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April: What We Know & What We Don’t About the Marlins

Posted By Brendan Tobin On Apr 29 2011 @ 2:52 pm In Florida Marlins | No Comments

Since this weekend’s series over laps with the start of May, it’s time to take a look back at the Marlins opening month and figure out what we know about the Fish and what’s still needs to be answered.

What We Know About the Marlins

1. Josh Johnson is the best pitcher in the National League

You can have Roy Halladay, Tim Lincecum, Ubaldo Jimenez. They’re all studs but none of them are as dominant as Josh Johnson. In five starts this month JJ has gone [1](3-0) with an NL best 1.06ERA. The man is untouchable. He strikes out a batter per inning. He’s given up 13 hits this season, that’s right 13 hits (0.65WHIP). No other pitcher with at least five starts has allowed fewer than 20. Josh Johnson has yet to give up a before the fourth inning this season. That means a lineup goes into each game knowing they’re starting 0 for 1 on the day.

2. Larry Beinfest did his Job in fixing the bullpen

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Nunez has started the season with 7 saves 2nd in the NL

This year has been the antithesis of 2010 bullpen. Ryan Webb has been nearly flawless since his debut against the Mets on Opening Weekend. Leo Nuñez has a new found confidence in his off speed stuff to make him a much more effective pitcher. Randy Choate is sitting lefties down. Mike Dunn is a strikeout machine and Brian Sanches hadn’t given up a hit until Wednesday’s loss to the Dodgers. Edwin Rodriguez looks a lot smarter than Fredi Gonzalez with a coherent bullpen to turn to in the later innings. More than anything pitchers have roles and it’s not just all by committee. Florida comes into the month’s final series with a bullpen that boasts a 1.93ERA. The best in the big League’s

3. The Marlins need to get healthy

It’s cute that the Marlins have gotten game winning hits from Donnie Murphy, Scott Cousins, and Greg Dobbs. It’s fantastic that the bench guys are stepping up in the starters absence but let’s be honest it can’t hold up. If the Marlins do have any plans to play deep into autumn they need to get their best lineup out on the field every day. So far Hanley Ramirez, Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison have all had to miss significant time with injuries. Hanley is still trying to find his swing. Mike Stanton still can’t get through a full game and Logan Morrison was the team’s hottest hitter before hurting his “arch”. The injury bug even affected the farm teams as top prospect Matt Dominguez development was stunted by a fractured elbow. The slick fielding 3rd baseman of the future could’ve been up here sooner rather than later if he was playing every day.

What we don’t know

1. If Omar Infante Can Remain Your 2 Hitter

Know this about Omar Infante. He’s been everything and more defensively this year for the Marlins. He’s yet to record an error and gives the Marlins a much smoother operation when turning double plays. Yet his bat has been less than stellar. Other than his two clutch hits Omar is not warranting staying atop the Marlins lineup. Of the seven regulars (not counting the revolving door at third base) Infante has the fewest walks in the lineup. He is carrying a .275 OBP and isn’t presenting a lot of opportunities for the Marlins run producers. Like Edwin did with Stanton it may be time for Omar to spend some time in the bottom third of the lineup until his bat comes around.

2. If the 3-4-5 Starters Be Consistent enough to contend.

Take away one magnificent outing by Anibal Sanchez and the back end of the rotation can leave a fan on edge. Javier Vazquez continues to adjust to life without a fastball. He seems to be improving from his extra work with Randy St. Claire but Vazquez is a bit of a wildcard every time he takes the mound. Anibal Sanchez flirted with his second career not hitter two starts ago, but it’s his lone example of getting deep into games. Of the three guys in this group Sanchez seems to have the biggest upside to solidify the Marlins rotation for a good season. No player showed more improvement in 2010 and the fans want to see more of that from Sanchez throughout the year. Chris Volstad…well he’s Chris Volstad. Hope he gives you six innings and doesn’t give up three homeruns in a game and you’ll take it.

3. If the lack of power will come around.

There was a ton of focus put on the Marlins loss of Dan Uggla this offseason. Many thought that it could be supplemented by a full season of Mike Stanton, a rebound from Hanley Ramirez, and the addition of John Buck. That trio has half as many homeruns than Chris Coghlan.Most likely that will change by September but it needs to start soon. It’s no secret that Hanley and Stanton have started slow. John Buck came out with a bang with his Opening Day Grand Slam but the production has decreased immensely.  The Marlins are 11th in the National League in runs scored and 9th in slugging percentage. It’s nothing to write home about and they should be much better than this.

 
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Infante's .275 OBP doesn't cut it for a 2 hitter

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