The Miami Marlins have gone through a strong week of play, beating the San Francisco Giants in three out of four games and sweeping a mini-series with the Minnesota Twins. Naturally, the Marlins' best players keyed this week's strong performance, so each of them are trending in a good way when it comes to the Marlins All-Star Power Rankings. Last week, we saw a little bit of movement, but has anything changed at the top?
1. Jose Fernandez, RHP (Last week: 1)
Fernandez's latest start was highly subdued, as he struck out three and walked three in five innings of work against the Minnesota Twins. It was a thoroughly unimpressive start, but it did nothing to belay his odds at making an All-Star team for this ballclub. Fernandez continues to motor through hitters regularly, and he has flashes of brilliance that make him a fun pitcher to watch. This is especially true considering that he would be coming out of the bullpen in the All-Star Game and probably be charged with only one inning, allowing him to go all-out and improve on his already impressive 94.7 mph velocity.
2. Giancarlo Stanton, RF (Last week: 2)
Stanton would have probably taken over the role of leader in the All-Star Power Rankings had he also not had a mediocre week at the plate. He hit .250/.308/.292 with just one extra-base hit, a double in the Twins win on Monday. His star power and June surge has kept him in the race, but if he has another poor week and the next competitor has another strong one, Stanton may drop further down thanks to average play and the month lost to injury.
3. Marcell Ozuna, OF (Last week: 4)
Remember last week, when Marcell Ozuna was trending downwards on a long slump? He just needed a weekend in San Francisco to perk his spirits. Ozuna tore through opposing pitchers to the tune of a .409/.409/.727 batting line that included four doubles and his second home run of the season. The home run was as impressive as the week was, as he launched a towering shot to left field at AT&T Park that hit the foul pole to stay fair. That sort of power is exactly what the Marlins were expecting from the young slugger, so it is good to see him pulling that out.
His BABIP is still at a concerning high number, but the Fish are happy to ride the wave of good luck and hard-hit balls for the time being. Ozuna has comfortably placed himself in the middle of the lineup and is thriving despite the fiercer competition in the big leagues. A rookie appearance in the All-Star Game would only bolster his status, but the concerns of his impending regression will continue until that power peaks.
4. Steve Cishek, RHP (Last week: Unranked)
How did Cishek get on this list? Well, when you pitch well and pick up four saves because your team is actually winning games and you pitch well in each outing, you tend to find yourself on these types of lists. This is especially true for a guy like Cishek who is on an otherwise bad team. The Marlins did not win enough games before to make Cishek an appealing option, but now he has 14 saves, akin to guys like Bobby Parnell and Jonathan Papelbon, and like it or not, that is part of the All-Star evaluation process for relievers.
Cishek has also pitched better in these last few outings, getting six strikeouts in four innings this week and not allowing a run en route to a season ERA of 3.24 to go along with a 3.47 FIP. There are clear relievers who have performed better than him this year in the National League; by my count, there are at least five more deserving closers in front of Cishek. But because the Fish are so poor in talent, it might be easier just to pick the reliever who could provide some help to the National League team in the tail end of the game or in extra innings.
5. Ricky Nolasco, RHP (Last week: 3)
Nolasco did nothing wrong to earn a two-spot demotion in the Power Rankings. What he did do is go ahead and get himself involved in trade rumors that are quickly expanding. There is an expectation that Nolasco may be traded as early as this week, which means that organization will get him earlier than the All-Star Game selection. If Nolasco is traded within the week, the selection committee comprised of manager Bruce Bochy and the players will have to pick someone else from the Fish. As the rumors grow day by day, the odds that Nolasco remains on the Marlins by July 6 is just unlikely.
Not Ranked: Justin Ruggiano
Ruggiano finally got a chance to start a few games, and he capped off his week's performance with an impressive two-homer day on Sunday in San Francisco, but he just is not likely to get enough starts or bump his average or OBP enough to qualify for the Fish over someone like Cishek, who has a consistent role as a closer.