LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 26: Giancarlo Stanton #27 of the Miami Marlins bats against the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 26, 2012 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Another month has rolled by for the Miami Marlins, and aside from a number of positive lights at the end of the dark and disappointing tunnel, this team has been a complete mess. So when it comes down to who do you buy heading into the final month and who you would rather not see anymore, the list is going to be more negative than positive.
But here at Fish Stripes, we are focused and committed to bringing you those #minorvictories, so in the midst of an obviously terrible 2012 season, we remain vigilant for at least some positive signs in the darkness.
Buy: Giancarlo Stanton's Power
Last month, Giancarlo Stanton once again went on one of those magical tears through opposing pitchers, one in which he simply could not be contained by the walls of a stadium in any given evening. Stanton hit ten homers in the month, second only to his spectacular month of May in terms of homers in a single month this year. And none of them particularly stood out as "gimme" shots either; only one homer (his first inning shot against Chris Young of the New York Mets at Citi Field) was considered "lucky" or had a true distance of less than 390 feet. That same homer was also the only homer that went slower than 100 mph off the bat.
Along the way, Stanton's romp also boasted some epic home runs. He hit the longest home run in three years in Colorado, going a true distance of 494 feet. He hit home runs in three straight games at Coors Field, recording a homer in a record six straight games in Coors Field; such a feat in any stadium was done only three other times before. One of those homers, off of Tyler Chatwood, one-hopped its way out of the stadium. Given that he hit eight of his 10 homers during the Marlins' west coast trip, it is clear he does enjoy heading out west.Sell: Giancarlo Stanton's Plate Approach
As amazing as Stanton's month was at the plate, it did not come without its struggles. During the very same month, Stanton also struck out 29 times in just 88 plate appearances, an astonishing 33.0 percent strikeout rate. And it was not like previous months, in which he also was able to get himself on base by at least walking; Stanton walked just three times this month, and two of them were intentional walks.
Outside of the towering home runs and the hard contact, he had an awful month at the plate. And in terms of the reasoning for his problems, it is entirely tied to his poor approach as of late, as his contact rates overall have been similar to his career marks. If he cannot return to his baseline, he might see some struggles when the power deflates a little, especially in Marlins Park.
Buy: Jose Reyes
Yes, yes, every month I buy Jose Reyes. But you know what, every month he deserves it.
This month, Reyes stole four bases and hit .298/.358/.500 (.359 wOBA). He hit four more home runs, seven doubles, and two triples to put up a .200-plus ISO for the second straight month. Reyes had a 26-game hit streak along the way and looked well on his way to a .290 average by the end of the month until a dry spell in the second half of the month cooled him off. Still, the streak was impressive, and so was the first half, and it was enough to make for another spectacular hitting month for Reyes.
Buy: Jacob Turner
In his first two starts, Jacob Turner looked like a 21 year-old rookie pitcher. But he looked like a 21 year-old pitcher with a lot of talent and the capability to be exactly what scouts promised as of earlier this season. Turner struck out 11 batters and walked none in his first 11 innings as a starter, defying all concerns about his lack of strikeouts. He showed good control too, as he has yet to walk a batter in that time period.
So what's wrong so far? He has allowed three home runs and does have a 6.55 ERA to his name, but the 4.65 FIP and even better numbers with regressed home runs signify good things for the future. It is uncertain whether Turner can bring that home run total down, but his decent 47 percent ground ball rate thus far in his career is not a bad sign. With his pedigree and the promising start, the Marlins are looking at a potential option starting in 2013.
Sell: Nathan Eovaldi
Right now, the team's other starting pitcher acquired in a trade has struggled compared to the more favored Turner. While Eovaldi's first start was just as strong as any of Turner's, if not better, his last few starts have left much to be desired. The struggles of Eovaldi are also unsurprising, as they are the same struggles the scouts spotted in him from before. Before Eovaldi can develop a quality third pitch against lefties, he is going to have a hard time pitching to them. And before he can develop his supposedly plus slider to get more swings and misses from righties, he is going to have a hard time getting strikeouts.
The good news is that Eovaldi does not seem to have difficulty pounding the strike zone generally, as his pitches are decently in the zone. The issue is when he cannot put hitters away and instead forces foul balls until they make good contact or let his control slip long enough for a walk. He needs to find the movement necessary to get swings and misses before he can do well going forward.