4 Fish who are making All-Star cases

Luis Arraez, Jorge Soler and other Marlins have been among the best players at their respective positions this season.

Fan voting is underway for the 2023 MLB All-Star Game. The Miami Marlins had three representatives last year and they have improved their roster since then, sitting at 37-29 entering Monday.

Miami’s 2022 All-Stars—Sandy Alcantara, Garrett Cooper and Jazz Chisholm Jr.—have each taken steps back, but several of their teammates have stepped up in their place. The fans are taking notice.

Let’s go through the cases that four key Marlins players have made for themselves so far.

Jorge Soler

When you think of bounce-back seasons, the first player you think of is Cuban slugger Jorge Soler. This season, Soler is slashing .258/.346/.559/.905 with 19 home runs, 38 RBIs, and a 144 wRC+ this season. Soler is currently tied for second with Aaron Judge in home runs, but could be first very soon as both Judge and Pete Alonso (the league leader in homers) currently find themselves on the IL.

The biggest factor for Soler this season has been health. He has yet to be put on the IL this season, only taking a couple days rest due to a sore thumb. He has played 46 games as a DH this season against 14 games in right field to help him deal with the back issues that interrupted his 2022 campaign.

Soler has also mentioned a couple times that he feels like he is being more patient at the plate and is being able to take more walks this season. Going from a 29.4% strikeout rate in 2022 to a 25.0% strikeout rate in 2023 is a very nice improvement that has helped out his batting average and overall his results in general this season.

What stands out with Soler is the fact that not only he leads the NL in homers, but he is on a Marlins team that is having a lot of success this season, and a lot of that success is thanks to Soler and being one of the most clutch hitters in baseball.

Despite his success, Soler is unlikely to be a fan-elected starter. He is listed as a DH just like J.D. Martinez (Dodgers), who is having a very good season, and Andrew McCutchen (Pirates), who is having his own huge bounce-back season. Bryce Harper (Phillies) is off to a hot start and always receives strong fan support.

Martinez, Harper and Travis d’Arnaud (Braves) are currently ahead of Soler in the voting.

Luis Arráez

If there is a player on the Marlins who is a lock to get into the All-Star Hame, it is Luis Arráez. The new Marlin is slashing .397/.447/.485/.931 with 30 RBIs and a 158 wRC+ through 61 games played this season. Arráez leads the league in batting average and nobody else is even close.

When the Marlins traded for Arráez, he already had the reputation for being an elite contact hitter, but he’s gotten even better at that. He’s striking out at a 5.1% rate, which is the lowest in the league.

A .415 BABIP is unsustainable, but Arráez has historically demonstrated the ability to find open spaces between fielders. His expected batting average is still very impressive at .332 (99th percentile among MLB qualifiers, per Statcast).

Arráez does have some competition on the ballot such as Ozzie Albies (Braves) and Nolan Gorman (Cardinals). However, his chase for .400 has captured the nation’s attention and will continue to earn him votes from those outside of the Marlins fanbase.

Arráez is deservedly the number one NL second baseman in the voting at the moment. If for whatever reason he doesn’t hold onto his lead, he is still a lock to go to Seattle as a reserve.

Bryan De La Cruz

One of the streakiest players in baseball seems to have finally found consistency. In the month of May, Bryan De La Cruz slashed .337/.398/.541/.939 with five home runs and 14 RBIs. He is continuing to do well in June, slashing .289/.341/.474/.815 with one home run and 12 RBIs. Many had DLC as a breakout player candidate entering the season and he is proving them right.

Although De La Cruz is establishing himself as an everyday starter, his late-April slump is holding down his overall numbers too much for him to overtake the NL’s other top outfielders.

Andrew Nardi

It’s difficult for any non-closing relief pitcher to be recognized as an All-Star. After a horrid beginning to his MLB career, Nardi now has a 2.48 ERA, 3.75 FIP, 10.55 K/9, and 2.79 BB/9 and is looking like one of the top lefty relievers in the National League. He also leads the NL with 32 appearances out of the bullpen.

Nardi needs to be pretty much perfect for the next month to be seriously in the mix. Even then, his selection would probably rely on another pitcher’s injury or personal situation.

Featured image by Danis Sosa/Fish On First

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