It’s finally happening, Marlins fans. The 2020 Major League Baseball season is set to get underway on July 23rd, though the Marlins will open on the 24th. That means it’s time for real baseball, the lack of which has left a big four-month hole not easy to overcome. One of the few baseball-related attractions during the hiatus, though, was Baseball-Reference’s Out of the Park simulations.
Those simulations provided an alternative to the boring baseball reality and a return to normality by following a typical 162-game campaign. Nothing can replace the action on the diamond. However, for more knowledgable fans and experts, it was constantly a source of interesting results and outcomes, plus the many surprises that could have been in a full 2020 season.
The Miami Marlins had a fairly positive start to the season. However, once again it didn’t go as planned, with the team 20 games under .500 past the halfway point of the year. As of July 3rd, the Marlins have a record of 34-54, last in both their division and the NL.
Who failed to live up to the expectations? Who showed potential despite another disappointing first half? The simulations may not be worth much with the season around the corner. Nevertheless, they can be used for valuable takeaways in preparation for what the team could show in 2020.
|New York Mets||39||49||.443||13.5|
National League (Bottom Five)
|New York Mets||39||49||.443|
|San Francisco Giants||39||49||.443|
|San Diego Padres||35||53||.398|
The Marlins posted a hot start during the first week of play with a 7-1 record. It was all downhill from that point – 8-16 during the remainder of April and 19-37 since.
Opponents from the NL East
Over the first 88 games of the league year, the Marlins went 15-26 against division rivals, losing the majority of the games against all but one team – the NL East leaders Washington Nationals.
Head-to-head records against each opponent are as follows:
- ATL: 1-11
- NYM: 1-5
- PHI: 6-7
- WAS: 7-3
The team’s display against inter-divisional opponents is a slight bit better – 19-28. If the simulations wind up anywhere near the reality, the Marlins are bound for a tough 2020 season. During the upcoming year, Miami will face divisional rivals in two-thirds of its games.
The Marlins didn’t face an AL East team during the simulations as they were set to play the AL West in 2020. Miami won three and lost seven against the Mariners, the Angels, and the Athletics, beating each team once. Against the rest of the National League, the Marlins came out on top in 15 of 37 games.
Miami’s possible AL East opponents were pretty much as advertised, with an unfavorable swing on the side of the Boston Red Sox. While the Yankees lead the Rays by 10 games on the top of the division, the Red Sox are tied with the Blue Jays at third place with a 38-50 record, each 12 games under .500.
Miguel Rojas – 333 AB, 8 HR, 43 RBI, .303/.369/.435, 3.9 WAR
Brian Anderson – 329 AB, 5 HR, 40 RBI, .252/.330/.362, 1.0 WAR
Jonathan Villar – 357 AB, 9 HR, 27 RBI, .280/.331/.412, 0.9 WAR
Corey Dickerson – 313 AB, 5 HR, 38 RBI, .275/.331/.396, 0.6 WAR
Francisco Cervelli – 124 AB, 0 HR, 9 RBI, .218/.324/.282, 0.4 WAR
Caleb Smith – 111.0 IP, 6-5, 2.84 ERA, 9.6 K/9, 3.0 WAR
Pablo Lopez – 101.2 IP, 6-5, 4.16 ERA, 7.1 K/9, 2.2 WAR
Jose Urena – 100.0 IP, 3-10, 4.23 ERA, 5.4 K/9, 1.5 WAR
Trevor Rogers – 82.2 IP, 5-6, 3.59 ERA, 7.3 K/9, 1.5 WAR
Sandy Alcantara – 97.0 IP, 4-10, 3.62 ERA, 6.5 K/9, 0.6 WAR
Brandon Kintzler – 32.2 IP, 5 SV, 5.76 ERA, 5.2 K/9, 0.4 WAR
- The most obvious part of the simulations’ fallout, and the single light in the tunnel, is that Caleb Smith could have a terrific season and is currently the frontrunner to be the staff’s ace. His 2.84 ERA could look even stronger in a shortened season. Smith’s dominant first half included a complete-game shutout against the Nationals at home in April.
- Sandy Alcantara was the rotation’s top starter for most of last year. However, he had a pretty up-and-down campaign here. On the one hand, he posted a satisfying ERA of 3.62 in nearly 100 innings. On the other hand, he averaged more than four walks and 0.9 home runs per nine innings. In addition, he only managed 6.5 K/9, with just Urena posting a lower number in more than ten starts on the mound. All in all, that shouldn’t be too big of a problem and the results should be good from the Alcantara-Smith 1-2 duo.
- The starting rotation itself marked a significant improvement. It went from 4.74 ERA last year to 4.32 ERA through 88 games in 2020. Most of the positives for the team came on the mound – Caleb Smith’s dominance, Trevor Rogers’s breakout, and a solid performance by the likes of Pablo Lopez and Sandy Alcantara.
- Miguel Rojas could prove to be the Marlins’ most important player at the plate. Continuing his signature contact-centered hitting style, Rojas finished with a .303 batting average, .369 on-base percentage, and 3.0 WAR – the 12th-best in the majors.
- Miami’s top five hitters (per WAR) all have an OBP over the league average of .323 (2019).
- Brandon Kintzler, and the bullpen as a whole, had a down year. This proves how the bullpen might make the difference in terms of wins and losses with the batting lineup in rebuild mode and the rotation in power mode.
- In a tough division like NL East, getting the best out of the team’s core might be a more realistic task than winning a considerably bigger number of games. However, in a 60-game 2020 campaign, a hot streak could make a club of Miami’s caliber a contender. The Marlins are capable of that but aren’t on the front end of the queue.
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