As the Marlins struggle to a 2-5 start, I decided to embark on a useless but entertaining effort to re-imagine the Marlins lineup if it was replaced by historically similar players as determined by Baseball Reference‘s Similarity Score. It’s a quirky way to put the Marlins lineup in perspective as it looks at a player’s numbers and age without any bias towards talent or potential.
A possible Bizzaro Marlins lineup (using familiar and recent names) could look like this: Jimmy Rollins (SS), Lenny Harris (CF), Ryan Zimmerman (3B), Miguel Cabrera (LF), Juan Encarnacion (RF), J.T. Snow (1B), Adam Kennedy (SS), Jason LaRue (C), David Cone (P).
Here is what this Bizarro Marlins lineup would look like:
C: Andy Seminick (John Buck)
Seminick played in the 40s and 50s so you may have never heard of him. More recent names are Jason LaRue and Miguel Olivo. I’m not sure any of these guys scream out $6,000,000 per season.
1B: Pat Putnam (Gaby Sanchez)
Once again, a historically insignificant player, this time from the late 70s and early 80s. Steve Cox, J.T. Snow, and Jeremy Giambi are more recent comparables.
2B: Adam Kennedy (Omar Infante)
Serviceable and uninspiring at 2B. Sounds like Infante (excluding his hot start this season).
SS: Jimmy Rollins (Jose Reyes)
Fairly obvious choice here with two really good shortstops. Rafael Furcal and even Ryne Sandberg come up as similar choices.
3B: Tony Lazzeri (Hanley Ramirez)
This choice gets difficult because statistcally, Hanley is performing at a level equivilant great non-thirdbasemen like Derek Jeter, Joe Mauer, Troy Tulowitzki, Dustin Pedroia, and Victor Martinez. Since I’m keeping it by position I went with Hall-of-Famer Tony Lazzeri, who played in the 1920s and 1930s. A more familiar name would be Ryan Zimmerman.
OF: Juan Encarnacion (Logan Morrison)
Chose the former Marlins outfielder. LoMo’s short service time make for a hard comparison but his upside should hopefully elevate his comparables (such as was the case with Carlos Gonzalez who was similar to LoMo when he was 24).
OF: Bobby Valentine (Emilio Bonifacio)
Hard comparison here because Bonifacio is playing out of position. A more contemporary player would be former Marlin and baseball’s all-time pinch hit king Lenny Harris.
OF: Miguel Cabrera (Giancarlo Stanton)
Chose former Marlin Miguel Cabrera over Ruben Sierra because Sierra’s career took a nose dive and some of his numbers may have been a bit, shall we say, “juiced”. Other names that come up are Justin Upton, Andruw Jones, Juan Gonzalez and even Jose Canseco.
SP: David Cone (Josh Johnson)
David Cone, Adam Wainwright, and Orel Hershiser sound like a very nice list. If Josh can stay healthy and post bigger numbers, his comparables would sky rocket to Hall-of-Fame pitchers.
SP: Frank Viola (Mark Buehrle)
Relatively low-scoring comparables. Mark Buehrle may be his own best replacement.
SP: Gavin Floyd (Ricky Nolasco)
Also James Shields, Joe Blanton, and Gil Meche. Best description for Nolasco: Upside of Shields with the blah-ness of Meche.
SP: A.J. Burnett (Anibal Sanchez)
Not much to add here. Hopefully doesn’t crash and burn like Burnett.
SP: Ramon Martinez (Carlos Zambrano)
Zambrano always seemed to be on the cusp of greatness which is why you’ll see names like Jack Morris, Barry Zito, John Smoltz, and Jack McDowell as comparables.
CL: J.J. Putz (Heath Bell)
Nothing historic here. Reflection of Bell’s age and having 5 meaningless seasons as a reliever followed by 3 incredible seasons as a closer.