Archive for Marlins

Have We Lost Our Appreciation for No-Hitters?

There are a handful of reasons why Edinson Volquez‘s no-hitter didn’t get a ton of attention. It happened on a weekend day in one of baseball’s least engaged markets (Miami). The pitcher involved was a journeyman in the midst of another just okay season. And as for making history and grabbing headlines, this particular Saturday wasn’t ideal, as one the greatest players of all time, Albert Pujols, was busy hitting a grand slam to record his 600th homer. So, yes, there were a lot of factors working against extensive coverage of this particular no-hitter. But it’s also possible that the no-hitter itself has lost a little bit of its cachet.

Some have lamented that Pujols’s 600th homer didn’t net the attention it should have garnered, given the rarity of such an event. It has actually been a while since a modern player — whether Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Sammy Sosa, or Jim Thome — hit their 600th home runs, and we might not see another player get there for quite some time. The home-run barrage of the 90s and early 2000s might have dampened the enthusiasm for career accomplishments like a 500th or 600th homer. As for a no-hitter, it’s more of a single-game oddity and, in terms of rarity, comes nowhere close to a big career home-run threshold. But Scooter Gennett‘s four-homer game received a lot of attention, and that’s a single-game exploit, as well. (Although, in fairness, it’s probably closer to a perfect game in terms of frequency.) Whatever the case, it appears as though interest in the no-hitter has decreased and it’s quite possible that the volume of them over the last half-decade is the reason why.

From 2012 to -15, there were 20 no-hitters, an average of five per year and the greatest number over any four-year stretch in the last century. Here are the number of no-hitters by season over the past 50 years.

The past decade has produced four of the top 10 individual seasons for no hitters out of the last 50 years, and every single year of the past decade has seen at least three no-nos. In looking at things another way, let’s go back even further, and look at the period of time it took to get to the 20 no-hitters that we saw from 2012 to -15.

The Eras of No-Hitters
No-Hitters Number of Years
1915-1923 23 9
1924-1946 20 23
1947-1957 20 11
1958-1966 21 9
1967-1971 21 5
1972-1978 21 7
1979-1990 20 12
1991-2000 21 10
2001-2011 22 11
2012-2015 20 4

We get sort of close to the present rate in 1968 — a season literally known as the Year of the Pitcher — but otherwise the present is unrivaled by this standard. Perhaps that’s why most of us didn’t even notice we were going through the longest no-hitter drought in more than a decade when it was two seasons between Randy Johnson and Anibal Sanchez no-nos between 2004 and 2006. To find another drought longer, you have to go back to 1988 to 1990, when Randy Johnson ended a drought begun by Tom Browning.

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Another Marcell Ozuna Breakout

Entering the 2017 season, Marcell Ozuna had been a roughly average offensive player over the course of his career and slightly better than that in the field. Per 600 plate appearances, that works out to something close to a three-win player. This year, Ozuna looks like he might reach 3.0 WAR by the All-Star break. He’s getting on base nearly 40% of the time and has powered up with 14 homers just a third of the way through the season. His switch from center field to left field doesn’t seem to have hurt his value.

There’s talk that Ozuna, whose salary is likely to increase through arbitration, could be a trade target. With two-plus seasons left of team control, it certainly looks like Ozuna is breaking out. That said, we’ve also seen this show before. Is this somehow different?

Back in 2014, Ozuna broke out for the first time. After a half-season of playing time the year before, Ozuna hit .269/.317/.455 and with good numbers in center field. The result: a four-win campaign. The following year, Ozuna was pretty close to average for a while, then slumped badly enough for the Marlins to send him to the minors and prevent him from becoming a super-2 arbitration player. Last year, Ozuna recorded solid numbers, hitting .266/.321/.452 and essentially matching his 2014 campaign. Unfortunately for Ozuna, the surge in offense over the last few seasons meant that his 116 wRC+ in 2014 was now just 105 last year. While hitting 5% better than average last year might not seem that great, we should remember that Ozuna broke out last year, too.

On May 20 of last season, I wrote a piece asking, “Is Marcell Ozuna Breaking Out?” At the time, Ozuna was hitting a lot like he is right now. Good power with a high BABIP has been Ozuna’s path to productive performance. Here are some relevant stats on Ozuna for this season and last season:

Marcell Ozuna Breakout
HR/PA BB% K% BABIP BA OBP SLG ISO wRC+
On May 20, 2016 4.9% 6.7% 22.6% .352 .301 .348 .529 .229 133
On June 5, 2017 5.8% 9.6% 20.8% .373 .329 .392 .569 .241 153

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Giancarlo Stanton Is Changing

When Giancarlo Stanton got to the big leagues in 2010, he became the modern-day symbol of the hulking slugger. At 6-foot-6 and 245 pounds, he’s a gigantic human being, and he’s used that strength to hit the baseball like no one else. When he did hit the baseball, anyway. As part of the natural trade-off for his legendary power, Stanton also ran top-of-the-scale strikeout rates. From his debut through 2016, he struck out in 29% of his plate appearances, ranking behind only Chris Davis, Pedro Alvarez, and Mark Reynolds among regulars during that stretch.

The fact that he ranked behind only Jose Bautista in ISO allowed him to remain productive even with the strikeouts, and combined with a lot of walks and regularly high BABIPs, Stanton’s 141 wRC+ from 2010-2016 ranks 7th best in baseball. Stanton was a living example of the ability for elite power to offset contact problems.

But then, last year, that delicate balance seemed to break down. For about a month beginning in mid-May, Stanton struck out in 37 of 80 plate appearances, managing just one home run in the process. He hit .114/.215/.200 during that stretch, and people started openly wondering what happened to the game’s preeminent slugger. Had Stanton’s contact issues finally become too severe? Had the league finally figured him out?

Well, if pitchers had made an adjustment to neutralize the game’s most devastating ball-striker, Stanton apparently decided to adjust himself. And since that miserable month of flailing at everything, he’s become a pretty different hitter than he’d been previously.

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Baseball’s Toughest (and Easiest) Schedules So Far

When you look up and see that the Athletics are in the midst of a two-game mid-week series against the Marlins in late May, you might suspect that the major-league baseball schedule is simply an exercise in randomness. At this point in the campaign, that’s actually sort of the case. The combination of interleague play and the random vagaries of an early-season schedule conspire to mean that your favorite team hasn’t had the same schedule as your least favorite team. Let’s try to put a number on that disparity.

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Which Team Has MLB’s Best Double-Play Combo?

These days, we’re blessed with a number of amazing young shortstops. Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, and Corey Seager, for example, are already among baseball’s top players. Manny Machado is a shortstop who just accidentally plays third base. All of them are younger than 25.

Second base isn’t as notable for its youth. Last year, however, second basemen recorded one of the top collective offensive lines at the position in the history of the game. Good job, second basemen.

So both positions are experiencing a bit of a renaissance at the moment. This led me to wonder which teams might be benefiting most from that renaissance. It’s rare that teams can keep a second baseman and shortstop together long enough to form a lasting and effective double-play combo. Right now, MLB has some pretty great ones. But which is the greatest — particularly, on the defensive side of thing? Let’s explore.

First, we want to know who has played together for awhile. Since the start of the 2015 season, 21 players have played at least 200 games as a shortstop, and 23 have done the same at second base. Cross-referencing them and weeding out the players who have played for multiple teams, we get the following list:

Teams with 2B & SS with 200+ G, 2015-2017
Team Second Baseman G Shortstop G
BAL Jonathan Schoop 281 J.J. Hardy 264
BOS Dustin Pedroia 279 Xander Bogaerts 346
CLE Jason Kipnis 297 Francisco Lindor 290
DET Ian Kinsler 335 Jose Iglesias 279
HOU Jose Altuve 338 Carlos Correa 288
MIA Dee Gordon 257 Adeiny Hechavarria 288
PHI Cesar Hernandez 270 Freddy Galvis 339
SF Joe Panik 257 Brandon Crawford 315
TEX Rougned Odor 300 Elvis Andrus 347

That’s a pretty good list. There are some tough omissions here. The most notable is the Angels, as Andrelton Simmons hasn’t been with them long enough to meet our bar here. Given Johnny Giavotella‘s defensive contributions, however, we can guess that the combo here would be quite one-sided. Also excluded are teams with new double-play combos, like the Dodgers and Mariners. Not only are the Logan Forsythe-Corey Seager and Robinson CanoJean Segura combos new this season, but thanks to injuries they haven’t even played together much this season. Cano-Segura has only happened 22 times this season, and Forsythe-Seager only 10 times.

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What Happens the Game After a Marathon Extra-Inning Game?

Last Thursday, baseball got weird and the Mets and Marlins played past midnight. After Travis d’Arnaud hit the go-ahead homer in the 16th, the catcher slowly trotted around the bases, admitting afterwards that he needed the invigorating effects of that moment just to complete the task. “The emotions of the home run helped lift my legs a little bit,” he said to James Wagner after the game regarding his tired knees. After the dust had settled and all the exhausted quotes were collected, though, the teams had to play another game later that day. What sort of effect would the marathon game have on that game?

Intuitively, you might expect the teams to have trouble scoring runs the next day. Tired legs, tired minds, tired bats, you’d think. Turns out that instinct is accurate… sort of.

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Watch: The Five Craziest Opening Day Games

In honor of Opening Day 2017, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at the five craziest Opening Day games (or home openers), as defined by swings in win expectancy. So we did, in this video we just posted at our Facebook page! Happy baseball!

Thanks to Sean Dolinar for his research assistance.


The Marlins Assembled a Dynamite Bullpen

It’s easy to think of what could have been. Bullpen depth is all the rage these days among contenders, so Jeffrey Loria tried to get in on the action by making an aggressive pursuit of Kenley Jansen. A last-minute change of heart ultimately took Jansen back to Los Angeles, so the Marlins were left without a shutdown closer. And then there was last summer’s misguided trade for Andrew Cashner that robbed the Marlins of — among other players — Carter Capps. Capps is healthy now, still throwing the way he threw, and there’s nobody else quite like him. Jansen and Capps — those are two sexy names. The Marlins have neither.

So I’m not here to say the Marlins have done everything right. I’m not here to say they have baseball’s best bullpen. You don’t draw big bold headlines by signing Brad Ziegler and Junichi Tazawa. Yet, wouldn’t you know it, but the team has sort of succeeded in accomplishing its goal. Although by name value alone the Marlins relievers are something less than a super-group, there’s an awful lot to like here; all that will matter is performance, and this unit ought to perform.

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Turning Christian Yelich Into Joey Votto

I’m sure you’ve noticed that a frequent theme around here has been hitters changing their approaches. An increasingly popular idea has been to generate more lift, either by making mechanical changes, or by at least changing which pitches a hitter looks to swing at. I don’t know if we’re in the early stages of a hitting revolution, but the anecdotal evidence is plentiful. We should assume that the information era, as it were, was always going to come with its consequences.

You know about a lot of the swing-changers to this point. Even some years ago, there were Josh Donaldson and J.D. Martinez. Ryan Zimmerman has been working with Daniel Murphy as part of his own attempt to put more batted balls in the air. Zimmerman is a case of a guy looking to capitalize on encouraging exit velocity. I’ve recently written about how Eric Hosmer could blossom, if only he could get the ball off the ground. It’s fun, especially in early March, to try to figure out which hitters might benefit from finding the air more often. But let’s not beat around the bush. Christian Yelich. Christian Yelich should be the first name on any such list.

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What Teams Are Stuck In Between?

To preview MLB spring training, Tyler Kepner examined the competitive “window” status — that is, the realistic possibility for contention — of all 30 major-league clubs earlier this month for the New York Times. Kepner employed four logical window designations: closed, open, closing and opening.

I think reasonable people can mostly agree that the Cubs’ window of contention is open, and the White Sox’ window is closed. The Royals’ is perhaps closing, and the Braves’ is opening (if not in 2017, then soon). While we will not agree on every status, it’s an interesting exercise.

Windows of contention are an interesting concept, particularly in an era of two Wild Cards in each league. How do teams balance the future and present? How do clubs play a so-so hand knowing the unpredictability of the game? Few teams are able to sustain long windows of contention. The Braves of the 1990s and early 2000s and the Cardinals of the 21st century have done it as well as any team in the in the Wild Card era.

It’s also easier to operate if you suspect your window is either completely open or closed. If you’re the Cubs and Indians last deadline, you’re willing to trade significant young assets for impact relief help. If you suspect your window is closed, like the White Sox, you’re willing to deal assets like Chris Sale and Adam Eaton. There’s a clarity in decision-making, in creating a strategy and plan to implement.

Said Texas Rangers GM Jon Daniels to FanGraphs’ David Laurila on charting a course:

“Something our management team has talked about a lot is the mistake we made our first year here, in 2006. We were caught in the middle. We convinced ourselves that if A, B, and C went right, we had a chance to win, and I think you can make the case that, for any team, it’s not a sustainable strategy.”

Being caught in the middle is the most difficult position for a club. Consider, for instance, a team with some relatively young stars at the major-league level. The front office thought this core of players would form the foundation of a contending team, but it’s not surrounded with the requisite depth, prospects or resources to realistically contend and sustain. The White Sox entered the season in that position. In the meantime, they’ve chosen a course. The Angels, Diamondbacks, Marlins, and Twins could all face difficult decisions in choosing paths in the not-too-distant future.

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An Exploration of the Longest Home Run of 2016

Eno took some time on Wednesday to talk about last season’s unluckiest changeup. Today, we’re going to talk about a changeup that wasn’t unlucky so much as it was woefully misplaced. It was a first-pitch changeup that was as middle-middle as one can be.

That’s where the title comes in. Let’s roll the film.

You may remember this dinger from a recent article here about Giancarlo Stanton. Statcast says it was the longest blast of the year, at a staggering 504.35 feet. It’s pretty easy to understand how this happened.

Three variables are at work:

  1. Giancarlo Stanton is more machine than man, a T-800 who warped back in time and stole a baseball bat from an innocent bystander instead of boots and a leather jacket.
  2. Coors Field is the Cape Canaveral of baseball.
  3. Chad Bettis missed his spot with a changeup pretty badly.

I don’t need explain the first point very much. You know all about Giancarlo Stanton and what he’s capable of doing. You’ve seen him lay waste to baseballs. His muscles are made of steel rebar. He’s been doing this for years, and if we’re lucky, he’ll do it for a while longer.

I also don’t need to explain point No. 2 very much. Coors is in Denver, and the 20th row of seats in the upper deck at Coors is exactly a mile above sea level. That means the air is thin, which means the ball flies further. This is good for guys like Stanton and bad for anybody who stands on the pitcher’s mound. Unfortunately, that includes Bettis.

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Last Year’s Unluckiest Changeup

In baseball, luck is a tricky concept. In some cases, it’s used to describe an event that’s within the normal distribution of outcomes but far from the mean. In other cases, what we call luck might actually be the first signs of an outlying skill for which we simply lack a sufficiently large sample to identify.

We’ve developed a new understanding on one kind of luck in recent years — namely, the sort that occurs with a batted ball. With Statcast data, we can look at the shape and size of a ball in play and try to decide what the batter “deserved” from that sort of ball in play. Then we compare it to actual outcomes. The difference between the observed and expected outcome is luck.

What if you want to look at a luck on a specific pitch type, though? How would you do it? You could look at the results on the pitch and basically use the Statcast-type process from the other side of the ball. What sorts of balls in play did that pitch produce, and what sort of results should those balls in play have produced? The problem with that approach is that you’re slicing a pitcher’s repertoire into small samples when you start talking about balls in play off a specific pitch. Even David Price, for example — who led the majors in innings last year — allowed fewer than 300 balls in play on his most frequently thrown pitch, the fastball. Secondary pitches are, almost by definition, thrown much less often. Variance isn’t the exception in such cases, but the rule.

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The Marlins Have (Almost) Never Been Able to Frame

Over the course of their admittedly limited franchise history, the Marlins have had a catcher win a Gold Glove Award three times. The first winner was Charles Johnson in 1995, a season in which, according to Baseball Prospectus, he was one of the less-valuable defensive catchers in the game. Johnson then won again in 1996, and BP ranks his defensive value 96th out of 100 that year. And then Johnson won again in 1997, with BP ranking his defensive value 95th out of 96. That would be worst, were it not for the flabbergastingly-bad Kirt Manwaring.

This isn’t to say anything about the voters themselves. This was back when the Gold Gloves were among the least scientific awards in existence, and Johnson, to his credit, was pretty damn good at blocking and throwing. Those are a catcher’s most conspicuous skills, and Johnson was fantastic at preventing those extra bases. His statistical downfall is that he rates as having been a lousy receiver. If it’s any comfort to him, that’s kind of been an organizational problem.

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Is Jeffrey Loria’s Marlins Sale the Most Profitable Ever?

Five years ago, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres were sold to new owners, both partially spurred on by messy divorces. Since that time, there’s been just one change in Major League Baseball ownership, when John Staunton took control of the Seattle Mariners last season as Nintendo stepped aside. While we don’t know for sure when the next sale will be, there are rumors that Jeffrey Loria could sell the Miami Marlins for $1.6 billion, a massive increase over the 2002 sale price of $158.5 million and more than double Forbes’ current estimate of value. Loria doesn’t have a great reputation as a baseball owner, and he is absolutely going to cash in, but where would this sale rank in MLB history?

Including a potential Marlins sale, there have been by my count, 33 major transfers in ownership over the last 30 years. In taking a look at previous sales, we can compare them to Loria’s potential sale and determine how he did. In terms of a straight profit with sale price minus purchase price, Loria’s is big, but not bigger than Frank McCourt’s when he sold the Dodgers. The graph below shows the 33 sales.

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Who Could Drop Their Arm Slot for More Success?

Yesterday, we identified Jeremy Jeffress as a pitcher who benefited greatly from dropping his arm slot, adding more sink and fade to his two-seamer. The idea was that his four-seamer was straight and possessed below-average spin, so moving from that pitch to a sinker, while dropping the slot, gave him a better foundational fastball. There’s a roadmap there. Let’s follow it.

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Top 13 Prospects: Miami Marlins

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the Miami Marlins farm system. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as from my own observations. The KATOH statistical projections, probable-outcome graphs, and (further down) Mahalanobis comps have been provided by Chris Mitchell. For more information on thes 20-80 scouting scale by which all of my prospect content is governed you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this. -Eric Longenhagen

The KATOH projection system uses minor-league data and Baseball America prospect rankings to forecast future performance in the major leagues. For each player, KATOH produces a WAR forecast for his first six years in the major leagues. There are drawbacks to scouting the stat line, so take these projections with a grain of salt. Due to their purely objective nature, the projections here can be useful in identifying prospects who might be overlooked or overrated. Due to sample-size concerns, only players with at least 200 minor-league plate appearances or batters faced last season have received projections. -Chris Mitchell

Other Lists
NL West (ARI, COL, LAD, SD, SF)
AL Central (CHW, CLE, DET, KC, MIN)
NL Central (CHC, CIN, PIT, MIL, StL)
NL East (ATL, MIA, NYM, PHI, WAS)
AL East (BAL, BOSNYY, TB, TOR)

Marlins Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Braxton Garrett 19 R LHP 2019 55
2 Brian Anderson 23 AA 3B 2017 45
3 Tyler Kolek 21 A RHP 2020 45
4 Thomas Jones 19 R OF 2021 45
5 Edward Cabrera 18 R RHP 2021 45
6 Dillon Peters 24 AA LHP 2018 40
7 Jarlin Garcia 24 AA LHP 2017 40
8 Isael Soto 20 A RF 2019 40
9 J.T. Riddle 25 AAA SS 2017 40
10 Cody Poteet 22 A RHP 2019 40
11 Stone Garrett 21 A OF 2019 40
12 Yefri Perez 25 MLB UTIL 2017 40
13 Drew Steckenrider 26 AAA RHP 2017 40

55 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Florence HS (AL)
Age 19 Height 6’3 Weight 190 Bat/Throw L/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command
50/50 55/60 40/55 45/60

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
None. Didn’t pitch during season after signing.

Scouting Report
I had some issues with the effort in Garrett’s delivery during his summer showcase appearances and didn’t think he got out over his front side consistently. By his senior spring, those issues had evaporated and Garrett became one of the better prep arms available in the 2016 draft. He’s an excellent barometer for what a top-15 prep lefty looks like: 90-93 with a plus-flashing curveball and an arm action/athleticism that allows for projection on the command and changeup, both of which Garrett has already shown in spurts.

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Major League Baseball and Workers’ Comp

Largely overlooked amidst the hoopla surrounding last weekend’s Super Bowl, DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the National Football League Players Association, weighed in on an obscure bill currently working its way through the Illinois state legislature. If enacted into law, the proposed legislation — presently dubbed Illinois Senate Bill 12 — would amend the state’s workers’ compensation laws to decrease the benefits provided to professional athletes who sustain career-ending injuries on the playing field.

This possibility led Smith to threaten that, if Senate Bill 12 were to be signed into law, the NFLPA would officially encourage players to steer clear of signing with the Chicago Bears. As Smith stated over the weekend, “If you’re a free-agent player and you have an opportunity to go play somewhere else… isn’t a smarter financial decision to go to a team where a bill like this hasn’t passed?”

The fact that the NFLPA would take such a public stance against the proposed Illinois legislation raises the question of what potential impact Senate Bill 12 would have on Major League Baseball players, and, more generally, how workers’ compensation laws affect MLB in the first place.

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Is Giancarlo Stanton Going to Hit 500 Homers?

First, some data.

Home Runs Through Age-26 Season
Player Games Played Home Runs
Alex Rodriguez 1114 298
Jimmie Foxx 1109 266
Eddie Mathews 1029 253
Albert Pujols 933 250
Mickey Mantle 1102 249
Mel Ott 1288 242
Frank Robinson 1050 241
Ken Griffey Jr. 1057 238
Orlando Cepeda 1062 222
Andruw Jones 1137 221
Hank Aaron 1039 219
Juan Gonzalez 817 214
Johnny Bench 1094 212
Miguel Cabrera 1040 209
Jose Canseco 853 209
Giancarlo Stanton 827 208

This is quite an illustrious list! We have quite a few Hall of Famers, we have a few slam-dunk future members of that group, and we have Jose Canseco. There’s also one Giancarlo Stanton there, and that’s who we’ll be discussing herein.

Stanton is something of a mythic figure in today’s game. Seen only in bursts, and sequestered away with an under-followed franchise at an ill-attended park, Stanton often only reveals himself to the average fan in highlight reels and on magazine covers. Stanton is the strongest man in the league, a demigod among mere mortal dinger-hitters. He makes the cavernous stadium in Miami look tiny. He breaks scoreboards.

Imagine what we’d see from Stanton if he stayed healthy.

Stanton just completed his age-26 season. He’s played in just 827 games so far. As you can see above, that’s the second-lowest figure of the group, 10 games more than Juan Gonzalez. His seasons have a habit of being derailed by injury: only once has he reached the 150-game mark. Even still, he’s never hit fewer than 20 homers — not even when he played just 74 games in 2015. That was the year Stanton hit 27 bombs, played his final game in June, and still finished 10th in the National League in home runs.

That’s the kind of talent and raw power that Stanton possess. It’s the sort of prowess on which you can dream, and has already produced more than 200 home runs and 27 WAR. How many home runs can Stanton tack on? Is he going to reach 500 before his career is over? 600?

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The Marlins and the Future of Starting Rotations

Last week, the Marlins rounded out their starting rotation by acquiring Dan Straily from the Reds. Straily will join Edinson Volquez, Wei-Yin Chen, Tom Koehler, and Adam Conley in likely making up the Marlins five-man rotation to start the year, and let’s be honest, that’s a pretty uninspiring group. Our projections currently rate Miami’s group of starters as the 27th best in baseball, just ahead of the Reds, Twins, and Padres, none of whom are expected to compete in 2017. But what the Marlins lack in quality, they may make up for in quantity, and that could make their pitching experiment worth watching this year.

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Reds Flip Dan Straily, Marlins Buy In

Cincinnati has agreed to trade Dan Straily to Miami for three prospects, according to multiple reports, in a deal that indicates the intentions of both clubs — the Reds’ to continue their rebuild, the Marlins’ to compete in a top-heavy NL East.

Claimed off waivers by the Reds last spring, Straily is precisely the kind of arm a club like Cincinnati should be flipping for profit. After joining the Reds, the 28-year-old right-hander proceeded to go 14-8 with a 3.78 ERA. His FIP (4.88) and xFIP (5.02), however, suggest he outperformed his true skill level. That’s now the concern of the Marlins, though, who inherit Straily and his four remaining years of club control.

Chris Mitchell’s KATOH system isn’t too high on the prospects involved. The Marlins didn’t place a single prospect on Baseball America’s midseason top-100 list in 2016, so it’s not a particularly deep system. But Castillo rated as the Marlins’ No. 2 prospect, according to the Baseball America top-10 list published earlier this offseason.

Castillo’s an interesting arm. Now 24, he’s hit 100 mph in the past and will sit in the upper 90s. He posted a 2.07 ERA and 16-point strikeout- and walk-rate differential (K-BB%) in 117 innings at High-A Jupiter this past season. Eric Longenhagen scouted Castillo when he was traded by the Marlins last deadline for Andrew Cashner. (When part of that deal, Colin Rea, proved to be injured, Castillo was sent back to Miami.) Also headed to the Reds are Austin Brice, ranked ninth in the Miami organization by MLB.com, and Isaiah White, a third-rounder in 2015, ranked 16th on the Marlins’ top-20 list.

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