The Florida Marlins, thought of as very unlikely to compete at any point this season, currently sit in a second-place tie in the so-far-disappointing National League East. They are a team built almost entirely on offense and, because of this, are even less likely to replicate their relative success over the season’s remainder. Because nobody talks about their pitching, and rightly so because those talks might not be so nice, Ricky Nolasco has pitched quite well and deserves some kudos.
In 19 games, two of which were relief appearances, he has posted the following numbers:
3.74 ERA, 4.19 FIP, 110.2 IP, 104 H, 29 BB, 82 K
2.83 K/BB, 1.20 WHIP, .279 BABIP, 74.4% LOB
The statistics above have helped result in a 0.45 WPA, tops amongst starters on the team. Scott Olsen is close behind him at 0.35, but while these two have some similarities in their overall results, there are also some noticeable differences, mainly in their controllable skills:
Over the last thirty days, Nolasco has made six starts, giving up just 31 hits and 4 walks in 44.2 innings, striking out 42 in the process. His 0.78 WHIP ranks second and, while the average HR/FB is around 10-11%, Nolasco has sliced his in half to the tune of 5.8%. Though his K/9 of 8.46 in this span ranks 21st, his ridiculously low 0.81 BB/9 helps result in a first place 10.50 K/BB.
Something struck me as particularly interesting with regards to his pitch data: from last year to now he is throwing harder across the board. His fastball has increased from 89 mph to 91.2 mph; his slider from 79.8 mph to 83.6 mph; his curveball has risen from 72.5 mph to 75.6 mph, and his changeup, though used just 2.4% of the time compared to last year’s 9.1%, has increased velocity from 78.5 mph to 82.3 mph.
Ricky has been pitching very much under the radar primarily due to the Marlins’ pitching woes serving as a generalization for the entire team and their propensity for offense. Nolasco is not a Cy Young Award contender—though now that I think about it his W-L record could convince voters he may be—but he has been a nice little diamond in the rough to date.