Relive all of the ups and downs of the 2023 Miami Marlins with our Fish On First Season Review, containing detailed articles about a wide variety of players. The FOF staff analyzes the individual impact that each of them had and what it means for their future with the organization.
This installment focuses on left-handed reliever Andrew Nardi.
- July 4—placed on 15-day injured list (left triceps inflammation)
- July 25—sent on minor league rehab assignment to Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp
- August 1—activated from 15-day injured list
Season stats: 63 G/0 GS, 57.1 IP, 2.67 ERA, 3.60 FIP, 1.15 WHIP, 0.8 fWAR (age 24)
Andrew Nardi’s excellence this past season shouldn’t have come as a major shock to those who followed his minor league journey. He had a career 2.64 ERA and 3.05 FIP in the minors to earn his way to The Show in August 2022. He led all Marlins prospects in strikeout rate during that period (min. 100 IP) while frequently facing older competition.
However, Nardi’s initial cup of coffee threw most folks off his scent. He made 13 MLB relief appearances and allowed hits in 12 of them. Righties and lefties both OPS’d over 1.000 against him. He was terrible.
By the time 2023 spring training arrived, the young lefty had already put that behind him. Nardi secured an Opening Day roster spot by dominating the Grapefruit League (8.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 10 K). Just as he was seemingly settling in, he allowed three home runs during the final week of April (two to Cody Bellinger).
The real breakout began once Nardi ditched his changeup. From May 6 onward, he threw exclusively fastballs and sliders. After making that adjustment, he surrendered only one (unearned) run over his next 19 appearances. In 48 total games as a two-pitch reliever (43.2 IP), he posted an outstanding 1.85 ERA with a 32.2 K% and ranked 15th among all MLB pitchers with a 2.44 WPA, per FanGraphs.
Nardi became Skip Schumaker’s go-to guy for escaping mid-inning messes. Nardi inherited 40 baserunners this season and stranded all but five of them.
Nardi may have been outshined early in the season by A.J. Puk and then by Tanner Scott throughout the second half, but he was a massive reason why the Marlins bullpen thrived in high-leverage situations.
Future with the Marlins
To establish himself as an elite reliever, Nardi needs to get a bit better against right-handed batters. That improvement could come from refining and reincorporating his changeup, or from throwing more backdoor sliders to earn called strikes early in the count.
No reliever will be considered “untouchable” in the eyes of Miami’s incoming baseball operations head, particularly if that hire comes from outside the organization. That being said, Nardi’s performance and five remaining years of club control make him a relatively safe bet to reprise his role in the Marlins ‘pen.
Photo by Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves