for pitching. While selecting high school pitchers always carries risk, this is one of the safer prep arms in the last few years, and it could end up paying off as Meyer carries a real possibility to develop into an ace and move through the system quickly. 


  • Matt Shaw (SS, Maryland)

MLB Pipeline Draft Ranking: 18

MLB Pipeline Scouting Grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 55 | Run: 60 | Arm: 45 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55

Remember when I said that Tommy Troy was one of the best performers in the Cape Code League? Well, Shaw was THE best hitter in the Cape, slashing .360/.432/.574. To put that into context, Jacob Gonzalez, one of the top college infielder prospects in the draft, didn’t even put up those numbers this season, and that’s with metal bats. Shaw is a professional hitter who will hit wherever he goes. I mean, just look at these numbers: 


College Career .320 .413 .623 1.036
Cape Cod Career .364 .450 .672 1.122


Whether it’s metal bats or wood bats, the guy has just continued to hit since he turned 18 years old. Oh yeah, he also hit 24 home runs this season, including a BOMB against Iowa that traveled over 500 feet. So why is Shaw not the top target for the Marlins in this draft? He’s currently a shortstop, but the industry consensus is that he is clearly a second baseman as a pro. So, the lack of positional value does hurt him here a bit, but this is such a safe profile of a premier offensive second baseman that I really don’t care about the position. From an offensive standpoint, this is the perfect package of bat-to-ball, power, and plate discipline and I’m a bit surprised that outlets don’t have him ranked higher. He very well might not even make it to pick 10. If I had to put my money on any college hitter in this draft after Crew/Langford to become an All-Star, I would throw it all on Shaw. 

Marlins can’t keep stalling on finding a backstop

The Marlins have a catching problem. There’s an issue catching the Fish. The old bait and hook isn’t working. Whichever aquatic metaphor you prefer, the Marlins have an issue behind the plate.

They are currently deploying a rotation duo of Nick Fortes and Jacob Stallings, who are combined for a league worst .438 OPS, which has a league worst .211 SLG. That is, to put it lightly, horrendous. With a .227 OBP, that means that 77.3% of the time, that position is an automatic out. If you’re a competing ballclub, you do not want to have a spot in your lineup that is an automatic out. Let’s take a look at their current duo and see if there’s any in house options.

Let’s take a deeper look at the main culprit behind the catching woes, Jacob Stallings. Stallings, a 33 year old catcher, came over to Miami in a trade in the 2022 offseason, which sent the outfield prospect Connor Scott, the starting pitcher prospect Kyle Nicolas, and the starting pitcher Zack Thompson to the Pittsburg Pirates. Last season, Stallings saw a drastic decline in both his offensive numbers, with his OPS falling from .704 to .584, and his defensive ability. However, his pitch calling stilled seemed above average and was seen as a major reason behind Sandy Alcantara’s Cy Young season. This season, however, his numbers have drastically declined even further, with his OPS hanging around .340, and his OPS+ at -5.

For reference, league average OPS+ is 100, and he is currently holding -5. Even further, Stallings has 2 passed balls and has only caught 1 runner in attempting to steal, with a 5% success rate.  At this point, and with the struggle of the starting rotation, there is 0 reason why the Marlins should continue to employ Jacob Stallings behind the dish.

The other part of the duo is Nick Fortes. Fortes is a 25 year old 2nd year catcher for the Marlins who has also had his fair share of struggles on the offensive side of the ball. Fortes currently is holding a .505 OPS with a 41 OPS+. Fortes, like Stallings, struggles to get runners out on steal attempts, with only a 12% caught stealing rate. But, he does hold 3 DRS, whereas Stallings holds a -1. Fortes has shown flashes of competency and sometimes brilliance, both behind and at the plate. If you’re going to keep one of the current duo, Fortes is the one.

So I’m sure you’re sitting here asking: What next? What can we do to improve the situation?

It’s very rare for a catcher to get traded mid-season, as they have to acclimate to the team and the pitching staff, so that has a minimal chance to occur, although I did point to the Marlins potentially going after Elias Diaz of the Colorado Rockies in my previous article. At this current point, the Marlins have to look in-house for changes, or go full time Nick Fortes behind the dish.

For in-house options, there are two options, but truly, at this point, only one option. That would be Austin Allen, who is housed at Triple-A Jacksonville. Austin Allen doesn’t have a sparkling MLB career at the age of 29, and even his stats in AAA leave some room for improvement, as he has a slash line of .192/279/.475, with 8 home runs. He has had some bad luck hitting, with a .155 BABIP, but you shouldn’t expect much from him if he returns back to the majors.

The other option in house is the most requested catching option, which is from undrafted free agent Paul McIntosh.

Since arriving in the Marlins system in 2021, McIntosh has done nothing but hit the ball. With a career OPS of .882, which holds a .501 SLG, his bat is present and powerful. Pair that with a 19.9 K% and a 14.3 BB%, McIntosh is a welcome and needed offensive addition to the Marlins lineup. The only issues? Paul McIntosh has yet to play above AA-Pensacola, and holds many defensive woes behind the dish. The Marlins have experimented moving McIntosh to the OF and to DH, as they don’t see him fitting defensively at catcher. Wherever he fits, though, his bat would be a much-needed boost to a plateauing Marlins offense.

With all this in mind, it’s obvious the Marlins need to make a change and soon behind the dish. The only questions remains – What will be that change? When will that change happen? What do you guys think the Marlins should do?

Whatever it is, it needs to be something. Soon.

Kim Ng Marlins

Fish Flip?: Three Trades the Surprising Marlins Could Make

The Miami Marlins are currently hovering right around .500 and are seemingly playing the most fun and competitive baseball they have in a long while. For what it’s worth, the Marlins have actually been successful and extremely competitive to any team that’s not from Atlanta or Queens, having won every series against the other opponents up until this point. However, majority owner Bruce Sherman and general manager Kim Ng have promised a playoff baseball team for the citizens of Miami, and although the Marlins have been competitive, they are not quite to that point yet. 

With this being Kim Ng’s final year on contract, and producing lackluster results up until this point, this is her opportunity to go all out and do whatever is necessary to create a winning ballclub in Miami. She has had some amazing additions, such as middle infielder Luis Arraez, relievers like A.J. Puk, Anthony Bender, and Huascar Brazoban. But on her big swings into free agency, such as Avisail Garcia and Jean Segura, she has swung and missed. Look for her this season to take daring trades and risky moves to be able to place a winning ballclub in Miami. If I was in Ng’s shoes, I would make the moves about to be mentioned, and I would make them sooner, rather than later.


Trade #1

Miami Receives – Joc Pederson (OF)

San Francisco Receives – George Soriano (RHP) & Joey Wendle (UTL)


The Giants are currently in 4th place of the NL West, hovering at 13-17, with a combination of mediocre hitting and poor pitching, especially in the bullpen department. With this trade, San Francisco receives a young reliever who performed admirably in his first taste in the majors, George Soriano, as well as the stereotypical older, gritty, back to basics utility player in Joey Wendle. Meanwhile, Miami receives Joc Pederson, a power lefty bat, which is a much needed boost to the Marlins lineup.

Now, when Miami first received Joey Wendle, they expected him to perform in the utility position, appearing all throughout the infield, giving good AB’s, hitting for a decent clip, and not striking out. Wendle has done just that, as he cut his K’s in half without sacrificing much of his average. Joey’s power, if you’d call it that, has minimized as well, going from 46 XBH in 2022 to 28 XBH in 2023. 

Other part leaving Miami is young reliver George Soriano. In his minimal time in the majors, 7 IP, Soriano pitched to a 2.57 ERA with a 3.36 FIP. The San Francisco Giants bullpen have allowed 68 ER this season, with the only reliable relievers with an ERA below 5.80 being Camillo Doval and Tyler Rogers. A much needed reliever, who’s also under contract for an extended time, for a struggling bullpen.

On the return, Miami receives Joc Pederson, a left handed OF, more suited for a DH role, but a much needed power bat in the Miami lineup. In his two years in San Francisco, Joc Pederson has a 142 OPS+ and a .869 OPS. Miami had struggled heavily with lefties and hit decently against righties in the past, but this season the results have switched. Joc brings a .894 OPS against righties, just further cementing the need for him and his pearls in Miami. 



Trade #2

Miami Receives – Juan Yepez (IF/OF)

St. Louis Receives – Evan Fitterer (RHP) & Steven Okert (LHP)


The St. Louis Cardinals are in a spot that they normally don’t find themselves in, which is in the bottom of the NL Central. Their fans are seemingly hitting the panic button, as their rotation currently holds a 5.39 ERA, with minimal starting pitching in the wings. Their bullpen is slightly better, with a 3.93 ERA, but they lack power with LHP. 

Steven Okert has been a phenomenal signing for Miami since 2021, holding a 3.00 ERA and a 139 ERA+ in his 93 IP since arriving. He also holds 10.6 K/9, but it does come attached to a 4.4 BB/9, which can put him in risky situations. For the most part, Okert leans heavy on his nasty slider to get batters out, adding another strong arm to the pen for St. Louis. As for Miami, with Chargois and Enright nearly returning to their bullpen, they have arms to spare on the market to find improvements on their team. 

Although the Cardinals seemingly need help now for this season, they could deem the season at a loss with how poorly they’ve played in every facet of the game. If so, they could see Evan Fitterer as a good fit(terrer) to be able to bolster their rotation in the coming years. Fitterer is a dominant righty with a ton of movement on his pitches. Recently promoted to AA, Evan has continued his dominance and resurgence this season, holding a 1.69 ERA across A+ and AA with a 10.5 K/9. However, along with Okert, he does have some wildness in his pitches, holding a 4.2 BB/9 in his career in the minor leagues. 

Juan Yepez is a player in an odd spot in St. Louis. He seemed to be the future DH of the Cardinals last season, but with some struggles, lost his place due to the emergence of Nolan Gorman, Lars Nootbar, and Brendan Donovan. In his small time in the majors, Yepez holds a 112 OPS+, along with a 22% K rate, and has even splits between hitting LHP and RHP. Yepez is a player who should be playing consistently in the majors, but finds himself in a logjam to where he can’t get consistent play in the MLB. 


Trade #3

Miami Receives – Elias Diaz (C)

Colorado Receives – Anthony Maldonado (RHP) & M.D. Johnson (RHP)


The Colorado Rockies and needing pitching is a tale as old as time. The Rockies have found themselves to have a competent offense with young players, but a struggling pitching staff. With this trade, the Rockies receive a near MLB ready reliever in Anthony Maldonado and a AA starter who could easily be in AAA by mid-season, and the MLB by the end of this year or the start of next year in M.D. Johnson.

Anthony Maldonado is a 25 year old reliever who has been shoving for the Jumbo Shrimp. He finds himself carrying a 1.83 ERA with a 14.1 K/9, with only 6 BB in 14.2 IP. He also has finished 9 games out of the 12 he’s appeared in, placing himself as a good future late inning reliever for whatever team he finds himself on.

M.D. Johnson is one of my favorite prospects for the Marlins. He’s an older prospect in Pensacola at age 25, but his growth from his first professional season to now has been phenomenal. So far this season, in 20 IP, he has a 3.60 ERA alongside a 1.10 WHIP with 22 K’s. He has drastically cut down his walks from 63 BB in his first season, to a combined 36 BB in the past two seasons. He can find himself in the majors by the end of the season if he continues his growth.

Elias Diaz has been a consistent .250 hitter his entire career, but this season, he has taken it to the next level, with a slash line of .343/.391/.495, alongside a 8:21 BB:K. The Marlins find themselves as the second worst in the league for offensive statistics at the C position, and Elias finds himself in the top conversations for offensive catchers this season. It is a position of dire need for Miami, and Elias would be an immediate upgrade offensively over Jacob Stallings and Nick Fortes.

The Predictably Disappointing End of the Miami Hurricanes’ Season

The warning signs were there long before the NCAA Tournament. The Canes had lost 3 ACC road series in a row and gone 0-2 at the ACC Tournament, including getting run-ruled by Wake Forest.

But the home record was still intact, and when the Canes earned the #6 National Seed there was a prospect of finally making it back to Omaha without having to perform outside Coral Gables.

There was a caveat, though. Miami drew Arizona and Ole Miss in their regional, two very talented, underachieving teams. That meant on paper, the Canes were not better than those teams. Still, at home, and with what was essentially a free pass into the winner’s bracket with Canisius in the first game, Miami’s season still had promise.

The Long and Winding Road to Irrelevance

The University of Miami is young for a university, less than 100 years old. And for that reason, it is rarely a blue blood or aristocratic in anything. Baseball is the exception. Whereas in football the Canes burst onto the scenes as outsiders in the 1980s, in baseball they, through former manager Ron Fraser, were foundational in popularizing the sport.

And from 1973-2016 the Canes were mainstays, not just in the NCAA Tournament, making it every year, but in Omaha, making it 25 times.

In 2016, the last year of this tournament run, the Canes converted a national seed into a trip to Omaha. They did this, not by necessarily playing great, but coming through in the clutch. They won 2 one-run games in the regional to get past Long Beach State, and then used all 3 games to get through Boston College and make it to the College World Series.

But this was the beginning of the end. The Canes couldn’t hit in Omaha, scoring a combined 4 runs across two games. After getting blown out by Arizona, the Canes trailed UC Santa Barbara 5-3 in the 9th inning. They needed 2 runs to force extra innings. And with a runner on 1st and 1 out, with veteran lefty first baseman Chris Barr at the plate, maybe there was one last rally left in the 2016 Canes.

Except Barr never batted. In what was a horrific foreshadowing of the inexplicable demise of the program that echoed all the way into last Sunday’s elimination at the hands of Arizona, then manager Jim Morris chose to pinch hit for Barr with Peter Crocitto. It’s not that Crocitto was a bad player, it was that he had hardly played. Barr had 282 plate appearances in 2016, Crocitto had 60. In his last act as a Hurricane (he would go the NAIA route after the 2016 season), Crocitto grounded into a double play to end the Canes season.

Miami expected to be back. They always get back. And then 2017 happened. The Canes went 31-27 and missed the NCAA Tournament. They were the last team out, and this was largely due to their horrific play in midweek games. Miami was over .500 in ACC play at 16-13, but 1-game over .500 in non-conference did them in.

If 2017 was bad, 2018 (Morris’ last year) was worse. The Canes once again went 16-13 in ACC play, but were a game below .500 out of conference, missing the NCAA Tournament again.

To this day, current manager Gino DiMare stresses the importance of midweek games. Losing midweek games ended the NCAA Tournament streak for the Canes.

This history is painful, but it’s important to understand what Gino DiMare inherited. It was not the machine that Ron Fraser left to Jim Morris and that Jim Morris then carried forward for over 20 years. It was a failing program at its lowest point in over 40 years.

Not Good Enough

DiMare hit the ground running. The 2019 Canes were a resurgence. The end of the Morris’ tenure saw the Canes struggle at the plate, seemingly being left behind by college baseball. But the 2019 Canes powered up. A young team guided by power bats slugged their way through the ACC. Alex Toral was one of the top HR hitters in college baseball and the Canes were fun again.

They, frankly, should have hosted regionals, but they just missed out and were sent to Starkville. Miami was confident, but, in a sign of things that are now so commonplace as to be unnoticeable, the Canes blew the opener. It started well. In the 3rd inning, the Canes hit 2 HRs and went up 4-0. They just needed to press their advantage and step on Central Michigan’s throat to advance to the winner’s bracket game against Mississippi State.

What happened from there is going to be painfully familiar. The Canes gave up 5 runs in the next 2 innings, aided by a massive error resulting in multiple unearned runs. They ended up losing 6-5. Despite winning 2 in a row to eventually face Mississippi State, including an 18-3 win avenging the loss to CMU, the Canes were eliminated by Mississippi State.

2020 was going to be different. The bats were returning, the pitching staff was solidified. Miami was a Top 5 team. And then COVID happened, and the season cancelled.

The bulk of the pitching staff went pro, but in 2021, the Canes still had a good team, with most of the 2019 and 2020 field players returning. But something had changed. Whether through complacency or regression, the Canes were not nearly as good. By the time they went 0-2 in the ACC Tournament, any opportunity for a host had gone. And they were promptly sent to Gainesville.

Losing to UF has been a mainstay in the disintegration of the Canes’ program, so being in their regional was not a welcome sight. But like Moses parting the Red Sea, the bracket opened up for Miami. UF would lose to 4-seed USF and 3-seed USA. Miami just had to beat 2 lower conference, lower seeded teams to make the Super Regional for the first time in 5 years.

Despite Moses parting the Red Sea, the Canes still managed to drown in it. They scored 5 runs in 3 games, with the bats completely disappearing. Somehow, they won the opener 1-0, but lost the next 2 games and went back to Coral Gables a battered and embarrassed group.

Many of that promising 2019 class still had eligibility left, with an extra year being granted for COVID. Nonetheless, they were shown the door, scapegoated for the underperformance of the team.

Resurrection Of Sorts

Whether those 2019 players would have contributed this year is hard to say. With the Canes earning a National Seed, the regular season goals were accomplished.

But in the postseason, the bats disappeared again. They were able to score against Canisius aided by Yoyo Morales’ 3 HRs, but against Ole Miss and Arizona, it wasn’t nearly enough. In a Black Sunday which saw the Canes lose twice, and lose their season, they totaled 4 runs. More frustrating still is that they pitched well, and had it not been for errors in the field, and the inability to get productive outs, they would have won both games.

They could have put Ole Miss away early, with the bases loaded and 1 out. But the Canes swung their way out of the inning, chasing pitches out of the zone from a pitcher that couldn’t find it. After taking the lead 1-0, Miami couldn’t hold it. And when the Canes tried to rally in the 9th, with a 1-out double, they couldn’t.

Arizona was basically the same game. Miami lead 3-2, and had 2nd and 3rd with no outs in the 8th. They could have blown the game open. Somehow, they didn’t score. And with 2 outs and no one on, an error fueled a 2-run rally Arizona. When the Canes had the tying run on 3rd with less than 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th, with the season on the line, the failure was inevitable. Miami, for what seemed like the millionth time over the 2 games that Sunday, just needed to put a ball in play. A productive out ties the game.

What did Gino DiMare do? He took a page out of his predecessors’ book. Lefty Eduardo Villegas was up against a righty. He could have let him bat. He also could have pinch hit with Jacoby Long, a low strikeout hitter likely to put the ball in play. Instead, he went to the righty Gaby Gutierrez, who had struck out 30 times in 86 plate appearances. If you’re asking if he struck out, you haven’t been paying attention.

And when a groundout ended the game, Miami had failed to advance to the College World Series as a National Seed for the first time in school history.

Full Circle

Somehow the Canes ended up back right where they started in their 2016 elimination from Omaha. 4 runs scored across 2 games, the last glimmer of hope frittered away with an inexplicable pinch hitting decision.

Something is broken in this program. As we saw the cacophony of scores reverberate across college baseball with teams routinely scoring in double-figures and eclipsing the 20-run mark, outside of a game against Canisius, the Canes couldn’t score. When they needed to make plays in the field, they made errors. A program built on clutch moments, clutch pitches, and clutch hits can no longer execute in the operative phases of games and seasons.

Seasoned veterans of Canes’ fandom wanted to believe this year, but by the 9th inning of the last game, even with a runner in scoring position and 1 out, they knew no run was coming. We’ve seen how this movie ends.

After the game, Dan Radakovich confirmed that he would be working on a contract extension with Gino DiMare. And it makes sense to do so. He’s in his last year of his contract, he took over a program that had missed the NCAA Tournament 2 years in a row, and is coming off his best season. Having him coaching on the last year of his contract makes little sense.

With that said, his best season to this point is not nearly good enough. This team is young and was not supposed to be as good as it was. But it needs to take the step the 2019 team never did.

After 2019, the Canes had a promising, bright future with a young, talented team. They ended up running those players out of town.

Now, in 2022, they are in a similar position, and should not suffer a regression. Contract extension or not, if this team does not progress next year, it should cost the manager his job. He should be empowered to make whatever changes he needs to break this vicious cycle of unrealized promise, and absent the ability to do so, someone else should.

Miami has gone from blue bloods to also rans. From forefront to afterthought.

Abraham Lincoln, frustrated at the inaction of his commanding general George McClellan during the Civil War, remarked:

If General McClellan does not want to use the Army, I would like to borrow it for a time, provided I could see how it could be made to do something.

If Gino DiMare does not take his army, this well-equipped, heavily invested in Canes Baseball program, to Omaha next year, then Radakovich needs to take it back and find someone that can see how it could be made to do something.

Vishnu Parasuraman is a journalist for @FiveReasonsSports. He covers the Miami Hurricanes for Sixth Ring Canes and Formula 1 for Hitting the Apex. You can follow him on twitter @vrp2003

5 Takeaways from Marlins’ Series Split vs. Giants

Coming off a disappointing series against the Colorado Rockies earlier in the week, the Miami Marlins looked to bounce back and defend their home field against the visiting San Francisco Giants over the weekend.

Miami won the first and third games of the series, but failed to close out the series win on Sunday as they lost 5-1 and ended up splitting the four-game series against San Francisco. 

The Marlins don’t play the Giants anymore in 2022, with the exception of  a miracle postseason berth, and finish 3-7 against them.

It was a very up-and-down series for the Marlins which also fittingly sums up their season so far.

Here are five takeaways from the series.


Sandy Alcantara throws another gem

Does this really come as a surprise? It seems like every start, starting pitcher Sandy Alcantara racks up eight or so strikeouts and gives up no more than one run. 

In the series-opening game against the Giants, Alcantara tallied eight strikeouts and pitched a shutout in seven innings. 

After his phenomenal performance, Alcantara’s ERA sunk down to a staggering 1.81 which is fourth in the MLB and second in the National League.  


Elieser Hernandez pitched his way out of the rotation

Starting pitcher Elieser Hernandez has really struggled this season. His 6.75 ERA is the worst among Miami starters and he has given up a total of 18 home runs all year, the most in the MLB. 

Hernandez’s outing against the Giants was probably the worst in his career. In the second game of the series, the Marlins opted to go with an opener to start the game. 

Left-handed relief pitcher Richard Bleier opened the game for Miami and didn’t pitch great. Bleier looked uncomfortable because he had been so used to coming out of the bullpen throughout his career, so opening a game was not what he had in mind. 

Hernandez would then come out of the bullpen in the second inning and he didn’t have an answer for shutting down the San Francisco hitters. Hernandez gave up eight hits and eight earned runs through 4.1 innings of work. Miami lost that game 15-6 and Hernandez was sent down to Triple-A.

“He hasn’t been able to gain any traction through the course of the season,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said about moving Hernandez to Triple-A. “I felt like the best thing for him is to get him down, get reset, let him get refocused, and let him work on things without the pressure of being in a big league game.”


Garrett Cooper is heating up, but where’s everyone else?

First baseman Garrett Cooper has been the lone bright spot in the Marlins’ offense during the series and was a big part in Miami’s come-from-behind 5-4 victory in game 3. 

During the three games he played in the series, Cooper went 7-for-14 and hit an opposite-field solo home run during the series finale. 

Cooper has been starting to get it going offensively and it’s been great to see. 

As for everyone else, the bats have been fairly quiet during the series. There’ve been too many strikeouts and not enough production with runners in scoring position. Also, where has the long ball been? Just one home run through four games. I know the ball flies at Coors Field, but even in Miami, the Marlins haven’t had a problem hitting the ball into the stands. 


Giants had too many extra-base hits

It felt as if every hit the Giants had in the series was an extra-base hit. Doubles, home runs, and triples were being sent all around the ballpark. 

Over the four-game series, the Giants had a total of 17 extra-base hits.

Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford even recorded a triple in the third game and if you’ve seen Crawford run, he’s not exactly Rickey Henderson out there. 

Sure, LoanDepot Park is a big ballpark and it’s easy to get a triple if you hit the ball deep enough into the corner like Crawford did. But also, the pitcher has to make sure that those types of hits don’t happen and the outfielders need to be quick to react to the ball.


The Walk-Off Helmet

In the third game of the series, the Marlins beat the Giants in the bottom of the ninth with a walk-off sacrifice fly by outfielder Jesus Sanchez that was deep enough to score third baseman Luke Williams with ease. 

In typical walk-off fashion, the players chased Sanchez around the field and showered him with sunflower seeds. But, is that a football helmet on his head? 

We’ve seen crazy walk off celebrations over the years but the football helmet has to be a first. 

Do I get it? No. Do the players look like they’re happy? Sure. And that’s all that matters, right?

Up next for the Marlins is a three-game series against the Washington Nationals.

That series will be played from Tuesday through Thursday at LoanDepot Park. 



Photo by Tony Capobianco


Could Joel Embiid Really Join The Heat?

The other day, Sixers center Joel Embiid sent out this tweet that led to a whirlwind of speculation. 

It immediately begs the question,  when Embiid says, “Miami needs another star,” is he referring to himself? If so, could Joel Embiid to the Heat be in our future?

Embiid Isn’t Wrong

First, let’s be clear that Embiid does have a point here. At the moment, Jimmy Butler is Miami’s best player, and the team’s only true “star.”

Bam Adebayo is probably the next closest to that designation, but he is not quite there yet. Looking at the rest of the roster, they have some great role players and veterans who were once stars, but their best days are behind them.

One thing is obvious, if Embiid joined the Heat tomorrow, he would immediately become the best player on the roster. What team wouldn’t want to add him?

Could Embiid Want Out?

The big question here is whether or not Embiid would actually leave Philly. He has established himself as the undisputed leader of the team and is beloved by that city. However, frustration could be mounting for the Sixers big man after a fifth consecutive postseason exit without making the conference finals.

Philly’s front office has failed to put a star alongside Embiid. They had Butler for the 2018-19 season, which ended in a heartbreaking game seven loss to the eventual champions in Toronto. Rather than trying to run it back, Butler was sent to Miami.

The latest attempt at finding a running mate for Embiid was a trade for James Harden. Unfortunately, Harden is a shell of his former self. Worse yet, he has an irresistible player option for next season that would pay him over $47 million, making him virtually untradeable.

Is Embiid willing to risk wasting another year of his prime on a team that will likely struggle to contend for a title? He might decide that the Sixers have had enough chances and that it is time to move on.

If he does, Miami would be a near-perfect fit. Embiid and Butler already have a great relationship and their playing styles mesh together well. Both are playmakers with and without the ball. Also, Embiid already plays with the tenacity that Heat coach, Erik Spoelstra, demands.

Most importantly, the addition of Embiid would transform a Miami team that is currently a contender into a juggernaut.

How Would a Joel Embiid to the Heat Move Work?

Given that Embiid is under contract for next season, any move would require a trade. Also, he cannot be traded until July 17. So, what would a potential trade look like? After using ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine, and then adding in some draft picks, here is one possibility:

Miami receives: Joel Embiid

Philadelphia receives: Bam Adebayo, Max Strus, Miami 2023 1st round pick, Miami 2024 1st round pick.

For Miami, Embiid would be a significant upgrade over Adebayo. Giving up Strus and two firsts is the price of doing business, one that they would happily pay. On the other side, any trade in which Philly gives up Embiid would feel like a loss. The compensation is not terrible, but it is hard to see how the Sixers get better in this trade. It is important to note that this trade would only happen if Embiid demanded it. This would give Philly little leverage.

Will it Happen?

At the end of the day, it is hard to picture Embiid being anywhere but Philly next season. I think it is more likely that Daryl Morey finds a way to either trade Harden or add another shooter. Still, this situation is something to keep an eye on. Embiid is heading into the final year of his contract. If the Sixers are not looking like contenders when next year’s trade deadline rolls around, all bets are off.


***This article was originally published on the ATB Network by Dalton Blackman***

  Hussam Patel is a Miami Dolphins contributor and Lead NFL Draft analyst at Five Reasons Sports Network, Director of Scouting at PhinManiacs and Editor at Dolphins ATB. Follow him on Twitter at @HussamPatel  

Use code “FIVE” to receive a matching $100 bonus on Prizepicks