For the third season in-a-row, Leo Nunez has successfully saved games for the Florida Marlins. Even though being a relatively consistent closer isn’t exactly the easiest asset to come by, Nunez, who could make as much as $6.5 million through arbitration in the off-season, will still most likely get cut loose. How so? Because the Marlins have the talented Steve Cishek making league minimum.
Despite collecting 33 saves this season (and 89 total since 2009), Nunez’s underlying statistics are pretty replaceable, and are, at best, on-par with Cishek’s. Nunez has posted a 4.40 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, and 2.94 K/BB in 2011, but has also gotten a little lucky (.288 BABIP), while completely losing his ability to get groundballs (from 54% last season to 31.4%) and letting up a few too many homeruns (9.0%). In comparison, Cishek has hurled a 3.18 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and 3.13 K/BB, with a very sustainable .310 BABIP, supportive 3.15 xFIP, and elite groundball (52%) and HR/FB (2.7%) rates. Continue reading