Kim Ng on Marlins' season, looking ahead to '23

October 11th, 2022

This story was excerpted from Christina De Nicola's Marlins Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Miami is more than happy to leave a disappointing 2022 behind.

After an extended lockout, the Marlins arrived at Spring Training with hopes of contending. Instead, they lost 93 games and finished fourth in the National League East.

"The record is not necessarily indicative of the talent I think we've got on the club that we had at the beginning of the season, and if we were healthy," general manager Kim Ng said. "Again, I think injuries really hurt us, and I think if we had half the injuries that we had, we would be talking about a different scenario. August and September can be a little bit deceiving because we brought up a bunch of rookies to see how they would play against Major League talent."

Here's 2022 in review:

Defining moment: End of first half
The Marlins managed to stay afloat at two games below .500 until the Phillies swept them before the All-Star break. Miami scored one run that weekend, setting the tone for a 26-45 second half that included a 23-game stretch of scoring four runs or fewer, three shy of the Divisional Era record (since 1969).

What we learned: Never enough depth
Miami added via trade to provide more positional flexibility alongside Brian Anderson and Jon Berti. That worked for the first month before the injury bug struck, with the Marlins finishing with the eighth-most days lost to injury in MLB per Baseball Prospectus.

"We did add depth, but over the course of 162 games, I think we saw that no matter how deep we thought we were, we need to do better," Ng said. "We need to do better in Triple-A, and I think that's also a function of a still-growing player-development system and making sure those players are progressing as quickly as they can."

Best development: and
López had never pitched a full season because of shoulder issues, but the 26-year-old righty blew away his previous career highs for innings (180 from 111 1/3) and starts (32 from 21) by staying healthy. With a Top-15 fWAR, he proved to be a worthy No. 2 behind .

When the Marlins acquired Luzardo ahead of the 2021 Trade Deadline, he was in the middle of a down season (64 ERA+ and 6.61 ERA). Outside of missing two months with a left forearm strain, the 25-year-old saw development across the board: a 123 ERA+ with 10.8 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9. A more reliable rotation could help with the next category …

Area for improvement: Hitting
Miami's free-agent signees and combined for 21 homers and 69 RBIs. Even with them healthy, the Marlins' lineup leaves much to be desired compared to the three playoff clubs within the division.

"I think the offense that we worked very hard on last offseason and trying to reconfigure, some of the performances were a little underwhelming, and I would have liked to have seen more," Ng said. "It points us in the direction of what we need to focus on this offseason."

On the rise:
Miami didn't recall Fortes until May 27. When scuffled, he saw more playing time and took advantage. Fortes, who turns 26 next month, saw significant improvement behind the plate. During his first big league stint in 2021, he committed one error and recorded four passed balls in seven games. He didn't make an error and had one passed ball in 59 games in '22. Before the season ended, then-manager Don Mattingly compared Fortes to Dodgers catcher Will Smith.

Team MVP: Alcantara
Alcantara should capture the franchise's first NL Cy Young Award after leading MLB in innings by a significant margin and recording the most complete games since 2016.