This season’s Miami Marlins roster features many of the same players from 2022. However, through two-plus months of regular season action, their results show more promise. The Marlins enter Saturday at 30-28, tied for a National League Wild Card spot, and that’s despite getting less production than anybody anticipated from faces of the franchise Sandy Alcantara and Jazz Chisholm Jr.
I wouldn’t blame fans from wanting to focus fully on the here and now, but it’s periodically worth checking in on former Fish players and contemplating how different things may have been had they remained in Miami. In alphabetical order, let’s browse through the 2022-23 offseason departures who took at least 100 plate appearances or faced at least 100 batters for last year’s Marlins.
Brian Anderson (Milwaukee Brewers)
2023 stats: .233/.329/.413, 104 wRC+, 0.8 fWAR in 55 G
The first thing that sticks out is the availability. BA was hampered by left shoulder issues for much of 2021 and 2022. Now, he’s leading the Brewers in games played. Defensively, the 30-year-old is splitting time between third base and right field (just like he did with the Fish). He’s got arguably the best throwing arm in baseball.
The Marlins would be better off right now with Anderson instead of, say, Jean Segura. Keep in mind, though, his offensive numbers are inflated by a hot start—dating back to mid-April, his bat has been well below league average.
JJ Bleday (Oakland Athletics)
2023 stats: .217/.308/.406, 104 wRC+, 0.2 fWAR in 23 G
Improvement was inevitable for Bleday. Of course, that speaks more to the severity of his 2022 struggles than it does to his current performance. As a pull-heavy lefty, he’s benefiting from MLB’s new shift restrictions (BABIP up from .216 to .240).
The former top draft pick is rounding into a run-of-the-mill platoon corner outfielder. The Marlins aren’t losing any sleep over that considering what they’ve been getting from A.J. Puk.
Richard Bleier (Boston Red Sox)
2023 stats: 5.85 ERA, 5.43 FIP, -0.2 fWAR in 19 G/0 GS
A career-low groundball rate is contributing to Bleier’s career-high earned run average. He’s currently on the injured list with left shoulder inflammation.
The Red Sox have a $3.75 million club option on him for 2024. Kinda doubt they’ll be picking that up.
Jeff Brigham (New York Mets)
2023 stats: 3.98 ERA, 5.15 FIP, -0.2 fWAR in 20 G/0 GS
Brigham has a new cutter in his arsenal. Nobody has gotten a hit against it yet. The right-hander is generating more whiffs than ever, but also getting barreled frequently (5 HR in 20.1 IP).
Lewin Díaz (Baltimore Orioles)
2023 MiLB stats: .272/.376/.491, 116 wRC+ in 51 G (Triple-A Norfolk)
The slick-fielding Díaz is raking at Triple-A, but we already knew he could do that. His International League production is right in line with what he did for the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp from 2021-2022. Perhaps worth noting, he’s walking at a 14.8% rate (his highest rate since rookie ball in 2014).
The Orioles have Ryan Mountcastle manning first base for them in the big leagues. Although Mountcastle’s bottom-line results have been replacement level so far, his batted ball quality suggests brighter days ahead. Díaz is blocked for the time being.
Elieser Hernandez (New York Mets)
Yet another arm issue for the Venezuelan right-hander. I never understood why Hernandez was deemed to have positive trade value despite being so susceptible to home runs and injuries.
Barring setbacks, Hernandez will likely make his Mets debut later this month.
Pablo López (Minnesota Twins)
2023 stats: 4.54 ERA, 3.78 FIP, 1.2 fWAR in 12 G/12 GS
López began his Twins tenure with back-to-back-to-back-to-back great outings—one of those against his former employer—leading to a four-year, $73.5 million contract extension. But since then? He has plummeted back to his career norms.
There is the potential for the 27-year-old to reach new heights. He’s throwing harder than ever (averaging 95.0 mph on his four-seamer) and using a new sweeper to register more strikeouts. On the other end of the blockbuster deal, however, Luis Arraez has been more consistently impactful.
The Marlins are missing Pablo, to be clear. There’s substantial value in eating six innings per start and intangible value in having his cheery disposition around your clubhouse.
Cody Poteet (Kansas City Royals)
2023 stats: N/A
Poteet underwent Tommy John surgery last August. The Royals signed him with the understanding that he might not pitch at all in 2023. Doesn’t seem as if he is particularly close to making it back. Nonetheless, shout out to a versatile right-hander who contributed to the Marlins over the previous two campaigns.
Miguel Rojas (Los Angeles Dodgers)
2023 stats: .209/.244/.252, 36 wRC+, -0.3 fWAR in 36 G
A 2022 midseason wrist injury sapped Rojas of his power (not that he had much in the first place). It was reasonable to count on his offense improving once fully recovered.
That has not been the case. Miggy Ro is hitting just as poorly as Jean Segura. It’s been nearly a full calendar year—114 games played—since he last homered (though he mashed a couple in Spring Training).
His shortstop defense is still sharp enough for him to fill a role on a contending Dodgers team. That being said, he wasn’t going to be the Marlins’ full-time solution at the position moving forward. Jacob Amaya, who they acquired in the Rojas trade, has a chance to be.
Cole Sulser (Arizona Diamondbacks)
2023 stats: 6.23 ERA, 9.51 FIP, -0.2 fWAR in 3 G/0 GS
Mere days after the MLB regular season began, Sulser suffered a right shoulder strain.
Luke Williams (Los Angeles Dodgers)
2023 stats: .100/.100/.100, -53 wRC+, -0.2 fWAR in 4 G
Rojas’ understudy, Williams is the playing shortstop regularly for Triple-A Oklahoma City.