Monday, April 29, 2024

Wasn't This Just a Playoff Team?


I give you the 2024 Miami Marlins. A team where every starting batter can leave the game with 1 or more hits, including a 4-RBI game by the marquee star of the team...and they still lose by 3. To the Nationals.

It is appalling to see this Marlins team floundering after such a spirited finish to the 2023 season. They finished that year with so much promise, so many fun new performers and rookies, so many heroes, and unfinished business for 2024. And they didn't even lose too many people, mainly just Jorge Soler. But starting this season without Sandy Alcantara, Braxton Garrett and Eury Perez did a lot to batter down this team's value, because without them, a lot of less-proven options like Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk, struggled to hold the weight down and are injured as well. And even some of the better starters remaining, like Ryan Weathers and Trevor Rogers, have had started where they've gotten absolutely lit up. Getting Edward Cabrera back is a very good thing, but even he's had a rough start he's trying to come back from. Without somebody like Alcantara or Pablo Lopez, there's nothing to keep this rotation pinned down, and anybody can really chomp at these guys.

Even worse, the hitters haven't really shown up. Luis Arraez is doing his usual contact thing, yeah, but with a lower standard of defense. And right now it's just him and Otto Lopez hitting over .250. Everybody else is struggling at the plate, either with ineffective power hitting, mostly Josh Bell, or decent power hitting with high strikeout drawbacks, like Bryan de la Cruz and Jazz Chisholm. And the rest of the team are just guys that are sort of there. Emmanuel Rivera and Nick Gordon are on this team, I always forget that. The Tim Anderson moment is over, he's still a .220 hitter who's yet to even hit a home run. And, as discussed by most of the leagues, the Marlins have the single most ineffective catching battery in baseball, as Nick Fortes, a .122 hitter, is being backed up by Christian Bethancourt, who has 1 hit in 30 at bats. Austin Wells is hitting better than both of them.

The best player on this team right now is Max Meyer, who famously came up in 2022 and got absolutely lit up by the Phillies, owing solely to his overworking in the minors destroying his throwing arm. He's now back, healthy, and is 2-0 with a 2.12 ERA in 3 starts. Meyer is Jacksonville. That's right. The Marlins are keeping their best player in the minors. They've even called up other Jacksonville players, like Anthony Maldonado, who had a 3-inning start the other day. And they're keeping Meyer in Jacksonville, despite him being the only Marlins pitcher so far not to get destroyed. not get this tactic at all. It's like they want to lose.

I haven't even mentioned the fact that Sixto Sanchez is finally back up in the majors, healthy and able to play, and he's got a 7.20 ERA as a reliever. That anticlimactic. They were setting this guy up as a foundational piece in 2020 and now he's just another crappy reliever? The Marlins seem to be good at anticlimaxes, as so much of what was being set up in 2023 has gone nowhere so far this year. Bell and Burger? The young rotation pieces? Arraez as a league talent? All of that seems to have dissipated, and we're left with just a mediocre, not-at-all fun Marlins team that lets easy games against Patrick Corbin get away from them.

I know it's early, but this is not the start this team wanted after their playoff finish last year. Hopefully they can improve as we go into the season's second month.

Coming Tonight: A year after ditching the bigs for Korea, he's one of the few proven options from a team without much to prove at all.

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