The Marlins started the season 3-11. Yes, it was a struggle and most were mashing the panic button pretty early on (we may have touched it a bit…). We cited that one of the major problems was the inconsistent starting pitching that allowed the bullpen to get overtaxed and, coupled with a struggling offense, things weren’t looking pretty.
Yet, one thing always remained – the defense.
Right now, the Fish have the best defense in all of baseball, and it isn’t even close. They have made only 8 errors in 921 total chances, putting them 2nd in all of MLB in that category. Jarrod Saltalamacchia had 2, before he departed, and Donovan Solano, playing in place of Dee Gordon, made 2 errors as well. Another error was from Giancarlo Stanton when shagging a fly ball that just popped out of his glove prematurely. So, despite the #2 ranking in errors, the Fish really have been pretty amazing defensively. They also rank #3 in all of MLB with a 79.1% of getting ground-ball outs.
A staple of the identity of this franchise is defense. Perry Hill was brought in here to help build up the defensive identity and has been responsible for the development of a lot of great defensive Marlins players. This team, however, may be his masterpiece. Christian Yelich won a gold glove; Adeiny Hechavarria is a threat to do so every year. Let’s not forget the potential of Dee Gordon, either.
The Fish also added Martin Prado, who has certainly upgraded both sides of the ball for the Marlins over a great season from Casey McGehee. Michael Morse is struggling offensively, but his defense has been pretty surprising.
What does it all mean? A stable gameplan to help create winning from. With a strong defense, pitching can rely on getting outs and getting out of innings without accumulating too much damage. When the offense fails, the defense is still stout. When the pitching fails, the defense still performs. Defense is the foundation for this team and one of the reasons why they have won 9 of their last 11.