It’s Time for a Change at 3B

Now that the season is half over (a little more actually), now is a good time to reevaluate and see what the Marlins need to do to improve the team and give them the best chance to make the playoffs.

Of all the things they can do, the most obvious, and least costly, would be to promote Gaby Sanchez from Triple-A, and play him. I think this move alone will greatly improve the production of the Marlins lineup in the second half, and would lead to two or three more wins for The Fish down the stretch.

Bonifacio, for all his intangible assets, is not getting it done at the plate or in the field. He is hitting a mediocre .258, but when you consider how terrible his other offensive statistics are, his average is misleadingly good. The problem is Bonifacio has no power (82 percent of his hits are singles), he seldom walks (which leads to an on-base percentage of just .304), and he strikes out way too much. Bonifacio has 73 Ks on the season, which is ridiculous for a leadoff hitter, especially for one with no power. Bonifacio has the 15th most strikeouts in the National League, but he has none of the other assets a team should get in exchange for those Ks, like HRs, RBIs, or a high average.

Let’s look at the 14 players in the National League with more Ks than Bonifacio to demonstrate my point. These 14 players average 14 more HRs and 30 more RBIs than Bonifacio. They have an average OPS of 0.849, while Bonifacio’s is just 0.624, a 0.221 difference. The other teams in MLB understand that if a player is going to strike out as much as Bonifacio does, you better get some real power numbers to go with it. Bonifacio just does not have that capability. All of this might be overlooked if he had truly stellar defense, but Bonifacio is leading the Major Leagues in errors with 13 on the season. I hate to say it, but Bonifacio is killing us.

Gaby Sanchez, on the other hand, is a huge prospect that has been an amazing hitter at every level of minor league ball. He even hit .375 in limited action in the Big Leagues last September. Sanchez was MVP of the Double-A Southern League last year (.314/17 HR/92 RBI/.917 OPS in 478 ABs), and has put up comparable numbers in Triple-A this year (.297/8 HR/35 RBI/.815 OPS in just 212 ABs), although he was sidelined for a month with a knee injury. He also plays solid defense, winning the Southern League award for best defensive first baseman last year.

Now that Sanchez has established his health, I don’t see how he still has not been given a chance to help the Marlins given Bonifacio’s lack of production. I am delighted to see that the Marlins are in contention, but I am getting mad that they have not made a switch at 3B when the numbers show quite painfully that something needs to be done. The Marlins are going to need every win they can get. Sanchez is Major League hitter and a very good option at 3B. Pull the trigger already!