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Miami Marlins Offense Quickly Regressing For the Better

May 7, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Miami Marlins third baseman Hanley Ramirez (2) hits a home run against the Houston Astros during the ninth inning at Minute Maid Park. The Marlins won 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-US PRESSWIRE
May 7, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Miami Marlins third baseman Hanley Ramirez (2) hits a home run against the Houston Astros during the ninth inning at Minute Maid Park. The Marlins won 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-US PRESSWIRE

A few weeks back, I implored Miami Marlins fans to relax because the team's fortunes were on the way up. With the kind of offensive talent the Marlins were boasting, they simply had to improve going forward, and if a number of players just started hitting up to their projections, the club would be significantly improved. Well, during the Marlins' current seven-game win streak that has lasted conveniently from the start of May onward, the Fish have exploded (relatively speaking) in terms of offensive performance. In the seven wins, the Marlins have averaged a respectable .235/.326/.392 (.322 wOBA) and averaged 4.43 runs per game. More importantly, a slew of the Marlins' important hitters have suddenly increased in effectiveness.

Player (Month) AVG OBP SLG wOBA
Hanley Ramirez (April) .207 .316 .390 .321
Hanley Ramirez (May) .281 .303 .563 .385
Jose Reyes (April) .220 .293 .341 .267
Jose Reyes (May) .276 .382 .310 .336
Giancarlo Stanton (April) .247 .286 .342 .278
Giancarlo Stanton (May) .333 .438 .963 .565

These three Marlins players are performing well in the month of May and basically helping to carry the team's offense during the seven-game win streak. Sure enough, each of those guys have helped to carry the majority of the load; the Marlins have scored 31 runs and 34 wRC (Weighted Runs Created, an estimate of total runs scored based on the component stats in wOBA). Ramirez, Reyes, and Stanton have combined to produce almsot 20 of those 34 estimated runs with their offensive performance thus far.

How have they performed so well? Stanton's story is the easiest to explain, as he has hit five of his six home runs during the month of May and has seen his power resurgence. Conveniently, his most recent power surge has actually brought his power numbers almost in line with his career stats.

Stanton, Season ISO XB/H
2012 .240 0.889
2011 .275 1.052
Career .262 1.000

If there was anyone who wanted to correct his stats after a terrible April start, it seems to be Stanton, as he is attempting to fix those issues as expediently as possible. This is all the better for the Marlins, as Stanton has contributed approximately 10 runs during this seven-game win streak, and the Fish will want more of the 2011 Stanton if they want to continue to succeed.

As for Reyes, he has taken his usual plate approach that has yielded a career-high in walks thus far to an extreme.

Reyes, Season Swing% OSwing% ZSwing% Contact% OContact% ZContact%
May 32 17 49 92 80 96
Career 42 29 57 88 78 93

He is making contact at similar rates compared to his career-best 2011 season, but he is doing so now with a more selective approach. I am not sure who told Reyes to tone down his swing rate, but it is certainly helping him, as he has walked five times this month in 29 PA with only one strikeout. Overall, he has drawn 12 unintentional walks this season versus 10 strikeouts, and that has given him a tremendous advantage in a time when he was struggling to get hits. Despite Reyes's .234 average and .255 BABIP, he has a .317 OBP that is keeping his value afloat so far this year, Sure enough, his approach has made his early May results look good as well. So far, Reyes has posted a .286 BABIP in May, and you have to figure that will only continue to creep upwards, as he has never posted a season BABIP under .289.

Ramirez has regressed in terms of his walks and strikeouts, as both have gone down this month after a high mark early this season. He did this in the opposite way that Reyes made his adjustments, as he has gotten more aggressive in contrast to Reyes's more passive approach.

Ramirez, Season Swing% OSwing% ZSwing% Contact% OContact% ZContact%
May 48 32 62 80 63 88
Career 43 26 62 82 66 89

Some of the above numbers moved towards his career mark after a two-year run that increased in Ramirez's passive taking of pitches. Perhaps Eduardo Perez or Ozzie Guillen implored Ramirez to swing more often and be more aggressive like he was before 2010.

At least in May, this approach has worked. Ramirez has two mammoth home runs to his name in the month, but home runs have never really been the problem. Even in his career-worst 2011, Ramirez still had 10 home runs in 385 PA with an 11.1 percent HR/FB rate, all numbers that seemed just a bit below his career numbers. The other important factor is his early doubles count, as Ramirez has three doubles this month and six on the season. Right now, ZiPS projects him to hit 29 doubles by the end of the year, and that would be a slight improvement over his miserable 2010 total of 28. However, if he can continue to collect doubles at his current 5.2 percent pace (per PA), he can at least finish the year with 34, which should go a little ways towards helping him maintain a decent ISO.

Three of the Marlins' biggest stars offensively have kept their games ticking despite early season struggles, and such a phenomenon occurring all during a hot streak for the team could not have been timed better. The Fish will need continued strong performance from these guys, but the early returns in May do show that these guys might be on their way back to star status.