The Miami Marlins have finally escaped their second straight nightmare June, but a new challenge in July awaits. But for the time being, fans are also interested in the Midsummer Classic's festivities, as the Marlins have a decent amount going on during the All-Star break. Not only does the game have the team's best representative, but the Marlins will once again be represented in the Home Run Derby as well. The honor of both representations lands in the hands of one Giancarlo Stanton, and I imagine it is a burden he can bare.
"It's one of the most amazing things I've done in my life to this point," said the 6-foot-5, 246-pound Stanton. "Just sitting back and thinking about all the All-Star Games that I've watched -- baseball, football, basketball -- it's one of those things that seemed so far out there, and unrealistic until you sit here and it actually happens."
"I'm going to soak it all in," Stanton said. "It's something that I might even get emotional if I really think about how far I've come in this game, and to be able to do what I've done."
It is a pretty impressive feat to make the All-Star team in just his third season and at age 22. Only Miguel Cabrera got in at a younger age for the Marlins, as his first appearance was at age 21 in 2004.
- The Marlins picked up a nice win yesterday as they completed the sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies. Unfortunately, it was not all good news, as after the game, a family of four was hit by a minivan, killing three family members. The fourth member, a 10 year-old girl, remains in critical condition. We here at Fish Stripes hope everything is OK and that she comes out of this alive.- In the Marlins previous 3-2 win against the Phillies, Edward Mujica suffered an injury when he was hit by a come-backer. Now he is on the DL with a fractured right pinky toe. Wade Leblanc was brought up from Triple-A to serve as a long reliever and mop-up man for the Fish during Mujica's injury.
- John Buck has been mired in a season-long slump, but he has been battling it and may appear to be getting out of it. Buck hit a bit better in June, batting .210/.319/.371 (.305 wOBA) with three homers. I think that is the sort of production we can expect going forward, so while that will not burn any houses down, it is passable for a catcher.
- Ozzie Guillen thinks the Marlins are better than their record suggests. I agree, though their awful run differential does not agree.
- Conor Dorney of Marlins Daily thinks Mark Buehrle has produced similar results with a new approach. I looked at Buehrle's Brooks Baseball Pitch F/X card, and Dorney (who used raw Pitch F/X data shown on FanGraphs) and I agree that Buerhle has increased the use of his changeup, up to about 30 percent. The other findings do conflict with the ones recorded by Dan Brooks, who re-runs the pitches through his own classification algorhythm. Nevertheless, the increase in changeups is interesting.
- David Hill of NBC Miami thinks Jeffrey Loria is a bit optimistic about the Marlins' chances in 2012. I think Loria is putting out a good face, and certainly the team's chances of taking over the city's favor are right now, with nothing else going on. They have a chance, as the team probably is better than they have shown. But July and August are going to be critical.
- Ehsan Kassim of Marlin Maniac believes the Marlins should acquire Alfonso Soriano. It sounds crazy, but Soriano's actually been decent this season, with a .273/.331/.494 (.349 wOBA) batting line. His defense is still questionable, in the sense that we do not know how much range in the outfield he has regained since knee injuries ravaged his 2009 season. But any decent defender would be a solid improvement over the awful Logan Morrison in left field and would prompt Morrison's return to first base. The Cubs are willing to eat pretty much all of his contract to get something in return, and I can't imagine them asking for much. Soriano would be under control until 2014.
Around the League
- Here are the All-Star rosters for both leagues. There is not a lot to complain about really, though the starting lineups look wrong. How did Pablo Sandoval and Melky Cabrera beat out David Wright and Ryan Braun at their respective positions? Makes no sense. Nevertheless, at least the outfielders for the NL look really strong, and there's a good chance Braun will be chosen to DH for the team.
- Meanwhile, in the Home Run Derby, Matt Kemp has decided who he wants on his team. Carlos Beltran and Carlos Gonzalez will join Stanton and Kemp on the NL side. Last week, I mentioned Braun, Jay Bruce, Carlos Gonzalez, and Joey Votto as candidates, and Gonzalez got in. I believe Braun actually rejected an offer to participate. Beltran is not a bad choice, but I would have chosen any of the two Cincy players.
- The Final Vote for each side is in, and Grant Brisbee of Baseball Nation thinks the intriguing vote is on the NL side, between the past and the future, between Chipper Jones and Bryce Harper. I think my vote is on Harper, but it would be nice to see Chipper get a final shot and get that Cal Ripken / Alex Rodriguez moment.
- Dusty Baker of the Cincinnati Reds is peeved that Tony La Russa, who is managing the NL squad despite retiring at the end of last season, snubbed a couple of Reds players. Rob Neyer of Basbeall Nation thinks that's pretty silly.
At Fish Stripes
- On Friday, we discussed Stanton's entry into the Home Run Derby. Based on his projections, we think he has the power to win the whole thing. I'll be watching.
- On Saturday, the latest edition of Wild Pitch came up, featuring our nominees from last week and a fun picture of Ozzie Guillen visibly angry. Go vote and participate now!