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2013 Marlins Season Review: Pitcher report cards

The Miami Marlins got enough solid pitching performances and one transcendent season from a rookie phenom to earn positive grades for their pitching staff.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Marlins' hitters did not perform up to snuff, and their grades reflected that. But as bad as the Marlins' hitters were, at least the Marlins' pitchers provided some positive feelings in 2013. The Fish had three solid starting pitchers who could serve as the basis for a decent rotation next year, and a few more have a chance to improve even more in 2014.

Jose Fernandez (Review)

Fernandez was perfect in 2013. I have nothing negative to say about him. That was about as excellent a debut season as one could expect from a player. He exceeded everyone's wildest dreams. I can't wait for 2014. Grade: A++++++++

Ricky Nolasco (Review)

While Nolaso was still here, the Marlins could not have asked for a better bounceback season. His performance was strong all year, and he finally did an acceptable job of reconciling his annually good peripherals and his ERA. The only negative about Nolasco was the trade return. Grade: B+

Nathan Eovaldi (Review)

Eovaldi improved his fastball to elite starter velocity levels. He did not drastically improve his performance on those fastballs, but his overall play did see marginal improvements over last season. His game could still use work, and the lack of home runs portends regression to the mean, but this was an excellent start to a solid career. Grade: B

Henderson Alvarez (Review)

Yes, the no-hitter was a great way to cap the year. But Alvarez was actually good enough that he deserved some recognition for his overall 2013 accomplishments. Besides the no-hitter, Alvarez returned to merely a "bad" strikeout rate rather than an "unacceptable" mark like he had in 2012. He benefited from Marlins Park and stopped giving up homers entirely. Given his ground ball nature, he only needs to be decent at allowing home runs on fly balls and the Fish will have at least an average pitcher on their hands. Grade: B

Jacob Turner (Review)

Turner was the worst of the four young starters, but he had a stretch of games just after he was promoted when he looked like the type of pitcher the Marlins envisioned when they acquired him from the Detroit Tigers. Unfortunately, he is increasingly looking like a high-variance, loose-control pitcher with middling strikeout stuff, which is a bad combination. Grade: D+

Kevin Slowey (Review)

The Marlins decided to look past Slowey at the end of the season because he had a massive skid in the final three months of the year before his injury, but he proved this year that he remains a useful Major League starter. That is a plus considering the low-risk nature of the team's acquisition. Grade: C+

Alex Sanabia (Review)

Sanabia's most notable accomplishment was spitting at a ball and getting caught on camera. Ugh. Grade: D

Wade LeBlanc (Review)

LeBlanc was about as bad as that, but he never did anything as unintentionally hilarious as Sanabia did. Grade: D-

Steve Cishek (Review)

Cishek saved 28 straight games and rebounded from a disappointing first two months to dominate in the later innings. His work against lefties did not necessarily improve so much as his play this year improved overall. He upped his game against righties to the point that they essentially hit like pitchers off of him. His spectacular work in those final 47 1/3 innings gave the team not only a consistent closer, but also a highly intriguing trade asset in the offseason. Grade: A

Mike Dunn (Review)

No one would have ever expected Mike Dunn to become a solid setup man and potential closer option in case the Marlins do trade Cishek, but he cut his walks by a third and suddenly became extremely effective. He continues to defy the lefty specialist role by being equally effective against both sides. If the Marlins deal Cishek, look for Dunn to get his chance to close. Grade: B+

A.J. Ramos (Review)

Ramos put up a Dunn-esque performance this year (previous year's Dunn, that is) in the sense that he put up a strong strikeout rate but also was relatively out of control. The combination is not likely to lead to long-term bullpen success outside of the earlier innings, but there is some chance that he, like Dunn, improves enough to become a decent late-inning option. Grade: B

Chad Qualls (Review)

The Marlins came into the season not expecting anything from Qualls. What they got was a season's worth of strong play, and perhaps the best fist pump in team history. Even without the strong play, Qualls's fist-pump fall might have been worth a "B" just for sheer enjoyment, but he performed very well and put up a comeback season that should buy him a nice contract next year. Grade: A-

Ryan Webb (Review)

Webb has stalled in development and his fastball has decreased in velocity. He has delivered on none of the promise he showed coming out of San Diego, and he remains the team's last link from the ill-fated Miguel Cabrera trade. That alone would earn bad grades from the Marlins faithful. Grade: D+

Dan Jennings (Review)

Jennings came up in midseason and performed decently for a lefty specialist. He got surprisingly good results against righties given his repertoire, but his overall performance may be worth a continued look. Grade C+