Miami Marlins President of Baseball Operations didn't request much from the youthful team heading into the season. After a 15 win June, Beinfest seeks progress from the squad's core.
Following the fire sale trade with Toronto, Miami called 2013 "a transition year." By acquiring young, talented players such as Adeiny Hechavarria, Henderson Alvarez, and Nathan Eovaldi, the Marlins acknowledged the fact that they would not be competitive immediately.
"That's the big thing with this team this year, we talk about making progress," Larry Beinfest said in an interview with MLB.com. "Again, the ultimate way to measure progress is wins and losses, but you don't always get that from a young team."
A 35-58 record is indicative of a team that at several points has consistently struggled. Throughout much of April and May, the offense had trouble scoring runs and hitting with runners in scoring position was a challenge. A 14-41 record after the season's first two months showed the growing pains the team went through.
However, in June and July, the team began to mature and turn things around. From the last day of May until the All-Star break on July 14, the Marlins were 22-17. The team's success came as a result of the reinstatement of Logan Morrison and Giancarlo Stanton from the disabled list. Both were on the DL through the team's slow start.
"We're a different team, different attitude and everything," manager Mike Redmond said. "Those first two months, when we had 11 or 12 guys on the DL, it was rough. We just didn't have enough guys to bring up to cover it. Now, to get everyone back, especially the pitching, it's good."
Although injuries plagued the Marlins early, the starting pitching has arguably been the most consistent part of the team. Kevin Slowey, Ricky Nolasco, and Tom Koehler all pitched well, and with Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez healthy, it is expected to improve.
Miami's youthful players have kept the team motivated. Marcell Ozuna has been consistent with runners in scoring position and defensively, and Derek Dietrich and Hechavarria have been efficient on the field despite offensive struggles.
Jose Fernandez, Miami's All-Star representative who struck out two of the American League's best hitters during a scoreless inning of relief, has been a stable part of the Marlins' rotation.
"You have to continually measure [development] and take steps forward," Beinfest said. "I think that's what's going on with this team right now. If that continues to happen, then the wins should happen with more regularity."
In the second half, Redmond and Beinfest will continue to look for progress and results from Miami's rookies. In addition to tracking current players, the Marlins will also anticipate the arrival of Christian Yelich, whose promotion was delayed because of a two week stint on the DL.
"As a manager, you can sit here and say, 'This is the team we initially thought we would have out of Spring Training,'" Redmond said. "I was hoping that we would be able to evaluate those guys over the first two months of the season. But really, it's just started over the last couple of weeks. I like the depth that we have now, especially with our pitching, and our offense has been scrappy. We have a couple of young guys who are in there and bring energy every night. It's a fun group."