I assure you I am as shocked as you with the fact that, when looking back at those hyped up early-season expectations for the Marlins, the Atlanta Braves are in fact the World Champions and not the Miami Marlins. Congratulations to the division rivals! The National League East is the division of champions when looking back at this century. Now let’s have a look at how the Marlins did not manage to win the whole thing.
I remembered coming across a particular baseball article. Now, in the past few days, I have spent approximately five hours trying to find that article and I have even asked some baseball journalists about it, but even they couldn’t remember it. So I hope it is true otherwise it was just my dream. Either way, if I remember correctly the article was about a game that had been so bad for the home team that the reporter that was assigned for the game didn’t write a single word about the game and the newspaper printed out a blank column. I laughed when I saw that and thought it was a bold move by the writer. It crossed my mind to use it here for the Marlins season review. However, I don’t think it would not have got past the editorial team, and you can’t steal other peoples jokes (if it even was?). Marlins had some positive outcomes though but they sure tested my optimism.Embed from Getty Images
Marlins ended the season with a 67-95 record and that guaranteed fourth place in the division. Also for the 2022 MLB draft, Marlins secured the sixth overall pick. So a couple of positive outcomes right off the bat; not a 100-loss season, not a last place in the division, and a high draft pick. Let’s go, Marlins!
More positive notes were the rise of the rookies. It was a breakout season for Trevor Rogers who missed out on the National League Rookie of the Year title to Jonathan India. Rogers was out for a month due to a family matter which hurt his chances for the title but overall it was a great season for the left-hander and encouraging for the franchise to have a finalist in a major award category. Another one was of course Jazz Chisholm. Young electric Bahamian reeks Miami with limitless swagger and confidence. Bit of an up and down season due to injuries and cold streaks but a 20-home run season with 26 stolen bases for a first full season in the Majors. I’ll take it.
Sandy Alcantara also cemented his status as a true ace for the franchise. He set a target of 200 innings for the season which he achieved. His win/loss column of 9-15 looks bad but out of his 33 starts, only two were blowouts where he was pulled off early. Other times it was just because Miami’s hitters for the great part of the season looked like it was full of fantasy camp participants for the likes of me whose wish was to be a Major League ballplayer.
In the end, though, Alcantara is staying in Miami as he has signed a multi-year contract with the Marlins. This is great news for the fans as it shows that the ownership is at least trying to keep cornerstone pieces by paying them.
So how did they not end up winning the Commissioner’s Trophy or as the actual commissioner of MLB Robert “party pooper” Manfred calls it “a piece of metal”? Well, look no further than the team batting stats. The only way the Marlins are at the top of the list is if you sort the categories by number ascending. They are either second to last in every major category or at least in the bottom five. It is worrisome.
Something needs to change. I wrote about this “not a high scoring team” mentality last time and since then there has been changes in the coaching staff. Apparently, when Derek Jeter took over as the CEO of the Marlins they established a shuttle bus on I-95 between Miami and New York to ease the traffic. New hitting coach Marcus Thames comes from… you guessed right, the New York Yankees where he had served as a hitting coach since 2018. He has A LOT of work to do. On the positive note, he gets to do it in flip flops.
Overall it was a disappointing season. I would not call it a catastrophic season but not going to lie, they sure tested my optimism for the future in the later stages of the season. Making me doubt the process that has been sold to the fans for a couple of years now. In the end, I guess you just need to take every ounce of good from the positive side of the season and just ignore the bad and hope they figured out soon. I just want to have a hype video of a certified Major League hitter that has signed for the Marlins to have hope for better offensive performances. Not a video of a 30-year old reliever who is scared to pitch in the ninth inning.
To end this on a more cheerful note I want to once again give my thanks to the BFN for letting me write these pieces. Writing these articles for BFN has opened chances for me to write about baseball also in my native language Finnish. So I’ll buy you guys a pint when our roads cross. It has been a crazy year with baseball. I was interviewed by Matt Monagan from MLB.com to talk about baseball and Marlins. Also, we made the first-ever Finnish spoken baseball podcast called Baseball Terapia (Baseball Therapy) with my friend this year and totalling over 40 hours of talk about baseball. It has been a year to remember and I’m grateful to you guys.
Stay safe and Go Fish!
Photo credit: Michael Reaves/Mitchell Leff/GettyImages
Tomi Korkeamaki is covering the Miami Marlins during 2021 as part of the growing team of writers at Bat Flips and Nerds. Follow him on Twitter @TKorkeamaki