Have you ever thought about what would happen if we combined the best attributes from every Marlins player to create a singular offensive juggernaut? Combining Garret Cooper’s power numbers with Miguel Rojas’ ability to make contact with the ball could create one of the best dynamics in baseball. In this article series, we will evaluate which players have the best offensive tools, such as power, plate discipline, etc, and eventually put them all together to create the perfect Marlins batter. In a later article, we will create the perfect Marlins pitcher.
Analysts and scouts utilize different methods to evaluate hitters. Scouts use the 20-80 scale to rate different player attributes such as:
Analysts, on the other hand, use the scouts’ methods as well as other statistics to reflect a player’s plate discipline (walks and strikeouts), type of contact, launch angle, and many others.
Let’s look at which players in the Marlins organization possess the best attributes, and at the end, we will simulate how somebody with their combined skill set would perform in a 162-game season.
Hit: Brian Anderson
Brian Anderson came up to the Marlins in 2017 and since then has proven the hype is real. In 2019, he proved himself as Miami’s best player posting great offensive numbers and playing good defense at the hot corner. Some of the great minor leaguers that the Marlins have on the farm might have slightly better hit tools than Brian, but since Anderson has proven himself an above-average hitter in the majors, I will take his hit tool as the best in the organization.
Anderson had the highest wRC+ with the Marlins in 2019, as well as the best Hard-Hit Rate and a very balanced approach at the plate. Brian Anderson will go to any side of the field and not just pull the ball as many major leaguers do in this era. His Pull/Cent/Oppo Percentages are .382/.328/.290, respectively.
Honorable Mention: JJ Bleday
Plate Discipline: Isan Díaz and Miguel Rojas
Miguel Rojas? Really? Why would you put Rojas in this if he has never even had an OPS above .740? Well, Miguel might not be the most polished hitter, but if we take a look at his strikeout numbers, you might see what he’s very good at: putting the ball in play. Behind the Pirates’ Kevin Newman, Rojas had the second lowest K% in the National League, as he only struck out a mere 62 times in 484 At-Bats.
Isan Díaz is probably the most obvious pick here. The left-handed hitter had the third-highest BB% in 2019 at 9.5% and has consistently shown an ability to be patient at the plate. In his last three years in the minor leagues, Isan posted an OBP that was 90 points higher than his batting average. Even during his stint in the majors, he finished within .04 of the 90-point mark.
A very low strikeout rate combined with Anderson’s ability to hit and Isan’s patience at the plate might be one of the best combinations of attributes in the MLB.
Power: Lewin Díaz
Lewin Díaz...DEEEEEEEP to straightaway center field...in a rainstorm pic.twitter.com/EDywctgRRL— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) June 16, 2020
With such a loaded farm system, it was hard to determine who has the most power in the Marlins organization. Therefore, I went with results, and Lewin Díaz has shown to be a top candidate for this attribute.
Lewin has shown the organization that he will very soon bring strength to the Marlins lineup. In 2019, the 6-foot-4 left-handed hitter hit 27 home runs to go with 33 doubles in 121 games last season (most of that production came before he was traded over from the Twins). Scouts gave the slugger a grade of 55 in the power department, but with the numbers he put up last year, perhaps that 55 should have been higher.
Even though ISO might not be considered the best statistic to measure power, it is still important to take it into account. Lewin Díaz had an ISO of .260 in 2019, which is classified as “Excellent” by FanGraphs, and basically doubled the MLB average of .140.
With such a compact swing and impressive bat speed, if everything goes according to plan, Díaz will launch homers to the right field porch in Marlins Park very soon.
Honorable mentions: Jerar Encarnación, Garret Cooper.
Defense: Miguel Rojas
This was an easy one. Rojas is the most talented defender the Marlins have at the major-league level. He posted the highest defensive WAR for the Marlins in 2019, the second highest OAA (Outs Above Average) with six behind only former Marlin Starlin Castro, and had the fifth-highest UZR among shortstops in the Major Leagues.
Arm: JJ Bleday and Nasim Nuñez
There’s not many statistics that can tell us how strong the arm of a defender is; therefore, I will take the scouts’ word for it. Nasim and JJ both have 60-grade arm strength in their scouting reports.
Run: Nasim Nuñez
Chosen in the second round of the 2019 draft, Nasim Nuñez was praised for his speed on the base paths. Scouts rated Nuñez’s running ability at 65, which is tied for highest in the organization with Connor Scott. The reason why I chose the young shortstop was because his numbers were simply out of this world: in 2019, the speedy infielder stole 28 bags in only 51 games.
Honorable Mention: Jonathan Villar, Connor Scott.
SWAG: Monte “Chains-out” Harrison
No doubts about this one. The chains, the sleeve, the style, and the confidence.
Bat Flip: Jerar Encarnación
If we were in 2016, this battle would be between Giancarlo Stanton and Adeiny Hechavarria. Stanton’s bat flip against Jason Grilli to celebrate his moonshot of a home run after Grilli struck him out the day before was legendary. On the other hand, Hech would bat flip for almost every hit he got. Whether you liked it or not, he had the sauce.
Recently, we have not had that many crazy bat flips, so I had to dig a little bit deeper and go into the farm to find some hidden gems. This is what I stumbled upon:
Thankful for Jerar Encarnación bat flips pic.twitter.com/wDpdm8Ndok— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) November 28, 2019
Now we must put it all together and see how the “Perfect” Marlin will perform in a 162-game season. The first thing we need to know is that for a player, a whole season consists of an average of 650 PA. This player walks 10% of the time (Isan Díaz), strikes out 11.5% of the time (Miguel Rojas), hits to all sides of the field and averages 160 hits a season (Brian Anderson), hits around 27 home runs, 33 doubles, and 2 triples (Lewin Diaz), steals around 55 bases (Nasim Nuñez), and is very close to winning a gold glove (Rojas).
I should note I implemented minor league numbers and projections—for Lewin Díaz and Nasim Nuñez—to simplify things a bit. In due time, I do believe those numbers will come in the major leagues soon enough.
The cut in strikeouts, from 21% (Brian Anderson) to 11.5% (Rojas), led to improvement in several other statistics.
After all calculations and a couple of simulations, the Perfect 2019 Marlin ended up hitting 31 home runs, 38 doubles, and 2 triples while accumulating a total of 170 hits. If there ever was a player with all of these qualities put together, we can estimate that he would hit around .299/.399/.537. Just picture 2019 Juan Soto with much better defense in a Marlins uniform.
If you want to know how I calculated this, do not hesitate to DM on Twitter @eherrero__ .