Marlins say increased analysis, patience are behind hot hitting

Miami Marlins outfielder Jazz Chisholm Jr. reached base in 34% of his plate appearances over the last eight games. File photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI
1 of 5 | Miami Marlins outfielder Jazz Chisholm Jr. reached base in 34% of his plate appearances over the last eight games. File photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

MIAMI, April 20 (UPI) -- More extensive analysis of at-bats and overall patience -- in addition to off-season acquisitions -- are behind the Miami Marlins' recent surge, players and manager Skip Schumaker said.

The Marlins, who haven't made the playoffs after a 162-game season since 2003, started the 2023 campaign 1-4. They hit .232 and averaged just 1.6 runs per game over their first six.


They've since won six of their last eight, averaging twice as many runs and hitting .295 in those victories to improve to 10-9 this season.

"People like to panic at certain points of the season, where maybe the hitting is a little down or maybe the pitching is a little down," Marlins first baseman Garrett Cooper said Wednesday at loanDepot park in Miami.

"Early on in the year, guys are just trying to find their footing. We didn't really come up with big hits with runners in scoring position in the first few games. Now, we've had a lot of guys come through in the clutch."


Cooper hit .261 through his first six games. He hit .340 in the 11 games since. He cited an emphasis on analysis and dialogue with Marlins hitting coach Brant Brown and assistant hitting coach John Mabry as part of the reason for his improvement and the Marlins' offensive surge.

Schumaker, a first-year manager, brought in Brown and Mabry after he was hired in October.

"I don't think he sleeps if we aren't doing well," Cooper said of Brown, who spent his previous five seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"He's always watching video. He's always taking notes. He's always trying to help you become the best player you can be. In between innings, he's breaking down swings from when you were doing good, maybe a few games ago."

Cooper said that side-by-side analysis can help players with timing for specific pitches, hand placement and body rotation -- essential elements for hitting balance and fluidity.

The seven-year veteran, who joined the Marlins in 2018, said that type of study is something the team hasn't had in recent history.

"He is hands-on from at-bat to at-bat, where maybe in the past few years we haven't really had that," Cooper said of Brown.


"I know I haven't had that here in the last five years. There's so much video breakdown that helps guys see what they're not seeing. ... In past years, not to take away from hitting coaches here, but there wasn't that much explanation."

Second baseman Luis Arraez, who joined the Marlins in an off-season trade, leads MLB with a .438 average. The 2022 American League batting champion is hitting .439 in April. Third-year outfielder Bryan De La Cruz is hitting .379 over his last seven games.

Designated hitter Jorge Soler leads the team with five home runs. Outfielder Jazz Chisholm Jr. also keeps coming through with clutch hits, including a go-ahead homer in a win over the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday in Miami.

Schumaker said the Marlins, who haven't had a .300 hitter in a 162-game season since 2017, are focused on filling the bases instead of living and dying by home runs. He said the Marlins still appreciate the homers, but prefer a "hit-hit-blast" recipe.

On Wednesday, the Marlins continued to pack the bases, but left 15 runners stranded. Schumaker said the players still believed they would come through, up until the last out of their 5-2 extra-innings loss to the Giants in Miami.


"We just feel good about our offense, that they're gonna come through at some point," Schumaker said. "When you keep putting traffic on the bases, you are just a hit away or passed ball away or something when you have guys on second or third.

"That's why we feel good about it. We have speed on our team, guys who are good hitters, and we had a couple of home runs this series that were really game-changers for us.

"It doesn't matter where we are at in the order or guys coming off the bench. We still feel like someone will come through. It didn't happen [Wednesday], but we still feel very good about it."

The Marlins have one of the most clutch offenses in baseball as of late. They rank third in batting average (.288) in the seventh inning or later. From April 11 through Tuesday, they hit an MLB-best .347 after the sixth.

"These guys never quit," Chisholm said on Tuesday's Bally Sports broadcast. "They are going out here every day, win or lose, giving it their all.

"We could be down by 10 and everybody is still playing their heart out. It's amazing to see ... from the years that we've had with a lot of losing. Now this is happening. It feels great."


The Marlins will face the Cleveland Guardians at 7:10 p.m. EDT Friday in Cleveland.

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