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The Marlins starting staff has predictably underwhelmed so far

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An overview of a team weakness

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Miami Marlins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Marlins truly have a staff full of fourth and fifth starters (at best), and their starting rotation had low expectations coming in. However, given that Adam Conley has been sent down to New Orleans; Tom Koehler has an ERA of 5.60 and a WHIP of 1.47; “ace” Edinson Volquez has a WHIP of 1.81, things have arguably been worse than expected.

The starter's ERA as a group is 5.01, which is fourth worst in baseball; their FIP is third worst in baseball; their WAR as a group totals only 0.7, also the third worst in baseball.

They have served up the 11th most home runs per 9 innings, as well. To be honest, given the host of gopher ball pitchers on this staff I thought the numbers would be even worse. Tom Koehler has been truly awful in this category, giving up 2.29 HR/9 so far this year. Dan Straily is actually benefiting so far from getting out of Cincinnati where his home run rate has gone from 1.46 last year to 1.18 so far this season, so that has helped somewhat.

A particularly strange aspect of the Marlins’ team starting pitching statistics is that they have given up the most number of walks as a team (85), and the third most hit batsmen (10), while giving up the fewest number of hits (146). That said, they have also thrown the third fewest number of innings, so when you convert this to hits/innings pitched they aren’t nearly so stingy in giving up hits as one might initially think..

Wei-Yin Chen has been solid except for one terrible game against the Mets, so he is pretty much what Marlins fans bargained for. Unfortunately he is on the DL along with Volquez right now, so it is still quite early to say a ton about those two other than that no one has been blown away by either of them.

One potential bright spot was the initial start by Jose Urena, who shutout the Mets on one hit over six innings this past Sunday. He has averaged a fastball velocity of 96.44 this year and he has only walked four batters over 21 13 innings this season. I am still skeptical given how bad his 2016 was, but he should be given a shot on a staff plagued by control problems and ho-hum arms.

Given the lack of depth in both the major league and minor league levels, there’s not a lot of hope in the immediate future for the Fish. It’s only May, though, so here’s hoping things turn around, and the starting staff doesn’t continue to flounder (pun intended).