Even as the Marlins’ postseason drought extends to a 16th year, the franchise will indirectly have a massive impact on the 2019 championship picture. Entering the Division Series round, all eight remaining contenders employ former Fish players. Who are you rooting for?
From the Houston Astros—who are prohibitive favorites for the World Series title, according to the biggest sports betting sites—to the cleverly constructed Tampa Bay Rays, there are familiar faces wherever you look. The odds are in favor of Houston Astros, which means that their chances to take the championship are definitely higher, but we will analyze all of the teams and you will decide who the winner might be.
Just like we did last year, here’s a team-by-team overview identifying these players, summing up how they have acclimated to their new surroundings and what roles they’ll have in October.
- Jake Marisnick—Time flies! It’s been more than five years since Marisnick was traded by the Fish. He never refined his on-base skills enough to justify an everyday starting outfielder job, but the 28-year-old is an impactful baserunner and great defender to have available for high-leverage, late-inning situations.
Los Angeles Dodgers
- Kiké Hernández—Involved in that same Marisnick trade once upon a time, Hernández’s infield/outfield versatility gets him in the lineup more regularly (he started games at seven different positions this season). He shined bright during the Dodgers’ 2017 postseason run (.320/.452/.720, 3 HR in 31 PA), but proved to be a major liability last October (.122/.217/.268, 2 HR in 46 PA). Small sample size theater!
Austin Barnes, Marlins ninth-round draft pick in 2011, saw his role diminish late this summer with the emergence of rookie catcher Will Smith. Barnes even had two stints at Triple-A before rosters expanded again in September. It’s unclear if he’ll have an opportunity to play in these critical games.
New York Yankees
- Giancarlo Stanton—Between a left biceps strain and a right knee strain, Stanton barely played in meaningful games in 2019. He returned from the latter injury on Sept. 18...after the Yankees had already clinched a postseason berth. But he performed like his usual self at the plate during that limited sample. The former NL MVP will be slotted near the middle of New York’s lineup.
- Cameron Maybin—In parts of four Florida/Miami Marlins seasons, Maybin only homered 15 times; with the Yanks this year, he has 11. Lindsey Adler of The Athletic detailed his late-career swing change (subscription required). Injuries to outfielders Aaron Hicks and Mike Tauchman cleared the way for him to make the postseason roster.
- Aaron Boone—The second-year manager passed through the 2007 Marlins late in his playing career, slashing .286/.388/.423 in 69 games. He stroked the clutch homer to send the ‘03 Yankees to the World Series...only to be upset by the Fish in that matchup.
A staple of the Yankees starting rotation for much of the regular season, Domingo Germán has been ruled out of October participation while MLB investigates an alleged domestic violence incident. Right-hander Mike King went north in the Caleb Smith/Garrett Cooper deal. He made his major league debut in late September, but there’s no role for him on their pitching staff for the time being.
- Adeiny Hechavarría—Hech signed with Atlanta after the Mets released him in mid-August, then proceeded to go on an uncharacteristically red-hot hitting binge (.328/.400/.639, 4 HR in 70 PA). This will be his second straight year in the postseason after playing a supporting role on the 2018 Yankees.
- Rafael Ortega—There was like a 10-day stretch last August when Ortega looked like maybe he could be a top-of-the-order spark plug for the Fish. He has severely regressed since then. The Venezuelan journeyman just barely sneaks onto the Braves’ NLDS roster.
- Sergio Romo—A great excuse to recycle one of my favorite GIFs of the season! Romo impressed as the Marlins closer prior to the trade deadline (3.58 ERA, 3.88 FIP, 0.5 fWAR in 37.2 IP) and proved to be a valuable reinforcement to the Twins bullpen (3.18 ERA, 3.35 FIP, 0.5 fWAR in 22.2 IP). He gained extensive postseason experience with the Giants championship teams earlier this decade.
St. Louis Cardinals
- Marcell Ozuna—The Cardinals surged to an NL Central title on the strength of their pitching and defense. Although Ozuna was a big-time bat for them throughout most of the regular season, he faded in September with a .622 OPS. The pending free agent is probably looking at a multi-year deal this winter regardless.
- Andrew Miller—Miller was not at all impressive for the 2019 Cards. He allowed career-worst totals of 11 home runs and eight hit-by-pitches with an uncomfortably high walk rate, contributing to a 5.19 FIP. Of course, he’s gone on to have a great, lucrative career since flaming out as a Marlins rotation hopeful a decade ago. Just don’t expect much from him in this particular postseason.
Tampa Bay Rays
- Nick Anderson—Rather than find room for the then-minor leaguer on their 40-man roster, the Twins flipped Anderson to the Marlins in exchange for infielder Brian Schales in a November 2018 trade. Anderson was better than expected during the first half of 2019, then achieved true dominance with the Rays in August and September. He racked up 41 strikeouts compared to one(!!!) unintentional walk in 23 relief appearances with his current club. Manager Kevin Cash will continue riding his hot hand in close games.
After being excluded from the AL Wild Card Game roster, Trevor Richards is no lock for the ALDS roster. But simply being in the mix for a spot represents a remarkable turn of events for the changeup specialist—he was discovered by the Marlins in the independent Frontier League after going undrafted out of Drury University.
- Aníbal Sánchez—On a Nats starting rotation with a well-defined top trio, Sánchez likely gets relegated to mop-up and extra-innings duty moving forward. However, the 30 starts he made this season marked his highest total since 2012. Solid signing for Washington.
- Fernando Rodney—The ageless right-hander is making his sixth career trip to the postseason...with his sixth different team. As Marlins fans know all too well, Rodney has been notoriously inconsistent. The Nats scooped him off the scrap heap in June after the 42-year-old struggled in Oakland.
Speaking of ageless, Jack McKeon remains involved in the league as an advisor to Washington’s front office. Perhaps he’ll be a good luck charm for franchise that has perennially disappointed under the brightest lights.