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Marlins Prioritizing High-Contact Hitters This Offseason

Marlins Planning To Retain GM Kim Ng

For the second straight offseason, the Marlins will head into the winter needing to overhaul their offense. Miami added four everyday players to the lineup last offseason, signing Jorge Soler and Avisaíl García while acquiring Jacob Stallings and Joey Wendle via trade. The hope was that quartet would elevate the hitting enough to compete for a playoff spot behind their excellent starting rotation.

That hasn’t panned out. All four of those players underperformed, and Miami’s offensive performance has barely changed. After hitting .241/.308/.386 last season (excluding pitchers), the Fish carry a .230/.294/.363 team line into play Saturday. The dip in raw numbers is partially attributable to the league-wide downturn in offense. By measure of wRC+, the Marlins were 11 points below league average offensively last season; they’ve been 12 points below average this year. That’s obviously not what the front office had in mind, and it’s no coincidence they’ve lost more than 90 games for the fourth straight 162-game season.

Fixing the lineup is certain to be a priority in the coming months, and the Marlins are preparing to attack the offseason in a different manner. Barry Jackson and Craig Mish of the Miami Herald report the team plans to prioritize adding high-contact hitters and faster runners to the roster. According to the Herald, the increased emphasis on bat-to-ball skills is rooted both in the team’s spacious home ballpark and the forthcoming limitations on defensive shifting, which will theoretically slightly improve the league’s batting average on balls in play.

Obviously, the Marlins won’t take so rigid an approach as to rule out adding power hitters entirely. Yet the club’s two big free agent acquisitions last year, Soler and García, are low-contact sluggers. Soler struck out at a roughly average 23.6% clip last year, but he’d fanned in over 26% of his plate appearances in each of the three prior seasons. He’s gone down on strikes 29.4% of the time his first season in Miami. García had struck out at a roughly average level every year from 2019-21, but that’s largely attributable to an extremely aggressive approach that often leads to early-count balls in play. He’d made contact on less than 70% of his swings in each of those seasons, well below the 75-76% league marks. García has struck out in a personal-worst 28.3% of his plate appearances this year.

Both players will be back in South Florida next season. Soler has…

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