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What Went Well: May 2022 edition

Amid a rough month of play, the Fish still managed to have a few bright spots in May.

Miami Marlins designated hitter Jorge Soler (12) reacts in the dugout after hitting a two run home run against the Atlanta Braves during the seventh inning at Truist Park. Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The saying “April showers bring May flowers” wasn’t applicable to the 2022 Miami Marlins. After getting off to an uncharacteristically encouraging 12-8 start in the season’s first month, they regressed, going 7-19 in May to plummet to 19-27 overall. The situation is so dire that team executives are taking to the airwaves to do damage control.

Fortunately, the record alone is not reflective of the Marlins’ talent. Amid their May struggles, there were shades of light that made it more tolerable and point to better results on the horizon.

Stellar Sandy

Building on a 1.78 ERA in the month of April, Sandy Alcantara did as he usually does: deliver ace-like performance. Posting a 2.13 ERA over 42 13 innings pitched—tied with Texas’ Martín Pérez for 2nd in the month of May—Alcantara firmly established himself as a legitimate Cy Young candidate in the National League. Over his last 4 starts in May, Alcantara allowed just 3 earned runs over 32 innings (0.84 ERA), with Miami winning all of those games. While he was an already-respected pitcher around the league, the fire-baller’s combination of effectiveness and durability has elevated him into the conversation of ten best pitchers in the sport.

Garrett Cooper: Same As He Ever Was

In 257 career games through April 30, Garrett Cooper had posted a slash line of .280/.356/.448 for a solid .804 OPS. How did he fare in 24 May contests? How about .289/.350/.456 for total OPS of .806.

“It’s a positive in its own right to even have (Cooper) play in 24 games in a single month,” our own Ely Sussman said on The Offishial Show.

He isn’t a “sexy” type of player, but when healthy, Cooper consistently rates as a well-above-average big league hitter (117 OPS+). He is staying true to his track record so far in 2022.

Soler Power

After getting off to a rough start in April (.587 OPS), new face Jorge Soler began to settle into South Beach. Hitting 9 home runs and posting a .619 slugging percentage, Soler exited the season’s second month with a more respectable .215/.308/.466 line, raising his OPS to .774. He’ll be crucial to any scenario in which the Fish have a successful 2022 season. Looking further ahead, the prospect of the left fielder exercising the opt-out in his contract next winter isn’t so absurd anymore.

Jesús Sánchez = 496 Feet

When the Marlins initially anointed Jesús Sánchez as their everyday center fielder, he validated it with a season-opening hot streak. But that was followed by a run of futility—over 81 May plate appearances, Sánchez hit a combined .158/.210/.303 with 27 strikeouts, and a -1.125 WPA (Win Probability Added). Why mention him in here? Because Sánchez would go out with a bang in the month’s final game, hitting a 496-foot home run in Colorado. Already the longest MLB home run hit this season, Sánchez’s blast ranks among the five longest we’ve seen in the entire Statcast era.

A Sign of Greener Pastures?

NL East Standings as of 05/31/22.

At the end of play on May 31, the 4th-place Fish were one of just two NL East teams—the other being the New York Mets (+77)—to have a positive run differential. This team was really playing .500 ball per their Pythagorean Win-Loss record (23-23).

As frustrated as fans should be with key veterans underperforming and sub-optimal managerial decisions, there is also an undeniable element of bad luck at play. Expect that to eventually flip in their favor.