The Runner Sports

StarFish: A Look At The Two Miami Marlins In The 2014 All-Star Game

The first half of the 2014 season has seen quite a few ups and downs for the Miami Marlins. Jose Fernandez’s season (and a half) ending injury was definitely the lowest of the downs, but the team has had many other struggles at the plate, on the mound, with the glove, and in the manager’s office. There also have been many highlights in the first half, not the least of which was hearing that two Marlins players would be representing the team in Minnesota for the All-Star Game.

Giancarlo Stanton’s appearance in the game was a given, and although he missed out on starting in the outfield, he was still in the starting lineup as the Designated Hitter. For a while, it seemed as though he’d be the only Fish at the game, but with a flurry of moves made by the managers due to pitchers pitching on Sunday and players getting injured, pitcher Henderson Alvarez was also named to the team.

Giancarlo has had a monster first half despite a rough slump to end it. His slash line is a monster .295/.395/.538 with 21 home runs, 63 RBI, and 61 runs. His OBP and slugging are both 4th best in the National League, and he leads the league in home runs and RBI. He’s also 2nd in the league in base on balls. Through 94 games played, he has already put up 3.8 fWAR, good enough to already be the second best season of his career (5.6 in 2012). Giancarlo is primed for a strong second half of the season, especially if the players around him continue where they left off. Casey McGehee has been an excellent hitter right behind Stanton, but his advanced metrics say that he’s due for quite a bit of regression. If McGehee can somehow continue his incredible comeback season, pitchers will have to keep pitching to Stanton, giving him more chances to drive the ball. With Christian Yelich off the disabled list and starting to hit much better, Stanton should also see quite a few chances to drive him in. Marlins manager Mike Redmond will definitely need to rethink the number 2 spot in the order for the second half though, because the recent mix of Donovan Solano (.278 OBP) and Adeiny Hechavarria (.302 OBP) likely won’t cut it. Giancarlo’s BABIP sits at .364, which would normally be a sign for regression, but his career BABIP is .332 and he hits the ball so much harder than a normal human being does, he’s likely to keep that up.

Henderson Alvarez was able to step into the huge shoes left by Jose Fernandez’s departure. At the time of his injury, many Marlins fans thought Nathan Eovaldi would be the one to step into to “ace” role. While Eovaldi has held his own (3.61 ERA, 3.94 xFIP), it’s Alvarez who has become the staff ace. At the break, Alvarez owns a 2.63 ERA, good for 4th best in the league, with a 3.57 xFIP. He strikes out 5.48 batters per 9 innings, walking only 1.65 per 9. He has a 54.4% ground ball rate, and has only given up 7 home runs over 120 innings pitched (7.6 HR/FB). Alvarez has improved in almost every category this year when compared to his career averages. If anything, his BABIP against (.312) is a few points higher than his career average of .291, so he may be poised for an even more impressive second half. He has 3 complete game shut outs already, and has become the stopper for Marlins losing streaks. Unfortunately, he suffered through a rough few innings on Sunday to end the half, but he should easily be able to put that behind him and come out stronger and better for the all important second half.

Officially, the Miami Marlins are currently at just under 1% odds to make the playoffs (0.9%) however, this is baseball and everyone knows stranger things have happened. If the Fish are to make any kind of noise in the second half, they’ll need to string together quite a few victories. Henderson Alvarez and Giancarlo Stanton are both good enough to carry a team into the playoffs. The problem with the Marlins lies in the supporting players and the leadership. Will the front office continue to make moves like signing Kevin Gregg? Will manager Mike Redmond continue to make moves like putting Kevin Gregg into a one run game in the 8th inning? The Marlins have a chance to be good and to be a memorable team. After losing 100 games last season, this season is probably already being looked at as a success. Will the Marlins be satisfied with being successful, or will they strive to be extraordinary?

Author: David Marcillo

David is an English teacher in Los Angeles who spends far too much time reading, thinking, and writing about baseball. He writes about real baseball here at The Runner Sports with a heavy Miami Marlins bias. He also writes about fake baseball and is in charge of the Closer Report over at Fantasy Pros.

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