On Wednesday, the Marlins will begin their first postseason series since 2003, visiting Wrigley Field against the Cubs. It’s gonna be a best-of-three series where they’ll be facing tough starters such as Yu Darvish, Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester. As was the case in both 1997 and 2003, it’s a tough road for them to claim the World Series title.
For that reason, besides doing the little things, the Marlins need their hottest hitters to stay hot. Let’s take a look at which position players looked like the best version of themselves during the games leading up to the playoffs.
Cooper was one of the most productive hitters on the Marlins during the last two weeks of the regular season, despite playing only 34 times in 2020. In his final 15 games, he registered 15 hits, with three doubles and three home runs. He had nine ribbies and nine scored runs, plus six walks. This was good for a .288/.373/.519/.892 slash line.
The 29-year-old can share time at first and the DH role with Jesús Aguilar, but the Marlins need his bat. In fact, when he collected at least one run batted in, the Fish won seven of 10 games. Cooper finished the regular campaign with a six-game hitting streak (.280).
His batted profile also makes him a dangerous opponent for the Cubs. He has steadily cut down on his ground ball tendency (from 66.7% in 2018 to 47.2% in 2020) and has become a hitter of line drives, from 23.8% in 2018 to 33.7% this year. If you combine that with his above-average numbers in barrel% (10.1) and exit velocity (90.1 MPH), that means trouble for rival pitchers.
Brian Anderson is not the most consistent of the group. In fact, he only hit for a .211 batting average and struck out 17 times in 15 games (57 at-bats) between September 14-27. BUT—and here is where the important stuff comes— his power keeps showing up.
In the final 14 days, Anderson sent five balls out of the yard and summed up 13 RBIs. Along with his two doubles, that’s why his slugging percentage was at .509 in that stretch.
It’s good for him and the Marlins that his power is popping up, especially considering he didn’t have a good exit velocity (87.4 MPH, a decrease from 89.9 MPH in 2019) and didn’t have the same success he had last year against breaking balls (down from .308 AVG/.586 SLG to .172 AVG/.281 SLG).
I know Dickerson has had trouble with his exit velocity numbers and his ground ball tendency, but he registered 15 hits (most by any Marlin and tied with Cooper) in his final 15 games.
He was the only regular member of the Fish to hit for a .300 batting average in that span, where he recorded two doubles and one home run (4 RBIs and 5 runs). Dickerson hit safely in eight of his final nine games.
What I find concerning of Dickerson is his 85.7 MPH exit velocity and his high 52.2 GB%. Considering he’s not a great runner and the Chicago Cubs defense is among the best of both leagues, that’s clearly a red flag for him.
Others who deserve to be mentioned
- Jesús Aguilar: 8-for-26, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 4 R, 4 BB, 4 K, .308/.387/.538/.926 in his final seven games.
- Jon Berti: 6-for-20, 2B, 4 RBI, 3 R, 4 BB, 5 K, .300/.417/.350/.767 in his final six games.