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Marlins hitters facing plenty of off-speed pitches

MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

ATLANTA -- It didn't take long for the Marlins to detect what Braves pitchers were trying to do on Friday night at SunTrust Park. It's what so many other clubs have done all year -- throw a high number of sliders, curveballs and off-speed pitches.

In the first inning, Matt Wisler threw 24 pitches with 15 sliders in a game the Marlins won, 2-0, in the series opener.

View Full Game Coverage

ATLANTA -- It didn't take long for the Marlins to detect what Braves pitchers were trying to do on Friday night at SunTrust Park. It's what so many other clubs have done all year -- throw a high number of sliders, curveballs and off-speed pitches.

In the first inning, Matt Wisler threw 24 pitches with 15 sliders in a game the Marlins won, 2-0, in the series opener.

View Full Game Coverage

With all the youth in the Marlins' lineup, a growing number of clubs are attacking with secondary pitches.

"Especially with a young team like we have, guys are not quite adjusted to the off-speed pitches yet," catcher J.T. Realmuto said. "That's something that takes time, especially big league off-speed where guys have really good stuff."

Wisler threw 85 pitches on Friday, with 43 of them sliders.

"Most everybody can hit the fastball," said Realmuto, who didn't start on Saturday but is expected to on Sunday. "It's usually the off-speed that gives you trouble. I feel like that's where teams are pitching us. We've got a lot of youth and not a lot of experience."

Video: MIA@ATL: Straily, Mattingly discuss win over Braves

According to Statcast™, as a team, all Marlins hitters are seeing off-speed pitches at a 37.6 percent rate, which ranks 16th most in the Major Leagues. Now, it's not just young teams seeing secondary pitches. Power-hitting clubs like the Yankees are seeing 40 percent off-speed pitches, which is fifth most.

"I think it's definitely a trend," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "There were some articles out last year about what guys hit off breaking balls and fastballs. I think, in a sense, it's a trend. But it goes back to the individual guy, who you're facing that night. If he doesn't have a good breaking ball, throwing breaking balls doesn't make any sense."

The two Marlins seeing the most off-speed pitches are rookies Brian Anderson (43.5 percent) and Lewis Brinson (43.1 percent).

"It seems like a lot of guys are spinning the ball against us," said Anderson, who turned 25 on Saturday. "I don't know if it's because we're a young team or not, but we're definitely seeing a good, healthy dose of off-speed right now."

Not just the rookies are seeing spin, Realmuto has faced 42.3 percent off-speed pitches, the third most on the club. A year ago, the percentage was 38.4 percent.

Realmuto has made the adjustments, and is batting .362 against off-speed pitches, compared to Anderson's .206. Brinson is at .152.

Video: LAD@MIA: Anderson opens the scoring with an RBI knock

"I don't mind," Realmuto said of seeing non-fastballs. "If you throw an off-speed pitch that's in the zone, for me, that's a good pitch to hit. It's the guys who throw chase breaking balls. There's a few guys who throw it in the zone, it's tough to hit. But I don't mind hitting off-speed pitches, as long as they're up in the zone."

As for advice for the rookies, Realmuto said it's a matter of finding what works.

"It's an adjustment period," he said. "Everybody goes through it. You have to make adjustments, you have to figure out what works in your swing to be on time with the fastball, and still be able to hit the off-speed pitches. It comes with experience, and comes with time. Some guys already have it."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Miami Marlins