Tag Archive for: Marlins

Important Marlins Questions: Part 3

With the 2021 MLB season starting in less than a month, the Marlins have a lot of choices to make. In my next three articles, I will detail my prospective answers to these questions. Here they are:


  1. Where does Garrett Cooper fit in Miami?
  2. Who starts at 2nd base between Jazz Chisholm and Isan Diaz?
  3. Who will be the 5th man in the rotation?


In my third and final article in this series, I will take a look at a pressing question for the Marlins entering the new season. Here are some of the best options on the table for Miami, with some pros and cons to go along with each possibility. Clearly, there are 7 main arms that could potentially find themselves on the Opening Day Rotation: Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez, Elieser Hernandez, Sixto Sanchez, Trevor Rogers, Nick Neidert, and Gio Gonzalez. There are multiple ways Miami can take this:


4 Expected + Gio


I was very high on the Gio Gonzalez signing when the Marlins went out and got him. After taking more and more time to consider the options at hand, putting Gio Gonzalez in the rotation would effectively stunt the growth of the young arms of Trevor Rogers and Nick Neidert. This option puts Sixto, Sandy, Pablo, and Elieser as the key arms with a lefty veteran in Gonzalez. With two solid young options almost completely ready, the value of Gio Gonzalez doesn’t outweigh getting Rogers and Neidert innings in high leverage situations. I wouldn’t go this route if I’m the Marlins for that reason. Rather I would opt for one of the two options below. 


Early 6 Man Rotation 


With Sixto Sanchez starting his Spring late and most likely on a pitch limit in 2021, starting him in the minors could guarantee that he is pitching later in the season (which would be beneficial to him whether or not the Marlins are in a pennant race). By allowing both Rogers and Neidert to get innings early, the Marlins can potentially have more data to work with in deciding who stays and who goes. Gio Gonzalez could be a solid veteran presence at the start of the season, especially when the Marlins are still in the hunt. The major con of this option is that Sandy pitches every 7th day, rather than every 6th day. For this reason, this option will most likely be saved as a ‘just in case things go very poorly’ option. If the Marlins falter early, this is their best option to grow for next year.


5 Young Arms


This is the best option for Miami in my opinion. Start Sixto in the minors and have Neidert and Rogers battle out for the 5 spot in the rotation when Sixto is ready to come up. Move the non-starter to the bullpen for long relief in combination with Gio Gonzalez. Both can then be used for spot starts throughout the course of a long season on double-header days which are bound to happen. This makes it so the Marlins have their best young arms out there on any given night, which puts them in the best situation to compete. 



I hope that the Marlins opt to take option 3 in games that matter. Once they are out of contention (or if they are), they can switch to option 2 to get Neidert and Rogers even more experience in a Major League environment. With Opening Day just 11 days away, Marlins fans will have all of these answers soon. 


This has been a fun series of articles to write, and regardless of what Miami does, I think they are poised to exceed expectations this year one way or another. 


Until Opening Day.

Important Marlins Questions: Part 2

With the 2021 MLB season starting in less than a month, the Marlins have a lot of choices to make.  I will detail my prospective answers to these questions. Here they are:


  1. Where does Garrett Cooper fit in Miami?
  2. Who starts at 2nd base between Jazz Chisholm and Isan Diaz?
  3. Who will be the 5th man in the rotation?


In this article, I will be answering question 2. With a well-balanced roster, the Marlins have one position that seems to be the only one truly “up for grabs.” 24-year-old Isan Diaz and 23-year-old Jazz Chisholm are currently battling it out in Spring Training for the title of Marlins second baseman. A lot of the conversation I have seen has been variations of the question “Who deserves the spot?” That is not the correct question to be asking, especially with only Spring Training to go on. Because, simply put, neither “deserve” the spot at the moment. 


Let’s keep in mind that both Isan and Jazz hit below .200 throughout the 2020 season. Neither has had significant success within the majors up to this point in time. So for that reason, I’ll argue that this decision should not be made based on Spring Training performance, but rather predetermined based on fit. 


Isan Diaz should be the Opening Day starter and here’s why:


Isan Diaz is the Marlins future second baseman


Isan Diaz is a second baseman and, for years to come, this is the position that he should be playing. He has an extremely high upside and is looking more like the player that the Marlins watched in the minors. He has been quoted saying that he “has his confidence back.” Whether or not that is true, Isan has the potential to be a key piece on a budding perennial postseason competitor in the coming years. 


Jazz Chisholm is not


Now, that does not mean Jazz Chisholm isn’t any of these things, He, much like Diaz, has an extremely high upside that can’t be ignored. He is also the future of the Miami Marlins… but not at 2nd base. He is a true shortstop and should be groomed to replace Miguel Rojas when the time comes. Until then, he should be getting reps at shortstop in the minors. Once he is ready, he can be brought up to be a platoon man/pinch hitter. 


The Marlins don’t have much to go on.


Neither player has had enough time in the majors to be classified as “statistically stronger” for the role. So, this decision for Miami can either be based on a biased sample of performance in the Minors and Spring Training, or it can be based on logic. From my perspective, the choice is an easy one. Let both Isan and Jazz develop at the positions that they are meant to play. Adjustments can be made if necessary, but for Opening Day, having Isan Diaz at 2nd base is in Miami’s best interest. 


Important Marlins Questions: Part 1

With the 2021 MLB season starting in less than a month, the Marlins have a lot of choices to make if they want to compete. In my next three articles, I will detail my prospective answers to the questions below.


  1. Where does Garrett Cooper fit in Miami?
  2. Who starts at 2nd base between Jazz Chisholm and Isan Diaz?
  3. Who will be the 5th man in the rotation?


In this, I will be taking a detailed look at question number 1. This is quite the weird situation for Miami to be in. With it seeming more likely that Jesus Aguilar will be the Opening Day First Baseman, Garrett Cooper is left without a spot. Keep in mind, Cooper was top-3 on the Marlins last season in Batting Average, On-Base Percentage, OPS, and Slugging Percentage. At the very least, it looked like he would land in right field. The Marlins instead signed Adam Duvall, who will rightfully be the starter in right. This leaves no room for one of the Marlins best hitters. What happens now? 


Let’s first take a look at the most-likely starters in the outfield and why Coop may be out of a role.


Starling Marte will without a doubt be the CF for the Miami Marlins in 2021; however, it is interesting to note that Marte had a well-below average year at the plate last year (both in terms of his normal stats and in comparison around the league). Marte has been extremely consistent otherwise, and will most likely break out of his rut with a full season to balance out his game. He is an All-Star talent and outclasses Cooper throughout their careers in many categories. 


Corey Dickerson finds himself in a similar boat, actually, near the identical boat to Marte. He had a well below average 2020 campaign, but boasts strong numbers throughout his career. The last two seasons where he was an everyday guy were years where he was an All-Star and Gold Glove winner, respectively. In that All-Star year, he hit 27 home runs. His strong career average and OPS are valuable attributes to any team going forward. Dickerson has had a strong start in Spring Training as he continues to look like his old self.


This is where it gets complicated. Believe me, I’m big on Duvall. I genuinely think in any other circumstance, he should be starting all 154 games. He has been an extremely effective power hitter throughout his career and shows no signs of slowing down. Yet, Duvall in right leaves no place for Garrett Cooper. Duvall and Cooper are both stronger hitters on the Marlins, but it leaves Miami fans wondering why the front office went this route. Duvall can do what Copper can do at the plate, and he has played the outfield throughout his career. So he wins the starting role.


Where do the Marlins go with Coop?

So, does Garrett Cooper platoon with Aguilar and Duvall at times? This feels like the only option left, but not an optimal one. If that is the value the Marlins are getting, he may be better off traded away for more prospects (bleh). 


The Adam Duvall signing was a good signing in practice, but in theory does not make sense unless they plan on pitching Cooper, Duvall, or Aguilar at some point throughout the season. 


Overall for Marlins


I fully expect that either Garrett Cooper or Adam Duvall will not be in a Marlins uniform at the halfway point of the season. Especially if either plays significantly well early, their value as a trade piece outweighs their value as a pinch-hitter/platoon guy off the bench. Maybe that’s what Miami has been planning for all along. Time will tell.


Sandy Alcantara strikes out six in short outing

Sandy Alcantara looks ready for Opening Day.

Yes, it’s only his second outing of the 2021 Spring Training, but the Dominican starter seems to be cruising in this Spring Training to lead the young staff from the beginning of the season.

After tossing two scoreless innings in his first outing against the New York Mets on March 1st, Alcantara came back with another solid outing on a rainy Saturday afternoon in Jupiter.

Alcantara did allow two runs in the first inning, but neither of them counted towards his ERA, because of a Miguel Rojas error that extended the inning.

Alcantara struck out three in the first, two in the second and one in the third, before getting pulled by Don Mattingly with a man on first.

Sandy finished his outing with 48 pitches, and he should be scheduled to pitch again on Wednesday or Thursday.

Alcantara and Kim NG, the highlights of the trip

Sandy Alcantara was the main attraction of the day, with the Marlins using a lineup that looks very similar to what we should expect for Opening Day (without the DH, of course).

But besides watching Sandy pitch, Aguilar and Cooper carry the team offensively, I actually got to talk to Kim NG for about a minute, in the Roger Dean Stadium elevator, on our way to the press box.

The Marlins are doing well in Spring Training. Let’s wait and see if they can keep it up for when it actually matters, like Kim NG says.


By Alejandro Villegas | @alejandrovg32 on Twitter

Marlins Sign Gio Gonzalez

The Miami Marlins signed Miami native Gio Gonzalez to a minor league deal this week. If he makes the big league roster, he will make $1 million. The southpaw has had great success throughout his 13 seasons in the MLB, posting a solid 3.70 ERA. He provides a solid veteran presence in the Marlins rotation going into the 2021 season. 


Here’s what Miami can expect:


A Veteran Impact


I have written countless articles detailing how the Marlins staff is in desperate need of a veteran guy to lead the young guys through a full season. Gio Gonzalez does not provide the value that, say, James Paxton would, but he fills the gap nonetheless. Gonzalez is a 2-time All-Star that has been a core piece of great rotations throughout his years. He could be a solid 5th man on an otherwise young and promising rotation.


Innings Eater


Gio Gonzalez can pitch deep into ball games and has consistently shown his ability to do so throughout his career. In Miami, he is not being asked to be “the guy.” All he needs to do is get the Marlins to the bullpen on his day of work. At this point in time, I believe that Gio Gonzalez will put the Marlins in a better position to win on Day 5 than either Trevor Rogers or Nick Neidert. If Gio can keep it close on half of his outings, the bullpen will be able to steal games on days where the Marlins aren’t expected to win. 


Gonzalez Regressing with Age

Statistically, and pretty obviously, he’s not the pitcher he once was. Ever since 2016, Gonzalez has consistently been regressing backwards. His FIP (true pitching statistic similar to ERA that accounts for external factors) was dominant in his years in Oakland and early years in Washington at averaging about a 3.00; however, since 2016, his FIP has slowly jumped yearly landing him at a 5.50 FIP last year in Chicago. Basically, what this tells us is that his quality of pitching was worthy of a 5.50 ERA (he posted a 4.83 actual ERA). His performance is unlikely to skyrocket back up, especially in a strong NL East.


Overall for Marlins


The Marlins won’t be asking much of Gio Gonzalez if he is a part of the rotation. His regression over the past few years may prove to continue, but I’d take his veteran knowledge over the younger arms right now. 


Marlins Could Contend in 2021

So another offseason has come and gone for the Marlins. After a magical run into the 2020 playoffs, the Marlins look to do it again. With every single major media outlet predicting that the Marlins will finish 5th place in the NL East, Miami is left asking: Who even are the Marlins? Are they a playoff team or 50-win team? If you asked me on the day the 2020 season ended, I would have said the latter was reasonable. Now, after the late moves made in Miami, I would argue the former. 



Here’s why the Marlins can make a run:


Starting Pitching


The starting pitching is young, but they have the potential to explode as a top-5 rotation in this upcoming season. In his piece on MLB.com, Thomas Harrigan explained that the Fish have the potential to be the best rotation in baseball. Although I believe this is a premature prediction (especially for this season), if Sandy, Sixto, and Pablo reach even half of those expectations outlined, the Marlins will be in a contending spot. With depth spots allocated to high potential arms Elieser Hernandez and Trevor Rogers, the Marlins staff is in the best position it has been in, maybe ever.




Oh boy. This was a sore subject last year for Miami. Past Garcia and Kintzler, they lacked consistency. Our bullpen ranked in the bottom of the majors leading to losses in games before Kintzler or Garcia could seal the deal. But now with Dylan Floro, Anthony Bass, and John Curtiss to fill the gaps, the Marlins bullpen is solid. They are not the best bullpen in the league by any means, but they would 100% be a top-15 bullpen (above average). In combination with top starting pitching, the Marlins could become a force to be reckoned with defensively. 




The Marlins offensive output will not change. The Adam Duvall signing helps, but does not put the Marlins in a significantly better position in the 2021 season. Their bats last year performed much worse than what was *statistically* expected of them, though. In combination with another year of experience and a positive regression to their mean (20th-25 rather than close to dead last), there should be a little more production. Although Brian Anderson, Starling Marte, and Adam Duvall will most likely be the names accredited with any increased success, I expect a slight increase in overall performance.


Overall for the Marlins


This Marlins team has what it takes to do it again if the starters perform as expected, the backend bullpen overperforms similarly to last season, and the hitting performs as expected. If the Marlins make the playoffs it will be in the Wild Card, but that is nothing to scoff at. They have the perfect balance of confidence from last year and returning grit to beat the odds. Yes, they have to have an outlier performance in all three categories; but, hey, they did it once. Nothing is impossible in Miami.


Marlins Trade for John Curtiss

The Marlins made another impressive move the other day, going out and trading for John Curtiss. Curtiss, who helped lead the Rays to an AL Championship this past season, had a 3-0 record with a 1.80 ERA last season. Although he stumbled in the postseason, the Marlins have added another quality arm to their bullpen. With Detwiler, Cimber, Bass, Floro, and now Curtiss added to the mix, the bullpen looks strong headed into the 2021 season (at least stronger than it was last year). 

Curtiss Makes Marlins ‘Pen Even More Stable

Curtiss provides even more stability to the Marlins bullpen and could be a key piece in a well-balanced bullpen. In his 2/17 press conference Don Mattingly expressed how reliant the Marlins will be on pitching this season, maybe even more so than last year. Now, with an elite starting rotation and a solid bullpen to back it up, this season and its future are looking much brighter in Miami.

Marlins Bullpen Depth Looks Good

Miami’s bullpen is now the strongest it has been in a long time. The depth they have is unprecedented for the Marlins and when combined with Sandy, Sixto, and Pablo on most nights, could be the deciding factor in high caliber games versus the strong NL East. The Marlins have solidified themselves as a top 20 team at this point, but their in-division competition may make it look otherwise. 

Overall Takeaway

It looks like Miami is pushing to compete this season. Regardless of the outcome, they have made extremely solid moves in an attempt to win. For a young Marlins team, the goal is to perform better this year than last; however, that may just mean the bats start working and the pitching is good, not necessarily a playoff berth. That is all Miami can ask for, and now, all that is left is to see how it pans out.

Marlins Trade for Dylan Floro

Coming off a solid signing of Adam Duvall, the Marlins continue their recent activity by trading for RHP Dylan Floro from the defending champion LA Dodgers. They pitched LHP Alex Vesia and a prospect for Floro in an attempt to cement a floundering bullpen. With one of the few consistencies in the 2020 bullpen, Brandon Kintzler, signing with the Phillies, the Marlins hope Floro can fill a similar role. 


Floro had a 2.59 ERA last year over 24.1 innings with the Dodgers and also brings even more Postseason experience to a young roster. Statistically, Floro is an above average pitcher with a career FIP of 3.23. He most likely will not be the closer of this team, but Floro adds even more depth to a bullpen trending upwards.


Here’s a few things to like and dislike about this trade:


Floro is an elite groundball pitcher


Floro’s main success is rooted in his ability to get hitters to put the ball on the ground. He boasts a strong 52.7% groundball rate over his career and as baseball trends towards the fly ball, this style becomes more and more important. Groundball pitchers are often overlooked due to their low K/9 rate (in Floro’s case: 7.8 K/9); however, they provide under the radar stability to bullpens and starting rotations across the league due to their consistent nature: think Charlie Morton. If Floro’s style isn’t disrupted in favor of pushing up his K’s, he will provide value to this bullpen in a similar way that he did in Los Angeles.


Marlins can use Floro/Bass/Garcia in the 7th,8th, and 9th


The Marlins won a lot of close games in their 60 game run. Regardless of how poor the early bullpen was, they had consistency in the 8th and 9th with Yimi Garcia and Brandon Kintzler. This signing, along with Anthony Bass, will provide them with an electric 7th-9th. If the starters can average 6 innings per game, the pitching may be able to carry the Fish on most nights. Because we know the hitting won’t.


Marlins Front Office making confusing decisions


Throughout the start of this offseason, Kim Ng and Derek Jeter continually pointed to staying true to a longer plan. This means developing their top prospects to a point of contention. Trading Alex Vesia, who has low MLB experience but lots of success in the minors, seems premature, especially if the Marlins don’t believe they can win now. Floro is most likely going to be a Marlins for a few years at the minimum, but I don’t believe the younger guys will be ready in time.




The Marlins are acting like they are also in the middle of rebuilding and playoff chase at the same time. I understand making positive trades for the present moment, but if this team is to see long term success, they need to prioritize one plan. Maybe I am an extremist, but I’d prefer to see one or the other. The Floro trade, although positive for the present, leaves questions of the future to be answered.

Marlins Sign Duvall

The Miami Marlins finally did something meaningful this offseason. Throughout the months after a surprise playoff berth, the newly designed front office has been relatively quiet. They have silently filled holes in the bullpen, but as time has progressed it looked more and more unlikely that a prominent move would be made. Today the “Bottom Feeders” signed prolific power hitter Adam Duvall for a cheap $2 million this year with options in the upcoming years for up to $7 million.


This move makes the most sense so far and here’s why:


The Marlins Lineup HAD No power


Last year, the Marlins were at the bottom of the league in home runs. This has been the case for many years, and signing a guy who hit 16 homers in a 60 game season won’t fix everything, but it will provide stability. The Marlins thrive with guys on base, and with a bat that pitchers now have to be consistently wary of, the likes of Starling Marte and Jon Berti will provide more value (aka more runs). Duvall bats from the right side where he slashed .248/.301/.532 in 2019. He has been a consistent force in every lineup he has been a part of, so don’t expect that to change in Miami.


Duvall Becomes “The Guy”


The Fish have had their “guys” over the past years. Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich come to mind, and although Duvall is not on their level, he outclasses every other hitter on the Marlins (except for Starling Marte) in almost every category. If he continues to put up the numbers he is capable of, he could help to ignite a young lineup towards a successful 2021 campaign.


He Fills the Outfield Hole


Debates have arisen recently as to who would be in RF on Opening Day. With Duvall there is no question. Not only is he offensively sound, he is extremely competent in the field, posting high defensive stats that overshadow other potential signings. 


Overall for Marlins


Adam Duvall is the perfect fit for this Miami roster. For months, I have consistently talked about how this lineup lacked the power to compete. This is finally a first step in the right direction.

Marlins Ng

Marlins Missing More FA Opportunities

The Pittsburgh Pirates signed Chasen Shreve to a minor league deal today. Shreve is a crafty left that utilizes a devastating splitter to his advantage, which led to a solid 3.96 ERA over 25 innings with the Mets last season. The Miami Marlins had an interest in Shreve throughout this offseason, but couldn’t seal the deal.

Shreve Loss is not the issue

This is not a devastating loss, but Shreve offered another cheap option for the Marlins to bolster their middle of the road bullpen. As Kim Ng mentioned in her latest press conference, this Marlins team looks to be what we will see on Opening Day. Reports have led me to believe the Marlins are still looking for bullpen pieces this upcoming season. Names such as Brandon Kintzler continue to pop up, but with less and less time to pull the trigger, the Marlins may settle for what they have. 

Is the Marlins bullpen enough as is?

The bullpen, especially the backend, provided stability last season for the Marlins that allowed them to close out close games as most of their games were decided by a few runs. With less and less options on the market, it is hard to believe that the current bullpen will be enough to sustain a playoff run in a 154 game season. On the same end, it is unlikely any single addition would boost this bullpen to the next level. 


As more time passes and more names fall off the list of potential additions, Marlins fans may have to accept what we are seeing now is exactly what we are going to get. Nothing about this roster stands out to me as a playoff roster, but then again, neither did last year’s.