Major League Baseball enters the month of May with mixed reactions. On the one hand, there’s still no baseball and the original target of the middle of April wasn’t met. On the other hand, there are some very encouraging signs there’s going to be a 2020 season. It’s just a matter of when it starts. With the baseball season in pause, one could only wonder what a full-schedule MLB campaign would be like. A very good place to turn to in the Out of the Park Baseball’s Miami Marlins simulation, posted on Baseball-Reference.
At the beginning of April, after a week of MLB play, the Miami Marlins had a near-perfect 7-1 record and help first place in the NL East. What followed for the team was a bad stretch that now holds them down. However, the year’s still more productive than most in recent memory, and that’s no surprise with their offseason activity.
After that hot start, Miami posted an 8-16 record, losing twice as many games as they won. As of May 1st, the Marlins are 15-17, two games under .500 and fourth place within the division.
Here are the NL East standings:
|New York Mets||17||15||.531||5|
vs PIT: 5-2 W
The Tables Are Turning
Last time we checked, the Marlins were on a six-game winning streak. They followed that up on a low note and consequently lost positions in the NL East.
The Marlins’ 8-16 record since April 1st has included three separate three-game losing skids, plus five straight losses – a streak, ended by their most recent victory over the Pirates (5-1).
Just six of their games during this span were against non-divisional opponents (Angels, Cardinals, Pirates). Miami’s record in these games was 3-3, meaning they have dropped 13 out of 18 against NL East rivals. Now seven games behind the first-place Braves, the Marlins are being brought down to Earth but a winning record is well within reach.
Caleb Smith Continues Winning Ways
Through his first seven starts, Caleb Smith has an ERA of 2.72, accompanied by a 3-1 record and 50 strikeouts. In addition, the Marlins ace has allowed just 13 earned runs, just as many as the bases on balls he’s accumulated.
Since his complete game on April 1st, Smith has only posted one start allowing more than three runs. Smith pitched 5 innings and two thirds at Citizen’s Bank Park on April 8th, surrendering 4 runs in a game, where Drew Steckenrider and Brandon Kintzler blew a 5-4 Marlins lead in the ninth.
Furthermore, Smith pitched six scoreless against the Cardinals on April 24th in a 10-0 Miami win. The second-year starter threw 100 pitches and struck out seven batters to decrease his ERA to sub-3.00.
Trevor Rogers Dominates in the Rotation
Not only did Rogers make the 26-man roster but he’s even made three starts through the end of April. The Marlins’ No. 8 prospect reached AA last year but seems to be a part of the rotation with Elieser Hernandez having not started a game since April 10th.
To put his performance into perspective, go one level higher. Among qualified pitchers, Rogers ranks fourth with 1.55 ERA., after Rick Porcello, Madison Bumgarner, and Steven Matz. With a 3-1 record, three quality starts and a 2.18 K/BB ratio, Rogers has been sensational debuting as a major-league starting pitcher.
Despite Smith and Rogers being very solid, the starting rotation overall hasn’t been the centerpiece it was last year. That applies to the fullest extent for Sandy Alcantara. Through six starts, he has an ERA of 4.45. In addition, he has by far the worst figures within the rotation when it comes to strikeouts and bases on balls. He leads the rotation with 5.9 BB per nine innings and is dead last with just 6.2 K per nine.
With a K/BB of 1.05, he has the lowest walks/strikeouts ratio of any pitcher who’s pitched for the Marlins this virtual season. All that with the fourth-most innings pitched and an accumulated WAR of zero sharp.
Surprisingly, Alcantara isn’t the only disappointing piece of the Marlins pitching staff. Pablo Lopez has a 5.97 ERA in more than 30 innings on the mound. Elieser Hernandez was pulled from the starting rotation after just three starts, surrendering 11 earned runs in 17 innings.
- Miguel Rojas has been one of the pleasant surprises of the 2020 virtual MLB season through the first month-plus. The Miami second baseman has a batting average of .354 and an on-base of .423, both well over last year’s league-average numbers of .252/.323. Rojas ranks second within the MLB with 2.4 WAR (as of May 2nd), behind only Francisco Lindor.
- Jesus Aguilar, Corey Dickerson, and Brian Anderson all outplay the aforementioned on-base 2019 average figure of .323. In addition, Anderson has a batting average of .295, alongside three homeruns, as the Marlins’ best batter not named Miguel Rojas.
- Aguilar leads the team with five big flies, eight behind league leaders Nolan Arenado and Franmil Reyes.
- Jonathan Villar has been cold and has therefore lost his ability to get on base, reaching at a mere pace of .305. Nevertheless, he’s stolen 11 bases, tied with the Phillies’ Roman Quinn for third in Major League Baseball.
What’s Up Next
Don Mattingly’s club will have to face a monstrous three-serious stretch to start May. First, the Marlins host the Milwaukee Brewers at Marlins Park. Then, they make another visit to SunTrust Park and the NL-best Braves, before visiting the 17-15 Cincinnati Reds.
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