If it weren't the Marlins' strategy, we might be making something of the Marlins' strategy.
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.
The Marlins sparkle up their season with two big call-ups.
The Situation: The Miami Marlins have been allergic to offensive production in 2013, developing rashes and hives whenever runs cross the plate, which has only happened 309 times in 97 games. For perspective, the Astros have similar run allergies but have managed to score 59 more runs, and I’m pretty sure I could get at-bats on that team. Looking for some offensive epinephrine, the farm is being raided and top prospects Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick are getting the call to the majors, a youth infusion that should provide a necessary boost to a struggling lineup.
Background: Christian Yelich was drafted in the first round of the 2010 draft out of high school powerhouse Westlake High School. He was viewed by many as one of the better high school bats in the entire draft. He wasted little time proving that to be the case, showing impressive bat-to-ball skills in his initial debut. Yelich has continued to rake all the way up the chain, pushing himself up prospect lists each year, plateauing as a top 10 prospect in the game on the Baseball Prospectus Mid-Season Top 50.
A look at Jeffrey Loria and Miami's current financial situation.
“The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right; greed works.” —Gordon Gekko, Wall Street
I don’t know if Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria owns a copy of Oliver Stone’s Wall Street. The movie, which came out at the height of the 1980s’ “excess is best” period would seem to play well with him. That now infamous speech by Gekko summed up everything that was wrong with not only Wall Street but also where America was headed. Loria, it seems, is still living in the 80s.
Which teams have the strongest starting rotations in the senior circuit?
Last week, I had the pleasure of participating in the Baseball Prospectus annual stop at Washington DC's Politics and Prose bookstore. As I joined Steven Goldman, Derek Carty, and Adam Sobsey in the question-and-answer session with the 125 or so attendees—yet another packed house that lived up to our past history there, for which we profusely thank our DC-area readership and the store—the most apparent difference from years past was the bona fide sense of hope the audience had about the Nationals.
Now that the Twins and Marlins both finally have new ballparks, take a look back at what it took to get them.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
Stumping for a new stadium in Minneapolis and Miami used to be an annual rite of spring, but this year both the Twins and Marlins will be playing in flashy new facilities. That outcome wasn't so certain when Neil wrote the following article, which originally ran on May 4, 2005.
Which teams are likely to see significantly more production from their new players at positions in need of improvement?
Teams don’t always have to make a major move in order to improve over the winter. Sometimes merely subtracting someone who played poorly can affect our expectations for a club. Occasionally, a series of seemingly minor moves can make a major cumulative impact. And at other times, there’s an obvious in-house fix for a roster’s flaws in the form of a player returning from an injury, being promoted from the minors, or switching to a position where he’ll be of more use. The Rays went from last place in 2007 to first place in 2008 without acquiring an outside player more accomplished than Troy Percival. Some off-season overhauls don’t start making headlines until the regular season is well under way.
Still, the moves that make us dream about how good a given team can be when players report to spring training tend to be the ones involving established talents. When we’ve already seen what a player can do, it’s easy to picture him doing it again in a different uniform. Naturally, the more a team struggled at the new player’s position last year, the more exciting the upgrade. But it’s easy to get carried away and overstate the improvement. Assessing the impact of a high-profile player addition requires more than a little imagination and mental arithmetic.