Miami Marlins: Stock up, stock down
Miami Marlins designated hitter Jorge Soler. Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Marlins: Stock up, stock down

At the All-Star break, the Miami Marlins have been one of the surprise teams of the first half of 2023. Currently 53-39, they are eight and a half games behind the league-best Atlanta Braves but are in comfortable possession of a wild card spot. In his first season as manager, Skip Schumaker has established himself as one of the leading candidates for National League Manager of the Year while new second baseman Luis Arraez is chasing a historic NL batting title. 

Here are the Marlins trending up and down in the first half. 

Stock up

Jesus Luzardo, pitcher: After a shaky start to his career, Luzardo has blossomed into the pitcher he projected to be when he was ranked as the No. 12 prospect in 2020. Making 18 stars in 2022, Luzardo posted a 4-7 record with a 3.32 ERA and 120 strikeouts in 100.1 innings pitched. 

In 2023 he has been even better.

With an 8-5 record, 3.29 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 109.1 innings, Luzardo has thrown the most innings of his short career this season and has stepped in to fill the shoes of struggling 2022 NL Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara.

Miami will need Luzardo to continue his dominance in the second half as it looks to keep a hold on a wild card spot and pursue the Braves in the NL East.

Jorge Soler, designated hitter:  In 2019, Soler had a career year slashing .265/.354/.569 while slugging 48 home runs and driving in 117 runs.

In the 264 games played from 2020-2022, Soler saw a massive decrease in production slashing .219/.312/.425 with 48 home runs and 128 RBI playing for three different teams including his first season with the Marlins in 2022.

Soler is back in 2023, with a .254/.350/.527 slash line to go with 23 home runs and 51 RBI in 88 games and he has played a huge role in the Marlins' success this season. 

With Arraez seemingly always on base, having Soler there to drive in the runs has helped jumpstart an underrated offense. 

Stock down

Sandy Alcantara, pitcher: Alcantara has been one of the best starters in the MLB from 2020-2022, capping off last season with his first NL Cy Young award.

While he has shown flashes of that brilliance in 2023, the season as a whole has been a letdown for Alcantara. With a 3-7 record and a 4.72 ERA, Alcantara ranks fifth in the NL in hits allowed with 110, which puts him on pace for a career-high. 

While his season has not been a complete waste (he threw a 100-pitch complete game shutout in his second start of 2023), it's far from the season you would expect from the reigning Cy Young winner.

Avisail Garcia, outfielder: In the second season of a four-year, $53M deal he signed with the Marlins after his breakout 2021 season with the Milwaukee Brewers, Garcia is looking like one of the worst free-agent signings in recent team history.

In only 120 games played since his arrival, Garcia is slashing .218/.262/.319 with 11 home runs and 43 RBI while constantly finding himself on the injured list. 

With the team thriving and Garcia currently rehabbing a recent back injury, the team could look to find a trade partner for Garcia even if it has to sweeten the deal to get it done. 

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