The Miami Marlins opened up the vault last winter adding Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Ozzie Guillen. They had high hopes of contending in their first season in their brand new stadium, but things just didn’t work out that way. The Marlins finished in last place in the N.L. East with a 69-93 (42.6%) record, 29 games behind the Washington Nationals. Here is a look at the players that made the biggest difference for the Marlins in 2012, in my opinion:
Team MVP: Giancarlo Stanton - 22-year old righty swinging RF Giancarlo Stanton was outstanding when he was healthy in 2012. Stanton played in 123 games for the Marlins last year and he was 130 of 449 (.290 avg, .969 OPS) with 75 runs scored, 37 homers, 86 RBIs and 6 stolen bases. The Marlins went into the tank when he was injured.
Best Pitcher: Mark Buehrle - 33-year old lefty starting pitcher Mark Buehrle delivered like he always does in 2012. He started 31 games for the Marlins in 2012 and he was 13-13 with a 3.74 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. He worked 202 1/3 innings for the Fish, helping give the bullpen a little rest every five days. Buehrle would have had a lot better record if he had more help on the days he pitched.
Biggest Surprise: Justin Ruggiano - 30-year old righty swinging Justin Ruggiano got called up when injuries ransacked the Marlins’ outfield and he excelled. Ruggiano played in 91 games for the Marlins in 2012 and he was 90 for 288 (.313 avg, .909 OPS) with 38 runs scored, 13 homers, 36 RBIs and 14 stolen bases. He likely won himself a starting job in the Marlins’ outfield for 2013.
Biggest Disappointment: Heath Bell - The Marlins gave 35-year old righty reliever Heath Bell a huge deal last winter, hoping that he would be the closer. But, he was so awful early in the year that he lost the job before the All-Star Break. Bell pitched in 73 games (0 starts) for the Marlins last year and he was 4-5 with 19 saves, a 5.09 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP.