What a phenomenal season for Cruz. Entering today, Stanton is a home run shy of 60, something only five other players have ever accomplished.
Bonds.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) September 29, 2017
Baseball's 59-homer club.
Stanton is the new single season franchise leader in home runs, fWAR (7.0), slugging percentage (.633), total bases (375), extra base hits (91), and RBI (131). Most of us understand that RBI is a flawed statistic when it comes to singular player evaluation, but there is still something very impressive about a number like that attached to a season resume.
Stanton’s only regret this season has to be not reaching the playoffs. Perhaps you hold him accountable for the .140/.267/.400 that he hit during that two week stretch between August 28th and September 10th, a slump that coincided with the 2-11 skid that effectively ended the Marlins playoff hopes. That wouldn’t be unfair. One of the criticisms we often hear about Stanton is that he comes up short in the clutch. That is a subject for a deeper article, but the overall numbers he brought to bear this season would seem to suggest otherwise.
He can’t pitch, after all.
I for one hope that he hits #60 today to go out on a strong note (and, that it’s not the last home run we see of his in a Marlins uniform).
Jeter Fires Four More
It’s hard to ascertain what direction new ownership is going to steer the franchise right off the bat, so to speak, but we do know one thing about Derek Jeter, CEO: He likes to fire in quartets.
After first informing Dave Samson he was out, he let Samson in turn inform the four special assistants that their time with the Fish (in an official capacity) was up. Needing to satiate his desire to can another grouping of four, Jeter once again turned to Samson to get rid of four VPs under Michael Hill: Mike Berger, Marc DelPiano, Jim Benedict and Jeff McAvoy.
This particular batch of firings was easy to see coming, and predictably didn’t cause quite the uproar that the first quartet mustered amongst the Marlins faithful, perhaps having something to do with the fact that the Marlins haven’t made the playoffs since Bad Boys II hit the silver screen. It’s understood that a new ownership is going to install front office folk who jive with their vision of how to operate a franchise; Jeter likely has people in mind already.
Current President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill has been left standing alone at the top amidst the rubble; it’s hard to say whether he’ll survive beyond the transitional period. There have been no rumblings as of yet that Manager Don Mattingly’s job is in danger. One thing we know for certain: When (and if) Mattingly’s time comes, David Samson wont be around to deliver his walking papers in Jeter’s stead.
How do you feel about the 2017 season now that it’s over? Probably disappointed, overall, but I’d ask you to harken back to late March, early April and search your feelings then. It seems to me that most of us were expecting the Marlins to be competitive with a series of breaks but likely fall short due to their sub-par pitching staff.
Well, that happened.
It was really a tale of two seasons for the Fish: They were terrible in the spring (21-30 through April-May), good (28-25 from June to July) to great (17-12 in August) in the summer, and collapsed again (an 11-17 September) as fall approached. They are assured to finish no better than six games under .500.
Those who were calling for a total rebuild may have been the ones ultimately vindicated by the end of the year results here. This group of hitters has been together for three seasons now and the results have remained the same. Stanton will likely never be more valuable then he is at this exact moment in time, the same can probably be said for Marcell Ozuna. It is a compelling case to strike while the iron is hot (and before Stanton gets really expensive).
Still, from an emotional standpoint, I don’t want to see this team broken up just yet, even if it would be the wise thing to do from a financial perspective. I think there’s room in the narrative to believe that, with a stronger starting staff, this offensive core has a chance to be competitive all the way to the end. Maybe I’m too much of an optimist or a sucker for a good story. Wouldn’t it be amazing if this group of players, with all that they’ve been through, was the team that brought the Marlins back to the post-season?
I want to watch that story unfold. Jeter/Sherman and company may have already come to a different conclusion. It’s hard to say as of yet. Whatever they may ultimately decide, Fish Stripes will be here to cover it. No matter what happens, it’s bound to be interesting. Stay tuned!