Top Notes From the Miami Marlins ZiPS Projections for 2024

The Miami Marlins have their work cut out for them in 2024. How do the ZiPS projections think they'll follow up on last year's 84-win showing?

Luis Arraez of the Miami Marlins bats against the New York Mets at loanDepot Park.
MIAMI, FL - MARCH 31: Luis Arraez #3 of the Miami Marlins bats against the New York Mets at loanDepot park on March 31, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Jasen Vinlove/Miami Marlins/Getty Images)

An 84-win showing from the 2023 Miami Marlins was a stronger finish in the standings than many thought they’d have. Chasing down the likes of the Braves and Phillies was never in the cards, but a finish above .500 from this Marlins club was highly respectable.

In 2024, they’re going to try to follow it up with an even better performance. The additions to the 26-man roster have been minimal, with only bench pieces like backup catcher Christian Bethancourt and utility players Vidal Bruján and Nick Gordon added into the fold.

This may ultimately end up hurting the Marlins in the end. Without a competent starting shortstop, the team can only go so far. Since the team has not made any moves in that department, there’s cause for concern if you look closely.

Over the past few weeks, Just Baseball has been analyzing the ZiPS projections on FanGraphs, running down the list of every team in the league. For those that need a reminder, here’s what ZiPS is all about:

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ZiPS is a system of player projections developed by FanGraph’s Dan Szymborski… ZiPS uses past performance and aging trends to develop a future projection for players. On FanGraphs, the projections are updated daily and predict each player’s numbers over the course of the remainder of the season… Obviously, no one is claiming that every ZiPS prediction will come true, but it is widely regarded as one of the most accurate predictors in the industry. on sZymborski Projection System (ZiPS)

Let’s dive in and see what the projections have to say about the 2024 Miami Marlins.

Marlins ZiPS: Position Players

Last year, the Marlins didn’t do much of anything offensively that would put them amongst the best teams in the league. They did not hit a bunch of home runs, score a lot of runs, steal many bases, you name it. The one thing they did do was hit for average, finishing fourth in the league in that category.

That was largely thanks to Luis Arraez, who was a candidate to hit .400 for a while there. It was never likely, but boy was his pursuit of history fun to watch. How does ZiPS see him faring in 2024?

  • Arraez will regress, but he’ll still be the man. Following up a year in which he hit .354, there were never going to be strong odds that he’d top that in 2024. ZiPS thinks .309 is the likelier outcome, along with 2.0 fWAR. That would be a bit of a step backward, but still, Arraez easily projects to be the club’s best contact hitter.
  • Avisaíl García will still be borderline unplayable. ZiPS is high on quite a few Marlins players, but García is not one of them. He projects to continue his epic fall-off from his glory days, with a .229 batting average, a 77 wRC+ and 0.0 fWAR. His four-year, $53 million contract looks like one of the worst in the game.
  • Jazz Chisholm Jr. is going to bounce all the way back. One of the most fun players to watch in the game, Chisholm projects to have an outstanding season. ZiPS sees him raising his wRC+ to 107 and his fWAR from 1.9 to 2.6. Notably, his DEF projects to rise from 0.5 in 2023 all the way up to 5.4.
  • A full season of Jake Burger’s production will be electric. Acquired at the 2023 deadline for pitching prospect Jake Eder, Burger excelled with the Marlins. ZiPS sees the third baseman turning in another strong season in Miami. Across 135 games, he’s tabbed for 26 home runs, 72 driven in and 2.1 fWAR.

Marlins ZiPS: Pitching Staff

The Marlins were better on the mound than they were at the plate last year, but not by much. The staff struck out a ton of batters but was right around league-average when it came to walk rate and home runs allowed.

Starting Pitchers

The Marlins will kick off 2024 without Sandy Alcantara, their staff ace. Each of the remaining members of the rotation possesses high upside and potential, but it remains to be seen how they’ll deliver on that.

  • Jesús Luzardo will be a worthy replacement for Alcantara. ZiPS sees Luzardo, one of the most promising young lefties in the game, as a force on the mound. It remains to be seen how many of his outings will come with the Marlins this year (the team is reportedly willing to move him in the right deal), but he’s projected to strike out over 10 batters per nine innings and post a 3.88 ERA in 28 outings.
  • No sophomore slump for Eury Pérez. ZiPS loves Pérez, and it’s easy to see why. The 21-year-old looked impressive in a 19-start showing last year and is due for more success in 2024. He projects to put up a 3.63 ERA across 27 starts, striking out just under 10 per nine and nearly doubling his fWAR, jumping up from 1.4 to 2.6.
  • Edward Cabrera’s bounceback will have to wait another year. In 2022, the right-hander posted an ERA+ of 137 across a strong 14-start cameo in the big leagues. While he was technically above average last year (producing a 4.24 ERA), ZiPS sees him coming back down to earth in 2024. In 24 outings, Cabrera projects to post a 7-9 record with a 4.41 ERA and 4.53 FIP. He’s shown such promise at times, but he may be due for another year of mediocrity.
PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 03: Jesus Luzardo #44 of the Miami Marlins pitches during the first inning of the NL Wild Card game against the Philadelphia Phillies on October 3, 2023 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Relief Pitchers

Armed with one of the better closers in the game, the Marlins bullpen has the potential to be a powerhouse in 2024. As it stands, the club could use another arm – or even two – but it’s solid as is. ZiPS, for the most part, agrees with that sentiment.

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  • There will be a new name in the mix. In 2024, Anthony Maldonado will be a name to watch. The 26-year-old right-hander has yet to make his big league debut, but ZiPS projects 37 outings of 3.77-ERA ball with a 3.82 FIP. Maldonado has consistently racked up strikeouts in the minor leagues and is expected to post a 10.19 K/9 in the upcoming season.
  • The reign of A.J. Puk will continue, even in his new role. Last year was Puk’s first on the Marlins and saw him earn 15 saves down the stretch. Now that he’s relinquishing the closer’s role, his ERA is actually projected to lower. ZiPS says Puk will post a 3.72 ERA and 3.57 FIP across 54 outings, once again striking out seemingly every batter he faces along the way.
  • Despite a slight regression, Tanner Scott will once again thrive as the closer. Scott did not become a closer until he joined the Marlins in 2022. Since then, he has racked up 32 saves and turned himself into an elite arm. ZiPS sees him earning a career-high 28 saves while raising his K/9 from 12.00 to 12.55. He projects to walk more batters and surrender more home runs, but a 3.37 ERA and 3.32 FIP is nothing to scoff at.

Marlins ZiPS: Final Thoughts

The Marlins are going to have a tough time catching the likes of the Braves and the Phillies for a few more years. Last year marked a big step forward, but they still are not quite there.

ZiPS likes what it sees from some of the faces of the Marlins franchise, but it will be interesting to see where it stands following the upcoming season.