STAT OF THE DAY (4/21 at ATL)

Following a 3-game sweep of the Mariners and a 4-2 homestand, the Marlins are off to a 9-4 start at Marlins Park, giving them their best home record through 13 games since 2011 (also 9-4).

Tonight they embark upon their 2nd road trip of the season, a 7-day, 6-game journey to Atlanta and New York. After being on the wrong end of 3-game sweeps in Washington and Philadelphia on their first trip of the year, Miami has started 0-6 on the road for the first time ever. They opened 0-5 away from home in 1998.

Here’s a look at the Marlins’ dramatic early-season home-road splits:

 

HOME (9-4): .293 AVG, .360 OBP, .437 SLG, 5.8 RPG, 2.54 ERA, 3.4 R allowed, .235 AVG

ROAD (0-6): .230 AVG, .315 OBP, .368 SLG, 3.0 RPG, 6.16 ERA, 6.2 R allowed, .303 AVG

 

That’s today’s Stat of the Day. To have the Stat of the Day delivered to you directly via e-mail, click the “Follow” button and enter your e-mail address.

The Marlins send Tom Koehler to the mound in Atlanta at 7:10 tonight. Our coverage on 940 WINZ and the Marlins Radio Network begins at 6:40 with Marlins On Deck. A full list of network affiliates—and information about how you can tune in online, on your mobile devices or via satellite radio–is located at http://glenngeffner.mlblogs.com/2014/03/13/hear-here-2/

For more on the Marlins and Major League Baseball, follow me on Twitter at @GlennGeffner and friend me on Facebook at Facebook.com/GlennGeffner. To have new Fish Tales posts and the Stat of the Day delivered directly to you via email, please click the “Follow” button and enter your email address. And you can catch Marlins play-by-play on the radio all season long on new flagship station AM 940 WINZ and the Marlins Radio Network.

STAT OF THE DAY (4/20 vs. SEA)

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With their early-season production, Adeiny Hechavarria and Marcell Ozuna have the Marlins jumping for joy.

One of the challenges for any major league manager early in a season is finding where certain players fit best in the batting order. Marlins skipper Mike Redmond has to be very encouraged by the opening-month production he’s seen from Marcell Ozuna hitting near the top of the lineup and from Adeiny Hechavarria near the bottom.

Ozuna, who launched a 3-run homer and matched his career best with 4 RBI in last night ‘a 7-0 win over the Mariners, has taken off since being inserted into the 2 hole, presumably in part because he’s seeing better pitches to hit batting in front of Giancarlo Stanton.

Ozuna hits 2nd against the Mariners this afternoon for the 5th consecutive game and for the 7th time in his last 8 starts after hitting 6th, 7th or 8th to begin the year.

While he’s not necessarily your prototypical 2-hole hitter, with his light-tower power and a propensity to strike out, the 23-year-old center fielder has batted .407 (11-for-27) with a 1.006 OPS out of the 2 spot. He has 2 doubles, a homer, 6 RBI and 7 runs scored in the 6 games.

As for Hechavarria, who had his 4th game of the season with at least 3 hits last night, we’ve seen him hit 1st, 2nd, 7th and 8th already this season. He’ll hit 6th for the first time this afternoon.

In 5 games batting in the top 2 spots, the Miami shortstop has hit just .227 (5-for-22) with a double, no walks and 2 runs scored.

In 13 games hitting 7th or 8th, the 25-year-old Hechavarria has batted .362 (17-for-47) with 3 doubles, 2 triples, 3 RBI, 4 walks and 9 runs scored.

Redmond has said on many occasions he envisions Hechavarria as a top-of-the-lineup table setter in the years ahead as he refine his approach at the plate. And the Marlins manager has also said Ozuna profiles as a long-term middle-of-the-order force with further seasoning.

But for now, both Hechavarria and Ozuna are flourishing in their current roles, both key contributors to an offense that ranks 2nd in the National League and 3rd in all of Baseball in runs scored.

That’s today’s Stat of the Day. To have the Stat of the Day delivered to you directly via e-mail, click the “Follow” button and enter your e-mail address.

The Marlins look to complete a 3-game sweep of the Mariners and close out a 4-2 homestand at 1:10 this afternoon. Our coverage on 940 WINZ and the Marlins Radio Network begins at 12:40 with Marlins On Deck. A full list of network affiliates—and information about how you can tune in online, on your mobile devices or via satellite radio–is located at http://glenngeffner.mlblogs.com/2014/03/13/hear-here-2/

For more on the Marlins and Major League Baseball, follow me on Twitter at @GlennGeffner and friend me on Facebook at Facebook.com/GlennGeffner. To have new Fish Tales posts and the Stat of the Day delivered directly to you via email, please click the “Follow” button and enter your email address. And you can catch Marlins play-by-play on the radio all season long on new flagship station AM 940 WINZ and the Marlins Radio Network.

STAT OF THE DAY (4/19 vs. SEA)

With his 2nd 5-RBI game in 3 games last night, Giancarlo Stanton ran his major league-leading RBI total to 26 through only 17 games. He knocked in 27 runs in his previous 3 Aprils in the big leagues combined (63 games).

Stanton drove in 2 runs on Opening Night, March 31, so technically, he has 24 RBI in April with 10 games remaining.

Stanton’s career high for RBI in a month is 30, set in May of 2012.

The major league record for RBI through the end of April (including any games that may have been played in March) is 36, set by Juan Gonzalez of the Rangers in 1998 and matched by Mark McGwire of the Cardinals in 1998.

The major league record for RBI solely in the month of April (not counting games played in March) is 35 by Gonzalez in ’98. The NL mark of 32 April RBI is shared by Barry Bonds with the Giants in 1996, McGwire in ’98 and Albert Pujols with the Cardinals in 2006.

The Marlins club record for RBI in April (and also through the end of April) is 30, set by Moises Alou in 1997.

The club high for RBI in any single month is 33, established by Hanley Ramirez in June of 2009.

In case you’re wondering, Giancarlo’s got a long way to go to run down the modern (post 1900) big league high for RBI in any calendar month. Yankees Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio knocked in 53 runs in August of 1939. The modern NL record for RBI in a month is 47, set by New York Giants Hall of Famer Mel Ott in June of 1929.

And, as I Tweeted last night, with 26 RBI through only 17 games, Stanton is already 30 percent of the way to his full-season career high in RBI of 87, posted in 2011.

That’s today’s Stat of the Day. To have the Stat of the Day delivered to you directly via e-mail, click the “Follow” button and enter your e-mail address.

The Marlins and the Mariners continue their series tonight at 7:10. Our coverage on 940 WINZ and the Marlins Radio Network begins at 6:40 with Marlins On Deck. A full list of network affiliates—and information about how you can tune in online, on your mobile devices or via satellite radio–is located at http://glenngeffner.mlblogs.com/2014/03/13/hear-here-2/

For more on the Marlins and Major League Baseball, follow me on Twitter at @GlennGeffner and friend me on Facebook at Facebook.com/GlennGeffner. To have new Fish Tales posts and the Stat of the Day delivered directly to you via email, please click the “Follow” button and enter your email address. And you can catch Marlins play-by-play on the radio all season long on new flagship station AM 940 WINZ and the Marlins Radio Network.

UPON FURTHER REVIEW…

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Amid all the conversation about the inadequacies of Major League Baseball’s new instant replay system, it’s important to remember nobody ever promised perfection. That’s an impossible standard. But the fact is, more correct calls will be made in 2014 than in 2013.

It’s also important to understand, as has been pointed out on several occasions, that there will be some tweaking to the system over the next few years. What we have today isn’t set in stone for the next hundred years. There will be some adjustments made.

Overall, I can live with the framework of the system that’s in place although my preference from the beginning was to have a 5th umpire, a replay umpire, in each ballpark for every game in 2014. He’d sit in the press box and immediately review every single play as it happens, like they do in College Football. His attention wouldn’t be divided among multiple games, and it would probably save a good amount of time.

With that not being the choice MLB made, here are 2 things that I think ought to be done to immediately improve the process:

The silliest part of the system as it works today—and the biggest waste of time in an era when many are concerned with pace of game—is the need for the manager to make his deliberate walk out to an umpire, then make 60 seconds of small talk while staff back in the clubhouse views the replay over and over to determine whether or not a challenge is in order.

I don’t think these numbers exist, but I’d be willing to bet that more than half the time the manager makes this walk to the field, he then makes the walk back without challenging the call that brought him out of the dugout. That’s a huge waste of time, and the optics are silly at best.

Here’s how you fix this, as I proposed on the air earlier in the homestand:

If a team thinks there’s a chance it may want to challenge a call, the manager immediately calls out to the home plate umpire and asks for timeout to consider making a challenge. The home plate umpire pulls out a stopwatch. The manager then has 45 seconds to tell him whether or not he wishes to challenge. No slow walk out to the field, and no slow walk back. Timeout. 45 seconds. Yes or no. Move on one way or the other.

The second thing I think Major League Baseball needs to do in order to bring a sense of credibility and accountability to the process is announce who the replay umpire sitting in the command center in New York is for every game every night. Why should there be anonymity? Just like the guy calling the balls and strikes, the replay umpire needs to be accountable for decisions he may make.

Do those suggestions make an imperfect system perfect? Certainly not. But they’re a step in the right direction, and they could be implemented immediately.

For more on the Marlins and Major League Baseball, follow me on Twitter at @GlennGeffner and friend me on Facebook at Facebook.com/GlennGeffner. To have new Fish Tales posts and my Stat of the Day delivered directly to you via email, please click the “Follow” button and enter your email address. And you can catch Marlins play-by-play on the radio all season long on new flagship station AM 940 WINZ and the Marlins Radio Network.

STAT OF THE DAY (4/18 vs. SEA)

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Here’s today’s lesson in Sabermetrics:

Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) is a statistic devised to measure the results a pitcher can control: strikeouts, walks, hit by pitches and home runs. It has nothing to do with the quality of a defense behind a pitcher and nothing to do with the luck involved with balls put in play turning into hits or outs.

According to Fangraphs.com, an average FIP is around 4.00 (the lower the better), and 2.90 is considered excellent.

So far in 2014, tonight’s Marlins starter Nathan Eovaldi has a 2.06 FIP (19 strikeouts, 1 walk, 1 hit batter and 1 home run allowed in 19.1 IP). That ranks Eovaldi 2nd to only Atlanta’s Ervin Santana (1.97) in the National League.

For context, during his remarkable 2013 Rookie of the Year campaign, Jose Fernandez finished 4th in the NL with a 2.73 FIP, behind Matt Harvey (2.00), Clayton Kershaw (2.39) and Adam Wainwright (2.55). 

If you’d like to really frighten someone at a party this weekend (and potentially be escorted to the door), you can memorize the formula for FIP:

FIP = ((13*HR)+(3*(BB+HBP))-(2*K))/IP + constant

The constant is designed to bring FIP onto an ERA scale and is generally around 3.20. It is derived by subtracting the league-average FIP in a given season from league-average ERA.

Hope you feel smarter now that you’ve read this. I do after writing it.

That’s today’s Stat of the Day. To have the Stat of the Day delivered to you directly via e-mail, click the “Follow” button and enter your e-mail address. 

Eovaldi puts that stellar FIP on the line tonight as he and the Marlins open a 3-game interleague home series against the Seattle Mariners at 7:10. Our coverage on 940 WINZ and the Marlins Radio Network begins at 6:40 with Marlins On Deck. A full list of network affiliates—and information about how you can tune in online, on your mobile devices or via satellite radio–is located at http://glenngeffner.mlblogs.com/2014/03/13/hear-here-2/

For more on the Marlins and Major League Baseball, follow me on Twitter at @GlennGeffner and friend me on Facebook at Facebook.com/GlennGeffner. To have new Fish Tales posts and the Stat of the Day delivered directly to you via email, please click the “Follow” button and enter your email address. And you can catch Marlins play-by-play on the radio all season long on new flagship station AM 940 WINZ and the Marlins Radio Network.

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