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August 22, 2013

Painting the Black

Fish with Arms

by R.J. Anderson


In the coming weeks the Marlins, just 16 games shy of elimination from postseason consideration, will secure a top-three pick in next June's draft. Yet, despite the awful record, Miami has recently evolved into a watchable team on most nights—something they were not earlier in the season, when Giancarlo Stanton was injured and Jose Fernandez was not pitching quite so well. Contention hopes are a season away, if not longer, but the Marlins are intriguing now in large part because of a young, hard-throwing rotation.

With due respect to Tom Koehler, people are tuning in to see the other four starters: Fernandez, arguably the National League Rookie of the Year, and three arms acquired in trades over the past 13 months: Jacob Turner, Nathan Eovaldi, and Henderson Alvarez. The quartet—average age 22.5 years, median fastball velocity of 95—has compiled a 3.24 run average over 354 innings. Between the youth, arm strength, and shiny surface-level statistics, there's a lot to like about this group. And that's fitting, because nothing symbolizes Miami baseball more than a good young rotation.

Okay, perhaps a few other objects are better representations of the Marlins and Jeffrey Loria. But there's no sense in ignoring the young talent at hand to bicker about Loria's at-times questionable business practices. Strip away his involvement—admittedly a difficult task—and what remains is a front office that adheres to the typical small-market principles for starting pitching. The Marlins are like any other small-budget team, only smaller.

Since the 1998 season, which covers the last expansion round and Miami's first fire sale, no team has used more young starters—defined as being 24 or younger and making

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit Lis... (08/22)
<< Previous Column
Painting the Black: Wi... (08/12)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Painting the Black: Fo... (09/03)
Next Article >>
Premium Article What You Need to Know:... (08/22)

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