There are a number of things in Marlin-land that (at least in my opinion) don't get enough attention:
- The situation with Al Leiter is worse that we generally let on. While his 2-5 record is not impressive, the Marlins are an even less impressive 2-7 when Leiter starts. This isn't an issue of a lack of run support; Leiter has had only two quality starts this year. Regardless of how you slice it, Leiter has not been worth $7.2 million this year (or 12% of the team's payroll).
Damion Easley hasn't been spectacular, but he's certainly been very good - especially considering that he was only supposed to be a reserve this year. He's filled in admirably in Castillo's absence.
- I suppose there's the comeback player of the year award, but Brian Moehler certainly deserves something. He's putting up All-Star quality numbers, but it's questionable as to whether he'll receive such recognition (particularly since he's on a staff with a handful of other likely All-Stars).
Mike Lowell's numbers remain horrible (.205/.247/.342). He often doesn't even seem to have a good at bat. He flails at pitches, chases bad breaking balls, and is often fooled. For some reason though, I can't make heads or tails of what's happening. He's hit 14 doubles, which puts him on pace for a more than respectable 50 for the year. On the other hand, his line drive percentage (.190) is very low. For some perspective, amongst the Marlins regulars, only Gonzalez, Castillo, and Pierre are lower. None of those guys is tearing the cover off the ball either. Line drive percentage is generally indicative of how well a player is hitting the ball - regardless of the actual results from the balls he hits.
Dontrelle Willis is still running away with the NL Cy Young Award, at least according to ESPN.com's predictor. Josh Beckett has dropped to #6.
Marlins attendance at JRS is up 2% compared to last year. That's not an apples-to-apples comparison (sorry - no time/energy for that right now); it's a simple comparison of attendance to date versus where the Marlins ended up last year. Last year the Fish were 26th (of 30) in the league in attendance. This year they're up to 23rd.
- Accomplishments: Lenny Harris is closing in on 200 career pinch hits. Jack McKeon just won his 950th game. Hopefully we'll witness win number 1,000 sometime soon.
- Power: The Marlins are 15th (of 16) in the National League in home runs. However, they've outhomered opponents 37-24 on the year. If they can maintain a differential like that (as a percentage) over the course of the year, I suspect we won't care if the finish first or last in the league in homers hit.
- Speaking of power, according to ESPN's Juice Box, power - as measured by home runs and slugging percentage - is down throughout the majors this year. It's not clear if these comparsisons are made to the same point in time during previous years, or if 2005 is compared to previous completed seasons (so there may be some noise). Still, this is interesting. I don't know if steroids or the way baseballs are being stitched is driving this, but it's interesting nonetheless.