The unsung heroes who got Miami back to October

These role players came out of the shadows to provide the spark that the Marlins needed to stay in playoff contention.

These four players may not have the same name value as Sandy Alcantara or Luis Arraez, but everybody on the Miami Marlins roster made an impact to get the team back in the postseason. Had they not embraced their roles and stepped up in clutch situations, the Marlins would be beginning their offseason instead of preparing for the NL Wild Card Series.

Garrett Hampson: 98 G, .275 AVG, .726 OPS, played six different positions, 1.2 bWAR

When signed as a free agent back in December, Hampson was coming off a rough 2022 season, posting a career-low .594 OPS, thus ending his five-year tenure with the Rockies. No wonder that the Marlins were able to get him on a minor league deal. Despite missing out on the Opening Day roster, he proved to be ultimate utilityman for Miami during the 2023 season

Hampson has proven his worth and then some with his position flexibility and his improved bat. He posted career highs in batting average, OPS, bWAR, and wRC+ (50 points higher than in 2022).

The Marlins signed big, established names in free agency last winter like Johnny Cueto, Yuli Gurriel and Jean Segura. Who could’ve imagine that Hampson would provide more wins above replacement than any of them?! He deserves his flowers.

JT Chargois: 46 G/5 GS, 42.1 IP, 3.61 ERA, 0.8 bWAR

Chargois, a righty reliever, had a strong season in 2022 despite missing most of the season with left oblique tightness and achieved a 2.42 ERA in a little over 22 innings. He was sent to Miami from the Tampa Bay Rays—a very familiar Marlins trade partner—on November 15 in a deal that also brought (who we will discuss later).

The beginning of the 2023 season looked familiar as Chargois pitched quality innings as a setup man before a right oblique strain sidelined the righty for more than a month.

Late in the season amid the Marlins’ challenges in the pitching rotation, Skip Schumaker chose to go with Chargois as an opener for bullpen games. He had only made three previous starts in his career (all in 2022), but five different times, the 32-year-old reliever was tasked with setting the tone for these all-important games with playoff implications. As a starter this season, Chargois held his opponents scoreless (4.1 IP).

Chargois prevented earned runs in 35 out of 46 games this season. He finished with a 3.80 FIP—his lowest since his rookie season—thanks to an ability to prevent homers.

JT was never supposed to be the number one guy for the Marlins out of the ‘pen; nevertheless, he performed very well when his number was called. Showing a lot of versatility, Chargois did his part to get Miami back to the playoffs.

Jonathan Davis: 34 G, .244 AVG, .685 OPS

If there was a player this season who brought the largest amount of joy in the shortest amount of time it would be Davis. Most people may not have known who Davis was and I wouldn’t blame you as his career high in games played was 64 back in 2021 (TOR & NYY). Shortly after Jazz Chisholm Jr. suffered a turf toe injury, Davis was traded from Detroit to Miami on May 22 for former fifth-round pick Brady Allen.

Davis jumped on the scene in his first seven games with Miami posting a slash line of .333/.407/.542 while providing serviceable defense in that span. Of course, that line is not sustainable and Davis fell back down to Earth, still posting a respectable slash line for June in what was a 4th outfielder role for the Marlins.

Davis became a fan favorite to the Marlins community in record time because of his great attitude, big smile…and the fact that the Marlins won games whenever he was in the lineup (20-7 record). Sadly, Davis sustained a right knee injury on July 4 when attempting a diving play. He needed to be carted out of the field and required meniscus surgery, thus ending his season.

Davis has remained part of the organization while rehabbing in Miami, providing a positive presence in the clubhouse for home games. He’s far enough along with his recovery that the Marlins should feel comfortable tendering him a contract for 2024 and reap the benefits of having him around the organization for a full season.

Xavier Edwards: 30 G, .291 AVG, .653 OPS

Joining the Marlins last November along with the aforementioned Chargois, Edwards spent most of 2023 dominating at AAA. He then became a sparkplug to push Miami over the playoff hill.

The former first-round draft pick made his ML debut on May 2 while Avisaíl García was placed on the IL and Joey Wendle was nearing a return from his own injury. In a minimal amount of at-bats (21), Edwards posted an interesting slash line of .381/.381/.429. It was clear that would not be the last we saw of X this year.

Entering September, he was chosen to fill one of the extra roster spots. Edwards initially did not have a clear role, but first Jorge Soler suffered an oblique strain, then eventual NL batting champ Luis Arraez sprained his ankle. Edwards had large shoes to fill and he was up to it.

Notable individual performances for Edwards include his game-winning RBI on September 13 and his three-hit game on September 24. What he did in the closing weeks of the season, particularly as a bunter and baserunner, will not go unnoticed and Fish On First projects him to earn a spot on the playoff roster.

Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

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