Much like we did in April and May, it is worth once again revisiting the awful month of June and seeing what we can garner out of the players' performances in that month. Which Marlins are on their way up? Which are on their way down? What will July bring for various important Marlins starters? Let us examine a few players and see what we can learn.
Buy: Jose Reyes
All that needs to be said about Reyes was said earlier last week as the month of June wrapped up. But just in case you need to see the raw numbers, take a look at the monthly splits for Reyes thus far this season.
The numbers from the last two months are far closer to his career norms than the April aberration, so it is safe to say that Reyes is almost on his way back. Given that, so far this month, he has hit a double and a home run as well, it appears as if Reyes is trying to get off to a hot start again. Here is hoping he puts another month akin to the June he had this year and continues to prove the Marlins right in signing him to his lucrative deal.
Buy: Justin Ruggiano
No, I am not buying the .400/.475/.740 (.484 wOBA) batting line Justin Ruggiano put up in June. Neither am I buying the fact that he has continued that streak into July with three homers in this Milwaukee series. What I am buying is the possibility that Ruggiano could be a significant contributor in 2012 for the Marlins. If there is one thing to be pointed out, it is that he did decrease his strikeout rate in the minors this season down to 17.5 percent from his typical rate in the mid-20 percent range. He has also far this season been more selective at the plate than he was in his brief stints with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Not all of that is going to stick, of course, but it is encouraging to see that Ruggiano really is being more selective with his swinging. He lacked that trait in 2008 and 2011 with the Rays, but so far this season he has been more careful with his eye and the results have shown at the plate, as he has drawn 10 walks in 75 PA. He may not be able to continue to make contact in this fashion, but some of the concerns about his plate discipline and long swing seem to have been alleviated thus far. Combine that with solid defense in center and left field and a decent minor league history and I would be willing to see more of Ruggiano.
Buy: Logan Morrison
Some time in the middle of June, Morrison got a hang of a few pitches and turned on them really hard and, as a result, he banged out five homers in that month. But the good thing to see is that he did change his approach from his poor May, but not so much that it changed who he is as a hitter.
You could certainly point to Morrison being ore aggressive in June, but when you take the average of these three months, it looks just like April. Perhaps Morrison noted some called strikes that he unnecessarily took and has decided to take a few more swings. This may have been a conscious effort or a fluctuation on his part, but in either case, the results were pretty good. He did walk a lot less and did not reduce his strikeouts, but we began to see a better results towards the end of the month. He muscled out a few homers and has continued doing so, all with a generally similar approach with only slight tweaks. When you struggle, you are tempted to overhaul yourself, and thankfully Morrison did not do that; he remains as patient a hitter as ever.
Sell: Anibal Sanchez
That strikeout rate Sanchez put up in April seems further and further away from the truth; since the start of May, Sanchez's strikeout rate has fallen to 18.9 percent. Conveniently, his strikeout rate from the three seasons before this one was a pretty similar 20.9 percent. The rest of Sanchez's game is still very good of course, and it is still likely that he will demand a good payday in free agency this offseason. But after a month of control struggles reminiscent more of his 2009 season than anything else, I am much less confident in the chances that Sanchez has reached a "new level" after establishing a pretty good one through 2011. After an April mirage, it looks as though Anibal is the same guy we thought he was.
Sell: Carlos Zambrano
Zambrano had the team's worst month by far, posting a 7.23 ERA and 5.35 FIP that was much worse than Sanchez's similar numbers due to the fact that he did not allow an inordinate number of home runs. In fact, Zambrano's main problem was that he walked 20 batters and only struck out 19 in June. Zambrano also normalized in terms of BABIP, allowing a .317 mark on balls in play that is a little closer to his average though still high for him. Zambrano struggled so badly that Rich Waltz and Tommy Hutton suspected it had to be associated with a mechanical issue in his delivery or an injury, neither of which has come up so far.
In any case, Zambrano's terrible month is a harbinger of bad things to come. He certainly is not that bad, but his month single-handedly corrected his ERA to more closely approach his FIP and other peripheral ERA indicators. We all knew Zambrano would suffer a downfall, but none of us figured it would be so quick. This is a sell of Zambrano the 3.00 ERA pitcher, but it is at least believable that he could post a 4.20 ERA as projected. The only problem is that he got our hopes up.