After a major disappointing season coming to an end, we fans start to think about what is next and what the FO has to do for improvement. Last offseason was a complete failure in terms of signing free agents or bringing adequate pieces to South Florida, as none of them produced at least average rate (analysis here). Moreover, some questionable roster moves and managerial decisions were frequently spotted throughout the year.
By early August the season was already down the drain, so multiple players started to receive opportunities while some others were demoted, aiming to get their groove back. So what happened to them? Does the future look bright? Should we still keep saying #LetTheKidsPlay? I'll focus this post only for batters, as the pitching corps are respectable, at least.
1. The sophomores: Bryan De La Cruz, Lewin Díaz and Jesús Sánchez
This is the "I dunno know what to think anymore" group, given their mixed splits. They all exceeded rookie status last year. DLC is having an enormous August + September for second straight year but we all know what happened from April to July. Lewin has been given the opportunity to regularly start at 1B after Aguilar left, but his glove and bat are diametrically opposite. Jesús gave us such high hopes in April that we all though this was his year. Yeah, well...
2. The freshmen: JJ Bleday, Nick Fortes and Charles LeBlanc
Exceeding rookie status this year, they remind me a bit of what we saw from De La Cruz and Sánchez last year. LeBlanc leads the trio in AVG, OPS and OPS+, while Fortes leads in HRs, RBIs, SBs(!!) and dWAR. JJ is behind them in almost all categories except for one: he has drawn more BBs than Nick and Charles combined in almost half of the ABs. Last, but not least, Bleday is a corner OF who can play CF every now and then, but not on a daily basis.
3. The "cup of coffee" trio: Peyton Burdick, Jerar Encarnación and Jordan Groshans
They will remain rookies for the entire 2023. Burdick has a lot of energy, but his strikeout rate is scandalous. Same can be said about Jerar just by changing the word energy for power. The youngest of all nine players here presented, I see Jordan's promotion more a reward than a necessity, but hey, he is looking just fine in all those 45 PAs.
With some interesting names coming soon to the roster via Rule 5, e.g., Griffin Conine who looks every bit like a corner-OF version of Burdick, there will be some players of this list that will not be a Marlin next season, whereas traded or released. I reckon group number 2 + Groshans are somehow safe, but I wouldn't bet on any of the others.