5 unsung achievements by Marlins in 2017

Miami can take pride in steady defense, Urena's 14 wins

5 unsung achievements by Marlins in 2017

MIAMI -- Creating a winning culture will be a process for the Marlins.

Whether the organization will rebuild or stick with the current core remains unclear. But despite finishing 77-85 and 20 games behind the Nationals in the National League East, the Marlins had plenty of individual accomplishments in 2017.

Giancarlo Stanton paced the Majors in home runs (59) and RBIs (132), and Marcell Ozuna ranked among the NL leaders in both categories -- hitting 37 homers and driving in 124 runs.

The two All-Star outfielders received the most attention, but there were several other areas worth recognizing. Here's a look at five of the less-heralded achievements for the Marlins:

1. Fewest errors committed
Because the defense was so steady, few noticed. But the Marlins committed an MLB-low 73 errors. Infield coach Perry Hill and outfield coach Lorenzo Bundy are credited with having players prepared and grounded in fundamentals. The results showed. The 73 errors also are the least amount by any team in franchise history. For perspective, the 2003 World Series championship team -- long considered the gold standard for Marlins' defense -- made 78 errors. Second to Miami this year in the Majors were the Indians, with 76. The A's topped MLB with 121.

Gordon's sliding stop starts DP

2. Urena wins 14
Entering Spring Training, many wondered if Jose Urena would make the Opening Day roster, especially after going 4-9 with a 6.13 ERA in 2016. The hard-throwing right-hander was out of options, and if he didn't prove himself in the spring, there was a chance he could have been either traded or designated for assignment. Instead, he started off in the bullpen, then made his way into the rotation and paced the club with a 14-7 record with a 3.82 ERA. Urena ended up with 28 starts and 34 appearances, logging 169 2/3 innings. According to Statcast™, Urena's average fastball velocity was 95.8 mph, the highest of any Miami starter. Only reliever Brian Ellington, with a 98.2-mph average, threw harder on the team.

3. Minor League improvements
Restocking the farm system promises to be a high priority, but there has been some progress at the Minor League levels that mostly went unnoticed. Double-A Jacksonville made the Southern League playoffs, and Class A Greensboro finished 75-61 in the South Atlantic League. In terms of the standings, the top six Minor League affiliates combined for a 328-351 record, for a winning percentage of .483. That may not seem like a big deal, but in 2016, the combined mark was 311-374 (.454).

4. Putting the ball in play
Powered by Stanton and Ozuna, the Marlins finished 11th in the Majors in runs scored, with 778. And under the direction of hitting coaches Mike Pagliarulo and Frank Menechino, the Marlins struck out 1,282 times, which was the 10th fewest in the Majors. The Astros (1,087) and Indians (1,153) -- two division winners -- ranked first and second, respectively, in fewest strikeouts.

Stanton's run-scoring single

5. Controlling running game
J.T. Realmuto is arguably the most athletic catcher in the game, and his pop times throwing to the bases regularly are either at or near the top in Statcast™ rankings. Working with catching coach, Brian Schneider, Realmuto, and backups A.J. Ellis and Tomas Telis effectively controlled the running game, throwing out 38 runners, which tied the Cubs for seventh most in the Majors. Their 33.3 caught-stealing percentage is 10th best among all clubs.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.