If franchise history is any guide, sleeping on the surprising Miami Marlins would be a big mistake this postseason.
What a wild ride it has been for the 2023 Miami Marlins.
September was supposed to break them, with over half their games against teams that had all but clinched playoff spots already. What’s more, that was the expectation before the injury bug struck with a vengeance. If you were to make a list of the Miami Marlins’ five best players at the end of August, you’d likely find that every name on your list missed significant time in September. Yet the club kept persevering, and punched a postseason ticket for just the fourth time in franchise history. And not just as the sixth and final seed, but actually ahead of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Still, despite all that heart and tenacity, the Marlins displayed over the past few weeks, it would be easy to dismiss them. To view them as just happy to be here also rans that will be lucky to make it to the third game of their three-game Wild Card series. In short, as a team destined for an early exit, and one with very little going for them. Which might be true, all except for this one small detail:
The Miami Marlins are the most successful team in MLB postseason history.
Yes, you read that correctly. No, I haven’t been drinking. It’s just a cold, hard statistical fact, and one the best-kept secrets in this beautiful game of baseball. Well, unless you’re a Miami Marlins fan. In that case, it’s not a secret at all. You’ve repeated it to yourself every night as you’ve fallen asleep, right after reminding yourself about the 1972 Miami Dolphins and right before giving thanks for the existence of the Miami Heat. Because even as storied of a franchise as the Heat, or the Atlanta Braves, or the Los Angeles Dodgers, would kill for the Marlins postseason success rate.
Once they get there at any rate.
As mentioned at the top, it doesn’t happen often. In fact, I’ll give you one guess which MLB franchise has the worst regular-season winning percentage all-time. Sadly, that would be the Marlins, just edging out the San Diego Padres. Again, this is just the fourth time Miami has made the playoffs, and that includes the forever asterisked 2020 season. When they do advance to the playoffs though?
Nothing short of utter dominance.
The Marlins have played eight playoff series all-time. They’ve won seven. The Marlins have made the playoffs twice in a full length season. All they did was win two World Series. That’s right, two. If you throw out the 2020 season, the Marlins have never lost a playoff series. Whether you include 2020 or not, the Marlins have never failed to at least advance to the next round. Of their 38 playoff games played, they’ve won 24 — great enough for a win rate of .632%.
Granted, those were different teams and different times. Depending on how you feel about rebranding, completely different teams. The Florida Marlins have won two World Series. The Miami Marlins swept the Cubs in 2020 before getting swept by the Braves. Only four players remain with the 2023 Marlins that were part of that 2020 group — Sandy Alcantara, Jon Berti, Jazz Chisholm, and Braxton Garrett. Of those four, only Alcantara and Berti were of any real use to that 2020 team … and Alcantara is out for the season. Every year is different, and as fun as history is, it’s seldom predictive.
Then again, MLB history as a whole is rife with examples of teams getting hot at the right time, and riding a wave of success deep into October. The 2023 Marlins just went 17-9 in September, and did so while going 10-6 against four of the five teams they could possibly face in these playoffs. The only team they didn’t play was Arizona, who they beat in the season series 4-2.
Combine that 2023 success with Miami Marlins franchise history? The only conclusion is that rival teams and their fans would be crazy to sleep on this team as the postseason gets underway.
Do so, and they’ll be sleeping with the fishes. All while the Fish swim towards a third title.