Power arms bringing the heat in Marlins' rotation
PITTSBURGH -- Matching power with power is the fastest way the Marlins anticipate getting back into contention.
Miami's strongest area is power arms in their rotation.
Jose Fernandez and Nathan Eovaldi, specifically, boast big-time power fastballs.
While Fernandez, who turned 21 last week, has gained more notoriety, Eovaldi actually right now boosts the highest average fastball velocity of any starting pitcher in the Major Leagues.
According to the FanGraphs web site, Eovaldi's average fastball is 96.2 mph, which is a few ticks ahead of Pittsburgh's Gerrit Cole, who ranks second at 95.9 mph.
With his fastball being such an effective pitch, Eovaldi is throwing it 71.4 percent of the time, FanGraphs says.
"I think to win, you've got to have some power arms," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "I really believe in that."
As a player, Redmond was part of the Marlins' 2003 World Series title team, which featured a number of hard-throwers, including Josh Beckett, Brad Penny and A.J. Burnett, who missed most of that season due to injury. But in '03, Dontrelle Willis was a rookie left-hander who at the time was throwing his fastball in the 93-95 mph range.
When Redmond was with the Twins, his teams went to the playoffs, but had trouble advancing.
"The years I was with the Twins, we didn't have power arms," Redmond said. "We had more finesse pitchers, guys who threw 89-90-91, and they logged the 200 innings a year. They were good. But we never had enough to beat the Yankees or the Red Sox [in the playoffs]."
A rookie sensation, Fernandez's fastball averages 94.8 mph, and Tom Koehler is sitting at 93 mph.
Henderson Alvarez has touched 98 mph this year, but his fastball averages 92.5 mph, and Jacob Turner is at 91.8 mph.
"I think to match up against the good teams, you've got to have power," Redmond said. "We did it in 2003 with Beckett, Penny, all those guys. We had power. So when we went in against good teams, we could out-pitch 'em.
"I think that's important. We definitely have those guys, and those pieces. Now, we've got to let them go, and let them learn. There are going to be bumps in the road. You never know from year to year. It's an adjustment. Eventually the league is going to adjust to Fernandez and he's going to have to adjust. The same with Eovaldi, and all those guys."