MLB: Assessing the NL East GMs at the midway point

Jul 1, 2021; Cumberland, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves pinch hitter Ronald Acuna Jr. (13 reacts after getting a single against the New York Mets during the eight inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 1, 2021; Cumberland, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves pinch hitter Ronald Acuna Jr. (13 reacts after getting a single against the New York Mets during the eight inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /
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Marlins GM Kim Ng. Joseph Guzy/Miami Marlins Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports
Marlins GM Kim Ng. Joseph Guzy/Miami Marlins Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports /

Miami Marlins, Kim Ng, +1.6 games.

Do not be fooled by Miami’s 2020 playoff run. That had everything to do with the Covid-inspired expanded MLB postseason setup plus more than a bit of luck, given the team’s minus-41 run differential.

The reality is the game’s first female general manager inherited a weak talent base from her predecessor, Michael Hill. She’s at least laid the groundwork for a talent infusion, and if that hasn’t shown up in the standings – the Marlins are last in the NL East – well, things sometimes take time.

Ng has brought in 19 new or relatively new faces and unburdened the Marlins of eight others who have caught on with other major league teams. About half of those transactions have improved Miami’s talent base, a percentage most GMs would accept in a heartbeat.

If she has found a nugget in any of those deals, it has been reliever Anthony Bender. A 26-year-old rookie signed as a free agent after flopped trials with Kansas City and Milwaukee, Bender (+0.8) has a 0.81 ERA in 22 appearances.

Here’s a look at the impact of some of Ng’s other moves.

  • She released veteran pitchers Jose Urena (-0.9 for Detroit) and Brandon Kintzler (-0.8 for Philadelphia). Net impact on Miami: +1.7 games.
  • She drafted pitcher Paul Campbell (-0.8) from the Tampa Bay system and acquired pitcher Zach Pop (-0.7) from the Arizona system for a minor leaguer. Net impact on the Marlins: -1.5 games.
  • She signed veteran free agent Adam Duvall (+1.0). Duvall has been Miami’s best power source, with 18 home runs and a .751 OPS.
  • She has called up seven rookies from the Miami system, none of whom have been especially impactful. The most prominent to date has been starting pitcher Cody Poteet (-0.2). Net impact on the Marlins of those callups: -1.3 games.