A six-pack of Marlins notes on a Friday:
▪ Giancarlo Stanton has gotten off to a tough start on this road trip: 3 for 16 with six strikeouts in the first six games.
But the bigger picture here is that Stanton is doing a far better job hitting for average this season than in recent years, and the Marlins believe they know why.
Stanton, who batted only .240 last season and is a .267 career hitter, is at .284 and here are two reasons:
As of Wednesday, he was swinging at less than 30 percent of pitches out of the strike zone (best/lowest in his career) but is making contact on far more of the ones he swings at.
In fact, overall, Stanton — who made his Marlins debut seven years ago Thursday — is making contact on 74 percent of the pitches he swings at, compared with 65 percent in his career.
“It's a more consistent approach than what I've seen,” manager Don Mattingly said. “Last year we saw an inconsistent approach, a lot of balls out of the strike zone. He's managed the strike zone better this year. He has a better feeling of what they're trying to do and what he wants to do with that. We've seen a better control of the strike zone. That can still get better.
“The more he narrows the strike zone, the better he'll be. He's a lot like [Marcell] Ozuna. If he narrows the strike zone, there are not a lot of pitchers that can necessarily get him out. It's when he's outside the strike zone, he gets outs.”
▪ Has anyone had a better week than Edinson Volquez?
He followed up his no-hitter against Arizona on Saturday by pitching seven innings and allowing no runs and three hits in the Marlins’ 7-1 win over the Pirates on Thursday.
According to Elias, Volquez is the first pitcher to pitch at least seven shutout innings while allowing three or fewer hits in a start immediately following a no-hitter in more than 26 years, since the Phillies Tommy Greene hurled a three-hit shutout against the Expos on May 28, 1991, after tossing a no-hitter against Montreal in his previous start.
▪ As far as pitchers are concerned, the Marlins are open to trading pitcher Tom Koehler (who has been sidelined with right should bursitis) and David Phelps, among others relievers, according to a team source. Koehler is beginning a minor-league rehab stint.
Sirius XM’s Craig Mish said the Nationals are interested in AJ Ramos. But the Marlins don’t appear inclined to deal Ramos at this moment.
Incidentally, lefty Adam Conley this week had his best of five starts at Triple A New Orleans, allowing two runs and three hits in seven innings. He’s 1-2 with a 4.05 ERA.
▪ Among 27 players with at least 100 at-bats in the leadoff spot, Dee Gordon ranks 16th with a .326 on-base percentage, even though he ranks ninth with a .279 batting average.
The problem is that Gordon continues to walk infrequently: nine in 219 plate appearances.
On the plus side, Gordon has five leadoff triples during the past two seasons — the most in baseball during that span.
▪ Among Derek Jeter’s Marlins investors: Greg Fleming, the former Morgan Stanley Wealth Management executive who has helped put the deal together for Jeter.
▪ ESPN’s Keith Law has the Marlins selecting Cypress, Texas, prep left-handed pitcher Shane Baz with the 13th pick in next week’s draft.
“There’s a sense that Baz is either heading to TCU or has a deal with someone in the sandwich/second round,” Law writes.
Law said he has heard that the Marlins are “all over the board but most prominently in on” Baz, Oregon left-hander David Peterson, Louisville prep outfielder Jordan Adell and UCLA right-hander Griffin Canning.
MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo has Miami taking Georgia prep lefty D.L. Hall at No. 13.
The Marlins will have three of the top 51 picks on Monday — 13th, 36th and 51st. The draft runs through Wednesday.
The Marlins’ first-round pick last year, left-hander Braxton Garrett, is out with an elbow injury and might require Tommy John surgery.