2021 Miami Marlins: Roster Filled With Poor Defense and Hitting

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The 2021 Miami Marlins roster will consist of a handful of veterans with strong careers and a bunch of potentials. With a few cornerstones in place, Ng will have major decisions to make about the catching position.

“That was for me like a wake-up call…,” Alfaro said on Friday on Zoom. “That was on my mind the whole offseason, just to get better — my defense, hitting, everything.

Jorge Alfaro Zoom Meeting

2021 Miami Marlins: Catching Position

Mattingly’s continued vote of confidence bodes well for Alfaro. Yes, he has struggled recently but there is more to the composition of a team: “He’s important to our club,” Mattingly said. “He’s a guy with tremendous athletic ability. … We’re looking forward to Jorgie having a big year.” Alfaro discussed the difficulty of coping with the distance and time away from his loved ones. He has assumed responsibility for his lackluster performance.

Jorge Alfaro was replaced by Chad Wallach in the playoffs because of poor game-calling and defense. He strained his left oblique before the pandemic shut down Spring Training, then he caught COVID-19 and missed the first month of the season. in 2020, Alfaro slashed .226/.280/.344 with a .624 OPS. Don Mattingly was quoted as saying “Jorgie’s our guy.”

Alfaro also stressed that he understands what to do and is willing to take the personal sacrifice to achieve success. “Even if you have to sacrifice time with the family or my son [by not going back to Colombia]. All that. I know to get to be the player I want to be, we have to make a sacrifice”(Zoom Meeting).

Alfaro signed with the Texas Rangers as a free agent in 2010 and was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 2015. He made his MLB debut in 2016. On February 7, 2019, The Phillies traded Alfaro with Sixto SánchezWill Stewart, and $250,000 in international bonus slot money to the Miami Marlins in exchange for J. T. Realmuto.

In 2019, he batted .262/.312/.425, and was 2nd in the NL with 11 passed balls, and 3rd with 11 errors.

In 2020, he slashed .226/.280/.344 and was second in the NL with four passed balls. He had the lowest framing percentage of all major league catchers. If a catcher can’t catch, then it’s time for a change. Among the 32 catchers with at least 100 plate appearances, Alfaro’s OPS+ ranks 26th. Adding a 36 percent strikeout rate adds salt to the defensive game calling wounds. For his career, Alfaro has struck out in 34.3 percent of his plate appearances.

Yes, striking out is not as taboo as it once was, but when you strikeout, don’t walk, have passed balls, and call a poor game, you are useless. He is not a quality hitter. Striking out and not walking doesn’t leave much room for hits and RBIs.

Across 1,073 plate appearances, Alfaro has walked just 48 times for a worrisome 4.5% walk rate. It is concerning that Alfaro’s plate discipline won’t improve, which could affect his status with the team long term. Still, his strikeout rate is still far too high — 33.1 percent in 2019, 36 percent in 2020. The MLB average is 21.8 percent.

Starting Pitcher Pablo Lopez had some encouraging words for his battery mate: “His attitude is as good as it gets… He’s willing to help you… he came and talked to me and said ‘OK. What do you want to work on? Tell me if you want me to move.’

Lopez added that Alfaro’s targeting was good. His framing was good. Everything just gives you a little boost of confidence when you’re on the mound to make sure that he’s willing to help you in any way that he can.”

Pablo Lopez recorded a 2.59 ERA over 55 2/3 innings in 10 starts. The 11th start came against the Braves on Sept. 9, the day Atlanta put up 29 runs in a rout. He lasted 1-2/3 innings, giving up seven earned runs.

López has been an artful pitcher. In a league where everyone is trying to throw 100 mph, Lopez was able to excel by keeping the ball around the edges of the strike zone in 2020. Most notably, the right-hander’s edge rate was 46.2%, up nearly four percentage points from 2019. It helped López increase his whiff rate on pitches in the strike zone from 16.7% to 23.8%, which put him in an elite company.

As mentioned last week, The 2021 Marlins Roster will include a starting rotation filled with young arms backed up by battle-hardened veterans in the bullpen. Pitching Coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. is an experienced coach with the leadership to get his staff through a 162 games scheduled.

It has been a pleasure to see Gio Gonzalez down in Miami. Gonzalez’s signature weapon continues to be his curveball. Oddly enough, it accounts for just one-fifth of his total pitches thrown but two-fifths of his total strikeouts.

We see a clear strategic directive when implementing the curve into pitch selection. As a hardened Vet, his 756 Ks on curveballs ranks third behind only A.J. Burnett (924) and Adam Wainwright (831). Those are two well-known pitchers of the last 20 years. “Every single year, that pitch gets 12-15 miles per hour of separation from his fastball and performs better than league average in terms of weighted on-base average” (Sussman).

The key to Gonzalez’s curveball is spin mirroring. That is what makes it look “exactly like a fastball,” as the man himself told FanGraphs in 2012.

Fangraphs Interview 2012.

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