On day 6 of my 2014 MLB Season Preview Series I appraised the worth of Hanley Ramirez to the Dodgers. On day 7, I’m taking a rest. Kind of. Partly due to my need to think of a dissertation thesis, but mainly the plain depressing incarnation of this year’s Marlins squad, today’s preview comes in the form of a series of quotes, GIFs, and graphs revisiting the dumpster fire that has also been known as Miami’s 2013 season. You could label my absence of care for the Marlins as cruelly amateur – I would argue it to merely reflect their 62-100 record from a year ago, and the apathy displayed by their fans. Whatever the case, let’s just pin the blame on the truly despicable Jeffrey Loria…
- Let’s start positive. Jose Fernandez was truly spectacular in 2013, his ascension providing Miami a legitimate second star to pair with Giancarlo Stanton. On his way to posting a 4.2 WAR season, the then-aged 20 Fernandez put on a show; behind his impressive heater and devastating curve, the Cuban righty routinely made batters look silly, striking out 187 in 172.2 IP, with a 2.19 ERA to boot – good enough to capture the NL ROY award in a strong year of competition. If that weren’t enough, he also laid a strong claim towards the GIF of the year. He gets Troy Tulowitzki’s vote:
With his refreshing youth and talent, simply amazing backstory, even better home run trots, Fernandez emerged as the future of the franchise. His 2013 would prove to be one the few bright spots of Miami’s 2013 however.
- A slightly less wanted title was also scooped by a 2013 Marlin – Catcher Rob Brantly was awarded The Worst Overall Bunt by Matt Klaassen of Fangraphs for his April 9th effort against the Atlanta Braves, a 9th inning out which checked in with a mark of -.261 WPA. Anytime you can somehow get two players out while laying down a bunt in a high-leverage moment, you have to do it… #SoMarlins.
- Of those qualified for the batting title, Giancarlo Stanton unsurprisingly led the team – as he did in almost all offensive categories of performance. His mark of .249 fell .004 short of the major league average however. Just to clarify, the Marlins’ best hitter was below league average. On the plus side, Stanton still managed to launch his fair share of entertaining HRs, punctuated by this 463 ft. blast against the Phillies
- Just to quantify how bad those Marlin hitters were, Bradley Woodrum ran a very cool piece in late July last year in which he demonstrated the historical ineptitude on show at Marlins Park. Words shouldn’t be wasted when there are interactive graphics available.
- The Marlins were so bad in fact, that only the Astro’s – y’know, the team that had a payroll considerably less than Alex Rodriguez’s individual salary and will be picking 1st in the draft for the third consecutive year this summer – out-sucked them in terms of team WAR. Special S/O to Fangraphs for the excellent background provided with this graph:
Regular shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria accounted for -1.9 WAR alone, the worst single season mark for any qualified player since the somehow-still-employed-last-year Yuniesky Betancourt‘s -2.4 WAR in 2009.
- Owner Jeffrey Loria appropriately capped off his team’s 62-100 on field performance – the second-worst in franchise history – by being judged by ESPN The Magazine to be the most dishonest owner in sports, though he only displaced the Maloof family by virtue of them finally selling the Sacramento Kings. Marlins fans can only hope the trend of ‘winning’ owners leaving continues. Not that this was the worst thing to come out about Miami’s upper management…
- It emerged that Team President David Samson took leave from the club for two months of the regular season… to participate in Survivor. If this wasn’t the most embarrassing thing to transpire during the season, it’s only because of the incredible athletic performance put on by reliever Chad Qualls:
- I’ll stop there for the sake of the Marlins fans. Any Marlins fans. Fans of baseball. Evidently they were just as indifferent towards their team’s third consecutive last place finish as I was to writing properly, as Miami ranked last in attendance once again. Over 81 games, they pulled in just 1,586,322 people, an average of 19,584 per game. In contrast, the NL-leading Dodgers drew 3,743,527 for their home games, or 46,216 per game – and thats with the i-5 traffic.
Miami has largely done nothing to improve their fortunes for the upcoming season during the winter; signing Jarrod Saltalamacchia does not constitute an upgrade, nor Carlos Marmol, I’m afraid Mr. Loria. As they are annoyingly wont to do however, the Marlins have acquired some young talent in the process of assembling a pu pu platter at the major league level, a promising group including Marcell Ozuna, Jake Marisnick, Justin Nicolino and Christian Yelich. With another season of struggle on the cards, all should see significant playing time for the big club this year, with Yelich in particular tabbed as a future star.
Naturally, he’ll probably be replacing Giancarlo Stanton in RF when he gets traded mid-season. #SoMarlins.