Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Marlins were expected to be one of the worst teams in baseball, and the team has lived up to that with the second worst record in the majors at the All Star break. But, that only tells part of the story for a team that is very young, but also very talented.
The numbers are not pretty to this point for the Marlins. The Fish still average the fewest runs in the National League at 3.29 per game. Miami also has the fewest hits in the National League, fewest home runs, RBI’s, lowest batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS.
That’s the bad news. But, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about the future of the Marlins’ offense.
Slugger Giancarlo Stanton is rounding into form after missing much of the first half of the season with injury concerns. Stanton is hitting .250 with 10 home runs and 27 RBI’s heading into the All Star break, despite playing only 51 games.
The Marlins have also discovered a new outfielder in Marcell Ozuna who was called up earlier in the season. Ozuna was not expected to stay long initially, but has cemented his role in the lineup with a good first half of the season.
Ozuna is hitting .273 with 17 doubles, four triples, three home runs, and a team best 32 RBI’s. Ozuna cooled off towards the All Star break after hitting .300 heading into the month of July.
The Marlins also have first baseman Logan Morrison back in the lineup and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria has been developing for the Fish. Miami also has slugger Christian Yelich in the minor leagues ready to be called up in the second half of the season.
Where the Marlins are showing the most improvement is the team’s starting pitching, led by rookie sensation Jose Fernandez. The rookie ace has settled into the number one position in the rotation and has responded with a 5-5 record and a 2.75 ERA.
Over Fernandez’s last 10 starts, he’s 3-3 with a 2.23 ERA over 60.2 innings pitched and has a 59-23 strikeout to walk ratio over that time. For the season, Fernandez is allowing opposing hitters to bat just .196 against him and he carries a 1.08 WHIP at the All Star break.
The Marlins have also seen starter Jacob Turner, acquired last year in a trade with the Detroit Tigers for Anibal Sanchez, take the next step forward. Turner has made eight starts and put together a 3-1 record with a 2.33 ERA over 54 innings pitched. Turner also is allowing just a .230 opposing batting average.
Finally, starter Nathan Eovalidi, acquired in the Hanley Ramirez trade last year, has also come on strong in the last few weeks. Over his last five starts, Eovaldi is 2-0 with a 2.93 ERA and opponents are hitting just .181 against him.
And, Eovaldi, Turner, and Fernandez are all under 24-years-old in 2013.
The team would also benefit from first-round pick third baseman Colin Moran developing quickly in the minors and joining the team as the everyday third baseman as early as next year.
The Marlins showed signs of life heading into the All Star break. If the team can call up Yelich in the second half and continue to develop the young hitters, the Marlins could be dangerous in 2014.