By Joe Cooper @joeRantSports on May 11, 2014
The Miami Marlins have gotten off to a quick start to 2014 sitting in second place of the NL East. Their record of 20-17 has been made possible by a cumulative ERA of 3.55 ranking 13th in MLB. Surprise performances of Tom Koehler, Henderson Alvarez and Nate Eovaldi average a 2.49 ERA between the three of them in 140.1 innings logged. The offense has followed the pitching success up with scoring 164 runs, good for seventh in all of baseball.
The second-round pick in the 2007 Amateur Draft is growing into his skill-set hitting .296/.387/.599 with 11 homers. Stanton is hitting for power at an alarming rate with 10 doubles in 163 plate appearances. Not only is he swinging the bat well, but he is walking often with 22 BBs.
Catchers come at a premium and the Marlins recognize that fact. Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s three-year, million contract gives Miami some stability behind the dish while Salty continues to play close to his career averages. Above average defensively, Saltalamacchia has slightly improved from his days in Boston hitting .271./.373/.505 with 18 walks.
After posting a 3.74 ERA in 118 innings last season, Jacob Turner has struggled in 2014 with a 6.75 ERA and only 4.50 K/9. The 22-year-old has posted a negative WAR of -0.2 remaining as the only bleak part of a successful Marlins rotation. Turner is too young and talented for this trend to bog him down for much longer. When he is able to turn the corner, this Marlins team can become serious contenders in the highly competitive division.
Right-handed starting pitcher Jose Fernandez is progressing right on schedule improving on his K/9 (12.19), BB/9 (2.26) and FIP (2.13) through 51.2 innings of work. The 21-year-old Cuban native has given up only three runs in six of his eight starts. Fernandez has been unhittable against righty bats, tallying .126/.162/.232 in 27.1 innings.
Whether the Marlins are legitmate contenders this season or not, the shades of strong starting pitching and developing young bats have shown this team is built to contend in the years to come. I said last July this club would make the postseason in 2015 and they’re well within their means to make that happen. Once Turner is able to get back on his feet, there is no telling what this team could be capable of.
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