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2022 MLB season preview: Miami Marlins

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

USATSI_17998363

Derek Jeter’s irreconcilable differences with the Miami Marlins led to a divorce that grabbed some rare headlines. Locked in a division with three strong teams plus the Washington Juan Sotos, Miami is an afterthought on an annual basis.

A 67-95 record last season didn’t help the cause, but there were some serious oddities about how they got there. Miami was actually 42-39 at home but 25-56 on the road. The Marlins were 3-17 in interleague play against the AL East, securing two of those three wins against the Orioles. Miami was 39-51 in the first half, despite being + 16 in run differential. The Marlins were 28-44 and -96 in run differential in the second half. By Pythagorean Win-Loss, this was more like a 72-90 team. By BaseRuns, this was a 74-88 team.

There are some positive regression signs in the metrics and the alternate standings, even though 57 games against the Mets, Braves and Phillies are daunting. Oddly enough, the Marlins were actually a respectable 35-41 against the division last season.

2022 VSiN MLB Betting Guide

Offense

The Marlins had 16 players with 219 or more plate appearances last season and only six of them posted a wRC + above 100. Two of them were traded midseason (Starling Marte and Adam Duvall). The other four are still around and will play bigger roles around a lineup that got a few additions.

The biggest is Jorge Soler, who signed a three-year deal in early March. Soler was a shell of himself to start the season in Kansas City but had a monster stint with the Braves with 14 HR in 55 games and a 132 wRC + . He struck out in less than 19% of his plate appearances, which I don’t find sustainable.

The Marlins also grabbed a nice piece in Avisail Garcia, who has been a slightly above-average hitter throughout his career and is coming off of his second-best season. Garcia makes a lot of loud contact, something that was lacking for the Marlins last year. They ranked 23rd in Hard Hit% and 24th in average exit velocity.

The other player that the Marlins acquired won’t make any waves, but he should. Jacob Stallings is an elite defensive catcher and one that will play up the strength of this Marlins team. He’ll be an outstanding receiver for a terrific starting rotation and his value will be significant. He’s close enough to a league average hitter to not be a detriment.

These additions make the team better but don’t get noticed because other NL East teams are acquiring Matt Olson, Nick Castellanos, Max Scherzer and the like. Anything that improves a team at the margins is a good thing, especially when there are high hopes for players such as Jazz Chisholm and some other holdovers.

Chisholm is the upside guy and the focal point of this team in 2022. In his first full MLB season, he posted a .248/.303/.425 slash with a .312 wOBA and a 98 wRC + . It wasn’t great, but he hit 18 homers and stole 23 bases. He’ll need to find a way to make more contact and elevate the ball a bit more, but it was a good learning experience. He started hot in April and struggled for much of the rest of the season, but he’s a valuable defensive player and his success will go hand in hand with how the Marlins perform.

It was a shame that Garrett Cooper was limited to 250 plate appearances over 71 games because he was on pace for a solid season. Cooper was one of the few Marlins with great contact-quality metrics. He only hit nine home runs because he hit way too many balls on the ground again, but he walks a lot and can carry high BABIPs with his ability to hit the ball hard. If he had the batted-ball distribution of a Jesus Aguilar, who hit more than 46% of his balls in play in the air, we’d be talking about a much different projection. Aguilar, by the way, was one of the team’s better bats with a 112 wRC + .

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