Before I get into this series preview of the Miami Marlins, take this Sporcle quiz. All you have to do is name the 2018 Opening Day roster of the Marlins. Oh, and JT Realmuto, Wei-Yin Chen, Dan Straily, and Martin Prado all opened the season on the disabled list. Good luck!
How did you do?
I got six, and I made the quiz.
The Marlins weren’t just supposed to be bad this year. They were supposed to be so bad that the very moral fabric of America’s pastime was in jeopardy, and it was all Derek Jeter’s fault. The Marlins made a mockery of the game by dumping all the very expensive assets the previous ownership had acquired. If they weren’t going to tank their way to a championship, they would at least be saving money for their grotesquely wealthy ownership group.
It’s as if they were reenacting the plot from Major League, but instead of being so bad they have to move to Miami, they’re so bad they have to move from Miami.
The Marlins sold all their assets for a theoretical championship in the future but asked their fans to spend real money to watch a bad baseball team in the present. It worked for the Cubs and it worked for the Astros, so why wouldn’t it work for Miami?
But the problem with tanking now is that everyone is doing it.
Not only do they not have the worst record in the majors, they don’t have the worst record in the National League. The Reds, Royals, White Sox, and Orioles all have worse records than the Marlins. That could all change by the end of the season, and it’s not as if the Marlins have a good record. They’re 19 games under .500 and still on pace to lose over 100 games.
I meant for that part about the Marlins threatening the moral fabric of baseball to be facetious, but man, there are a lot of bad teams.
It’s been hard to remember since the Giants haven’t played a sub-.500 team since May 16 when they finished a series against the Reds. Before that, it was May 2 when they played the Padres. The Giants are coming off one of their toughest stretches of the season, so they deserved a four-game series against a team so bad they nearly got no-hit by the Padres.
Hitter to Watch
If the Marlins Death Fog is to return in full-force with them winning another World Series despite not winning a division title, they’ll need Brian Anderson to do it. Anderson is a 2014 third-round selection from the previous regime, and he’s 25-years-old so they have about four years to capitalize. In about two-thirds of a season’s worth of plate appearances, he’s hit .293/.367/.409 with a 115 wRC+. He’s been worth 1.5 fWAR this season, so he’s one of the few Marlins regulars who is a legitimately above average player.
Also, the Baseball Prospectus Annual lists old friends Adam Duvall and Matthew Duffy as comparables. I’m like 90% sure they don’t mean the other Matt Duffy.
Pitcher to Watch
Over the offseason, the Marlins acquired Caleb Smith from the Yankees, and no, he was not one of the prospects included in the Giancarlo Stanton trade. The Marlins got him for international signing bonus money, so if you don’t remember this trade, that’s why.
Smith, though, has been the Marlin’s most valuable pitcher. In 65.2 innings, he’s put together a 3.70 ERA with a 3.50 DRA. He’s striking out 10.8 batters per nine innings and suppressing home runs at an above average rate. There are some red flags including his 4.1 BB/9 and his NL-lowest 28.8% ground ball rate. Justin Verlander has a similar ground ball rate, so as long as he keeps striking hitters out he can be successful.
The Giants are the clear favorites in a series for once. They should win at least three out of four if not sweep the series. The problem with being the clear favorites is that it will be even more disappointing if they lose the series. It would be very Giants of them to lose this series after beating Max Scherzer and the Nationals, but I don’t think that will happen. I think they’ll take three out of four.