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Old Friends 2020 regular season roundup

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Updates on dozens of former Marlins major leaguers.

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Milwaukee Brewers Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020 MLB regular season was more condensed than any other in history, particularly for the Marlins who packed 57 games into the final 55 days of their schedule. Combining that with the stunning fact that they spent the whole summer in playoff contention, it was understandably difficult for fans to dedicate any mental bandwidth to what was happening elsewhere in the baseball world. I won’t attempt to summarize it all, but you might appreciate getting caught up on what these Old Friends have been up to.

The following players appeared for the Marlins in multiple major league seasons before being traded, released, waived or entering free agency. Some of them are easy to root for while others departed on salty terms. Either way, I’d like to acknowledge their existence.

MLB Hitters

Active for postseason: Cameron Maybin (Cubs), Marcell Ozuna (Braves), Giancarlo Stanton (Yankees), Christian Yelich (Brewers)

FanGraphs
  • Castro (broken wrist), Austin Dean (COVID-19) and Stanton (hamstring strain) had their campaigns derailed by injury/illness. With seven years still remaining on his ginormous contract, the 2017 NL MVP has become a full-time designated hitter—he never played the field in 23 regular season games for the Yanks in 2020.
  • Yelich posted the sixth-highest strikeout total in the majors and after years of routinely dominating on batting average of balls in play, his luck dried up in that department. This combination resulted in a frustrating summer, though the Brew Crew snuck into the expanded postseason anyway.
  • Ozuna made good on his one-year pillow contract by contending for the NL Triple Crown! And Donovan Solano sparked the rebuilding Giants by almost nabbing the NL batting title for himself. Both players ought to be well-compensated for 2021.
Miami Marlins v Atlanta Braves Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images
  • Maybin began the season with the Tigers, but was shipped to Chicago on trade deadline day. The Marlins will face him during the NL Wild Card Series.

MLB Pitchers

Active for postseason: Brad Hand (Indians), Nick Wittgren (Indians)

FanGraphs
  • It’s been five seasons since the Marlins waived Hand. Since then, he’s one of only nine pitchers in the majors to convert at least 100 saves. Still at the top of his game, he just posted a career-best 2.05 earned run average.
  • Another lefty that the Fish essentially gave away, Jarlin García outperformed his peripherals by an incredible margin in 2020. He rebounded from a summer camp COVID-19 case to become a key cog in the Giants bullpen.
  • AJ Ramos finally resurfaced in The Show after battling shoulder issues the past few years. Great comeback story.
  • Steve Cishek will not get to contribute for the White Sox in October after being released on Monday.

International Hitters

Fish Stripes original GIF

Beefy slugger Justin Bour took his talents to Japan for his age-32 season where he has settled in as the regular first baseman for the Hanshin Tigers. He’s slashing .250/.339/.438 through 81 games with 15 home runs.

International/Independent Pitchers

  • Perceived as fringy major leaguers entering 2020, Dan Straily (Lotte Giants) and Odrisamer Despaigne (KT Wiz) have re-established themselves in the Korea Baseball Organization. Straily leads the league by a wide margin with 147 strikeouts, while Despaigne is first in starts (25) and innings pitched (154 23)
  • Henderson Alvarez helped the Milwaukee Milkmen to an American Association championship (2.90 ERA in 31.0 IP). Today happens to be the seventh anniversary of his Marlins no-hitter! Alvarez is still hopeful about latching on with a major league team in 2021.
  • Justin Nicolino struggled in the hitter-friendly Chinese Professional Baseball League and missed time with shoulder inflammation. The Rakuten Monkeys released him in early September.