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What Went Well: April 2022 edition

Recapping some of the highs for the Fish from the first month of the 2022 season.

Jazz Chisholm Jr. #2 and Jesus Sanchez #7 of the Miami Marlins celebrate after defeating the Seattle Mariners 8-6 at loanDepot park Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The 2022 season arrived with new faces and heightened expectations for the Miami Marlins. So far, so good for the Fish: they went 12-8 during the month of April with a plus-10 run differential. And that’s despite slow starts from free agent pick-ups Jorge Soler and Avisaíl García and first baseman Jesús Aguilar (among others).

This marks the beginning of a new article series where we’ll be highlighting standout performances from the previous month.

Pablo López’s league-leading April

From the get-go this season, Pablo López has been a sure thing on the mound. Through 4 starts, López sports a MLB-best 0.39 ERA, good enough for a 1,002 ERA+. Doing so over 23 13 innings pitched, the changeup specialist has done so without allowing a home run. Lost in the shuffle of his changeup, though, is the continued effectiveness of López’s cutter. In 10 plate appearances ending on the pitch, hitters are 0-for-9 with an xBA of .118.

Pitching, Pitching, and More Pitching

We already made mention of López’s fast start, but the collective 3.03 ERA (7th) and 2.1 fWAR (6th) from the starting rotation shouldn’t be ignored. Other highlights include Sandy Alcantara, who finished April with a 1.78 ERA. And though his 5.09 ERA isn’t great on the surface, Trevor Rogers did sport a 2.99 FIP while keeping with his propensity to limit home runs. Speaking of starters with encouraging peripherals...

Jesús Luzardo’s breakout?

Jesús Luzardo’s first go-round with the club in 2021 was not pretty—6.44 ERA in 57 13 innings—but the former stud prospect clearly had tools for the Marlins to work with. His fastball ranked in the 83rd percentile in average velocity and late in the year, he began utilizing his nasty, slurvy breaking ball at a higher frequency.

While the walks are still a bit of a concern four starts into 2022 (4.0 BB/9), the left-hander is striking out a career-best 12.4 batters per nine innings while boasting a vast reduction in HR/9 (from 1.4 to 0.4). His fastball has gained even more heat, moving up to the 93rd percentile in velo, not to mention more precise command.

Luzardo is a pitcher who appears much more confident in his abilities. With a brilliant 2.26 FIP, we should be confident in him moving forward, too.

The Jazz is Smoother

If the National League had an answer to the White Sox’s Tim Anderson, it’d be Jazz Chisholm Jr. Flashing plus power (18 HR) and plus speed (23 SB) in 2021, Chisholm emerged as one of the sport’s brightest and most marketable young stars. But he fizzled after an early-season injury and rated as a below-average hitter overall.

Fast forward to 2022, the first month of Chisholm’s sophomore season has been nothing short of terrific. In 16 April games, Chisholm slashed .298/.344/.667 (192 OPS+), and the high-quality defense he flashed at second base last season (+5 DRS) seems to be holding up (+2 DRS in 136 innings).

Chisholm still has to figure out left-handed pitchers—and earn Don Mattingly’s trust to get substantial playing time against them—but fans in Miami should be looking to the Bahamian native as a star growing ever brighter.