Six Surprising Facts About Your First-Place Marlins
1. The Marlins are tied for first in the NL East
Normally we'd start off with some sort of introduction, but the introduction here is the first surprising fact. Your Miami Marlins are somehow tied for first in their division with the Washington Nationals. Granted, the Atlanta Braves are only a half game behind the two as well, so it's the tightest division in baseball. So who knows how long this will last, but it feels ... good? A weird good, but good.
2. They have the best home record in baseball ... by far
The Marlins are 17-5 while playing in their technicolor kitsch dome this season, which is far and away the best home record in baseball. Yes, despite the team's precarious fan support situation, the team certainly seems to have had a huge home field advantage so far.
3. They also have the worst road record in the MLB
The Fish should certainly start being road worriers. They're only 2-10 on the road, which is the worst road record in the MLB. Yes, it would appear it the Marlins' surprising success at the moment is in part because the team has had a lot more games at home than away.
That will quickly change. They start an 11-game road trip out in California tonight against the San Diego Padres with stops at the Los Angeles Dodgers and the second-place San Francisco Giants. So this trip should really show what the Fish are truly made of. They won't return home until May 20th against the Phillies.
4. At least one statistical average has them projected to have the best record in the National League
Baseball Prospectus' "3rd Order Winning Percentage" represents a team's projected winning percentage based on quality of opponents played and other underlying statistics. At the moment that's .636, the highest in the NL and the entire MLB. ESPN's Relative Power Index has them ranked second in the league right now too. Sure, math on paper, but its interesting to note none the less. Though, more traditional playoff forecasting algorithms are still cool on the Fish. Basbeall Prospectus's own playoff forecasting has the team with only a 9 percent chance to make the postseason.
5. The team has the third highest batting average
They're only behind the Colorado Rockies and Detroit Tigers.
6. They've been here before ... recently.
Sure, at 34 games in a 19-15 record might seems great compared to last season's 10-24 mark, but just go back to 2013. The Marlins had a comparable 18-16 record at this time then. In 2011 their record after 34 games was 20-14. Both those seasons ended in disaster after summer slumps.
We've got a team with two young stars in slugger Giancarlo Stanton and pitcher Jose Fernandez who have surprised with a home-skewing schedule, but the season isn't even a fifth over. If the team comes back from their west coast trip still in first, or at least still contending for it, then maybe we can get a little more excited.
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