The Marlins were nice enough to finish the season with exactly 500 players on their all-time role-call. This list will count them down to number one using the Wins Above Replacement (WAR) metric. I use WAR to rate and rank players against one another because even though the same number may mean slightly different things from year-to-year, it's always a relative rank against current competition. I totaled up WAR for each Marlin to play in a major league regular season game, including hitting for every player and pitching for each applicable player (even if it was only for one inning). This lets us use one measure for everyone, regardless of position or exactly when they played the game. We will start out with five players per day for the first 60 articles. Once we get to 200, we will do four per day for 20 days, three per day for 20 days, and so on. This countdown will keep you (and me) busy all the way until spring training.
A quick note on WAR: A low WAR doesn't necessarily mean that a player is bad, exactly, but a high WAR almost always favors the best of the best. You'll notice that Mike Jacobs is right here in the first edition, even though he hit a bunch of home runs in his three seasons in aqua and white. As much as I hate putting a fan favorite so low in the countdown, his relative worth against other major league outfielders in the seasons in which he played corresponded with a negative WAR rating.
500. Andy Larkin
Larkin was a 6’4", 175 lb. right-handed pitcher from Chelan, WA. Born on June 27th, 1974, he was initially selected in the 25th round of the amateur draft by the Marlins in 1992. His first season of professional ball would see him join the Rookie level Gulf Coast League Marlins, then post a 1-2 record with a 5.23 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP. He then joined the Portland Sea Dogs in the Eastern League. He went 1-2 with a 3.38 ERA over nine starts, with a 1.00 WHIP and 23 strikeouts in 40 innings.
1996 would be a busy year for Larkin. He spent time with the high-A Brevard County Manatees in the Florida State League, going 0-4 with a 4.23 ERA over six starts spanning 27.2 innings. He earned a 1.48 WHIP and struck out 18 batters at the level. He also made eight starts back in Portland, going 4-1 with a 3.10 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP, striking out 40 in 49.1 innings. In Florida’s last game of the season, Larkin got his first major league start. He allowed one earned run in five innings of work, striking out two and only giving up three hits in a 5-4 loss to the Houston Astros.
In 1997, Larkin joined the triple-A Charlotte Knights in the International League, where he went 6-11 with a 6.05 ERA over 28 appearances. He posted a 1.68 WHIP with 103 strikeouts in 144.1 innings. He began 1998 with the Knights as well, going 4-1 with an alarming 6.37 ERA over 11 appearances. He also had a 1.62 WHIP and struck out 41 in 53.2 innings. Despite this, he was called back to the Marlins twice over the course of the season. On July 24th, on the backside of a doubleheader, he pitched nine full innings, allowing only three hits and two walks. Both teams scored in both halves of the three extra innings, with the Phillies eventually winning, 7-6. For the most part, Larkin wasn’t very good. He appeared in 17 contests, 14 of them starts. He posted a 3-8 record and an incredible 9.64 ERA in 74.2 innings. He had a 2.089 WHIP and 43 strikeouts in 74.2 innings. According to highheatstats.blogspot.ro, it was the fifth worst single season performance in the history of baseball.
1999 would see Larkin split the year between the Manatees (four games, 0-1, 2.40, 1.27 WHIP, 15 IP, 7 K’s) and the Sea Dogs (seven games, 1-1, 7.11, 1.58 WHIP, 12.2 IP, 7 K’s). The Marlins cut ties with him after the season, granting his free agency. He signed on with the Chicago Cubs, but was released before the start of spring training.
The Cincinnati Reds gave him a shot, slotting him with the Louisville Riverbats in the triple-A International League, where he went 1-0 with a 2.59 ERA in 27 relief appearances. He also put up a promising 1.13 WHIP and struck out 40 in 41.1 innings. He pitched three games for the Reds in July, totaling 6.2 innings. He struck out seven and had a 5.40 ERA. Cincinnati waived him halfway through the month, where the Kansas City Royals picked him up. He played in 18 games for the Royals, going 0-3 with an 8.84 ERA over 19.1 innings, striking out 17 and allowing 2.069 walks plus hits per inning pitched. It would mark the last chance he would get at baseball’s top level.
Larkin hooked up with the Colorado Rockies Pacific Coast League team, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox in 2001. He went 4-8, 5.40 with 99 K’s in 120 innings. He didn’t again appear in competitive baseball. He is currently a firefighter in Gilbert, AZ.
All-Time Statline: 18 games, 15 starts, 3-8, 9.15 ERA, 79.2 IP, 59 BB, 45 SO, 2.046 WHIP, -3.1 wins above replacement.
499. Andrew Miller
Miller is a 6’7", 210 lb. left-handed pitcher from Gainesville, FL. Born on May 21st 1985, he was a first round selection of the Detroit Tigers in the 2006 amateur draft, sixth overall out of the University of North Carolina. As a Tar Heel, he went 27-9 with a 2.77 ERA and 325 strikeouts in 309 innings. He joined the high-A Lakeland Tigers in the
Florida State League after graduation, where he pitched five innings over three games, striking out nine and allowing only two hits. Detroit called him up to the parent club on August 30th, and he appeared in eight games in relief down the stretch. All told, he earned a 6.10 ERA over 10.1 innings, walking 10 and allowing nine runs (seven earned) on eight hits. He struck out six, hit two batters, and uncorked a wild pitch, closing out the season with a 1.742 WHIP.
2007 would see Miller appear at four levels for the Tigers. He spent time back with Lakeland (nine games, 1-4, 3.32, 43.1 IP, 29 K, 1.41 WHIP) at high-A, the Erie SeaWolves in the Eastern League (four games, 2-0, 0.58, 30.2 IP, 24 K, 0.88 WHIP) at double-A, the Toledo Mudhens in the International League (two games, 0-0, 9.00, 6.0 IP, 9 K, 1.83 WHIP) at the triple-A level, and 13 starts with Detroit. He posted a 5-5 record in the majors that season, with a 5.63 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 64 innings. He put up a 1.750 WHIP. After the season, the Tigers traded him with Dallas Trahern, Burke Badenhop, Frankie De La Cruz, Cameron Maybin, and Mike Rabelo to the Marlins for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis. Six for two? How could we lose!?!?
In 2008, Miller opened the season as Florida’s number three starter. He took 20 turns in the rotation, posting a 5-9 record and a 5.63 ERA with 80 strikeouts in 100.2 innings. He didn’t have a lot of great days with the Marlins, but on May 10th he went seven strong, striking out seven and allowing just one walk and two hits in an 11-0 win over the Washington Nationals. On July 13th, he allowed 10 baserunners in 1.2 innings, losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers, 9-1. He was sent down soon afterward. He later pitched a single inning with the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Marlins before joining the Jupiter Hammerheads in the high-A Florida State League (four games, 1-0, 0.71, 12.2 IP, 11K, 0.87 WHIP), the Carolina Mudcats for a single game in the double-A Southern League, and finally back with the Marlins in September, this time in the bullpen. In nine relief appearances, he struck out nine in 6.2 innings, limiting opposing batters to a .150 batting average. Overall, he went 6-10, 5.87 with a 1.640 WHIP.
2009 would see Miller play at four minor league levels for Florida for a combined 28.2 innings. He pitched in 20 games for the Marlins, going 3-5 with a 4.84 ERA. He started 14 times, and struck out 59 in 80 innings with a 1.600 WHIP. On May 21st, he started and went seven innings, striking out nine and allowing six baserunners in a 4-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. On June 23rd, he allowed a single hit in seven innings, striking out four in a 7-6, 12-inning victory over the Baltimore Orioles.
Miller started 18 games for the Southern League Jacksonville Suns in 2010, going 1-8 with a 6.01 ERA and a 1.86 WHIP. Despite this clear warning, the Marlins called him up in mid-August for the balance of the season. In nine games (seven starts), he went 1-5 with an 8.54 ERA and a nearly unfathomable 2.357 WHIP over 32.2 innings. After the season, the Marlins traded him to the Boston Red Sox for Dustin Richardson.
In three and a half seasons with Boston, Miller struck out 218 batters in 178.1 innings, going 13-12 with a 3.79 ERA and a 1.379 WHIP. He played the second half of the 2014 campaign with the Orioles, going 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA in 23 games. He struck out 34 in only 20 innings. He currently pitches for the New York Yankees. He struck out 100 in 61.2 innings, along with a 2.04 ERA, and a 0.859 WHIP.
All-Time Statline: 58 games, 41 starts, 10-20, 5.89 ERA, 220.0 IP, 125 BB, 176 SO, 1.732 WHIP, -3.0 WAR
498. Mike Jacobs
Jacobs was a 6’3", 210 lb. first baseman from Chula Vista, CA. Born on October 30th, 1980, he was selected in the 38th round of the 1999 amateur draft by the New York Mets. Before getting to the majors, he spent six and a half seasons in New York’s minor league feeder system, between the Gulf Coast League Mets (Rookie, 44 games, .333/.383/.497/.880, four home runs, 30 RBI), the Kingsport Mets (Rookie, Appalachian League, 59 games, .270/.371/.485/.856, seven home runs, 40 RBI), the Columbia Bombers (single-A, Southern Atlantic League, 64 games, .263/.321/.369/.790, two home runs, 34 RBI), the Brooklyn Cyclones (single-A, New York Penn League, 19 games, .288/.364/.409/.773, 15 RBI), the St. Lucie Mets (single-A, Florida State League, 118 games, .251/.291/.381/.672, 11 home runs, 64 RBI), the Binghampton Mets (double-A, Eastern League, 230 games, .325/.375/.569/.944, 42 home runs, 174 RBI), and the Norfolk Tides (triple-A, International League, 27 games, .177/.245/.271/.516, two home runs, six RBI).
On August 21st, 2005, Jacobs made his first appearance at the major league level, hitting a three-run home run in his first plate appearance, a pinch hit in the fifth inning of a 7-4 loss to the Washington Nationals. He would collect four home runs and nine RBI in his first four major league games, hitting 11 in only 100 at bats over 30 games to close out the season. He also had 23 RBI, 10 walks, and a .310/.375/.710/1.085 statline. After the season, the Mets traded him with Grant Psomas and Yusmiero Petit to the Marlins for Carlos Delgado and cash.
In 2006, Jacobs appeared in 136 games for Florida, hitting .262/.325/.473/.798 with 37 doubles, 20 home runs, and 77 RBI. He also struck out 105 times in 469 at bats. On May 15th, he hit two doubles and a home run with six RBI just to see the Fish fall to the Atlanta Braves, 11-8. On May 23rd, he went 0-for his first four at bats against the Chicago Cubs, then hit a two-out, bases-loaded two-run single in the bottom of the ninth for a 5-4 win. On August 7th, he came on for a pinch-hit in the bottom of the ninth, hitting a tie-score, RBI double with a runner on first for a walk-off, 4-3 win against the Milwaukee Brewers.
2007 would see Jacobs play in 114 games with the Marlins, with short rehab assignments with two Florida farm clubs to address a minor injury. He hit .265/.317/.458/.775 with 17 home runs and 54 RBI and 101 strikeouts in 426 at bats. On April 27th, in a 6-5 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, he went four-for-four with a walk, two doubles and a round-tripper. On August 15th, he went four-for-four again, with a walk, two doubles, two runs, an RBI and a stolen base as the Marlins came up short to the Arizona Diamondbacks, 9-6. ON September 11th, in a 13-8 win against the Washington Nationals, he hit an RBI single, a two-RBI double, and a two-run blast to finish with five RBI.
Jacobs hit a career high 32 home runs in 2008, with 93 RBI, a .247/.299/.514/.813 statline and 119 strikeouts in 477 at bats. August was a pretty good month for him, if not the Marlins On the 9th, in an 8-6 loss to the Mets, he hit two doubles and a home run for three RBI. On the 13th, with two runners on and one out and down by two in the bottom of the eighth, he hit an RBI double to close the gap in an eventual 6-4 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. On the 30th, he went three-for-four with a double, a walk, a run, and an RBI in a 4-3 win against the Mets. He ranked fifth in the NL with a home run every 14.9 at bats through the season. After the season, the Marlins traded him to the Kansas City Royals for Juan Carlos Oviedo.
In 2009 for Kansas City, Jacobs appeared in 128 games, hitting .228/.297/.401/.698 with 19 home runs, 61 RBI, and 132 strikeouts in 434 at bats. He was released after the season, and signed as a free agent with the Mets just prior to 2010 spring training. He spent most of that season with the International League Buffalo Bisons (86 games, .260/.313/.478/.791, 15 home runs, 57 RBI), also spending time with the Las Vegas 51’s (PCL, 34 games, .308/.389/.492/.881, six home runs, 34 RBI) and a cup of coffee at the top level (seven games, five-for-24, one home run). The Mets granted him free agency after the season.
2011 would see Jacobs hook up with the Colorado Rockies, but spend the whole campaign in the PCL with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. He would play in 117 games, and hit .298/.376/.534/.910 with 23 home runs and 97 RBI. The Rockies released him in August after he tested positive for the Human Growth Hormone (HGH). He signed on with Arizona prior to 2012. He played most of the season with the Reno Aces (101 games, .279/.362/.486/.848, 18 home runs, 60 RBI), also making it back to the majors with the Diamondbacks for 13 games, where he went four-for-19 in his last major league action.
Jacobs played with Reno for 82 games in 2013, hitting .304/.365/.520/.885 with 18 home runs and 65 RBI, also hooking up with the Oaxaca Guerreros in the Mexican League for 36 games (.275/.367/.565/.932, 10 home runs, 30 RBI). He played 135 games for the Aces in 2014, hitting 19 home runs with 97 RBI and a .299/.370/.487/.857 statline. Despite his continued success at the top US minor league level, Jacobs hasn’t been in the majors since 2012.
All-Time Statline: 391 games, 354-for-1372, 178 runs, 91 doubles, five triples, 69 home runs, 224 RBI, five stolen bases, 112 walks, 325 strikeouts, .258/.314/.483/.796, -3.0 win shares.
497. Greg Dobbs
Dobbs is a 6’1", 205 lb. corner infielder from Los Angeles, CA. Born on July 2nd, 1978, he was signed as a free agent by the Seattle Mariners in 2001. He spent most of his first four seasons at various levels of Seattle’s minor league system, with the Everett Aqua Sox (low-A, Northwest League, 65 games, .321/.396/.478/.874, six home runs, 41 RBI), the San Bernardino Stampede (high-A, California League, three games, .385/.357/.692/1.049, one home run, three RBI), the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (single-A, Midwest League, 86 games, .275/.338/.431/.769, 10 home runs, 48 RBI), the San Antonio Missions (double-A, Texas League, 80 games, .338/.389/.521/.910, 10 home runs, 49 RBI), and the Tacoma Tigers (triple-A, Pacific Coast League, 67 games in 2004, .271/.286/.416/.702, eight home runs, 31 RBI). In September of 2004, he played 18 games at the major league level with the Mariners, going 12-for-53 (.226) with a double, a home run, and nine RBI. He hit a home run in his first ever plate appearance, in a pinch-hit, bottom of the ninth at bat. Unfortunately, Seattle was trailing, 9-4 to the Cleveland Indians at the time.
In 2005, Dobbs played 50 games with Tacoma (.321/.367/.416/.783, three home runs, 22 RBI), and rejoined the Mariners for 59 games over the course of several callups. On April 20th, he hit a pinch hit, three run blast in the bottom of the seventh as the Mariners topped the Oakland Athletics 7-6. He also split the 2006 campaign between the two top levels, playing in 99 games for Tacoma (.314/.375/.451/.826, nine home runs, 55 RBI, 14 stolen bases) and in 23 contests for the Mariners (27 at bats, .370/.393/.556/.949). In January, 2007, the Philadelphia Phillies selected him off waivers from the Mariners.
In four seasons as a Phillie, Dobbs appeared in 455 contests, hitting .261/.310/.427/.737 with 29 home runs and 130 RBI. He also appeared in 16 postseason contests between 2007 and 2009, hitting safely in seven-of-21 at bats. After the 2010 season concluded, the Phillies granted his free agency. The Marlins signed him on January 31st, 2011 for one-year and $600,000.
In 2011, Dobbs played in 134 games, hitting eight home runs and 49 RBI with a .275/.311/.389/.701 statline and 83 strikeouts in 411 at bats. On April 9th, in a 7-5 win against the Houston Astros, he went three-for-four with a single, a double, and a game-tying two-run home run in the top of the sixth. On July 14th, he hit a three run home run off Carlos Marmol in the top of the ninth to change a 2-0 deficit to a 3-2 lead. The Marlins eventually defeated the Chicago Cubs, 6-3. Three days later, he hit a single and a three-run blast to power the Fish to another win over the Cubs, 7-5.
2012 would see the Marlins move into a new ballpark, a new uniform, and change their surname from Florida to Miami. Dobbs played 120 games for the Marlins that season, mostly at third base with time also spent in left, right, and at first base. On May 11th, in a 6-5 win over the New York Mets, he hit a two-out walk-off RBI single. Two days later, in the top half of a doubleheader, he pinch hit for Heath Bell and knocked in the first of six runs as the Marlins came from behind to win, 8-4 over New York. On August 15th, he hit two singles and a two run jack to help power the Marlins to a 9-2 triumph over Philadelphia. Dobbs hit .285/.313/.386/.698 with five home runs and 39 RBI over the season.
Dobbs appeared in 114 games for Miami in 2013, hitting .228/.303/.300/.603. He earned his highest WPA of the season on April 6th, going two for four in a 7-3 loss to the Mets. He went 1-for-13 through 15 games for Miami in 2014, leading to his outright release on May 6th. The Washington Nationals picked him up. He went six-for-28 with the parent club, and spent 35 games with their International League affiliate, the Syracuse Chiefs (.247/.284/.351/.635, two home runs, 11 RBI). He currently lives in La Canada Flintridge, CA and has a sociology degree and a business degree.
All-Time Statline: 383 games, 259-for-980, 85 runs, 47 doubles, two triples, 15 home runs, 110 RBI, five stolen bases, 58 walks, 180 strikeouts, .264/.307/.362/.669, -2.8 win shares.
496. Kurt Miller
Miller was a 6’5", 205 lb. right-handed pitcher from Tuscon, AZ. Born on August 24th, 1972, he was chosen in the first round of the 1990 amateur draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates with the fifth overall selection. He joined the low-A Welland Pirates in the New York-Penn League after the draft, and went 3-2, 3.29 with 62 strikeouts in 65.2 innings and a 1.46 WHIP. In 1991, he played with the single-A Augusta Pirates, going 6-7 with a 2.50 ERA in 21 starts, striking out 103 and posting a 1.27 WHIP in 115.1 innings. The Bucs sent him with Hector Fajardo to the Texas Rangers for Steve Buechele on August 30th.
Miller appeared in 34 games for the Tulsa Drillers, starting 33 of them over parts of 1992 and 1993 with the double-A Texas League Rangers affiliate, going 13-13 with a 4.40 ERA and 141 strikeouts in 184 innings. On July 17th, 1993, the Rangers sent him with Robb Nen to the Marlins for Cris Carpenter. He completed the season with Florida’s triple-A Pacific Coast League team, the Edmonton Trappers, going 3-3 with a 4.50 ERA. He walked 34 in 48 innings, striking out only 19.
In 1994, Miller played most of the time with the Trappers, going 7-13 with a 6.88 ERA in 23 starts, again walking more (64) than he struck out (58). Despite this slightly sketchy prep time, he made four starts for the Marlins in June. His first start, on June 11th, would see him take the loss by allowing nine hits and three walks for seven earned runs in four innings of a 10-4 decision against the Pirates. He would rebound on June 16th with a strong 8.2 inning effort against the New York Mets, where he gave up two earned runs on four hits and a walk, striking out four in his first major league win, a 4-2 victory. He would end up with an 8.10 ERA and a 1-3 record from his time in Florida, with 11 strikeouts in 20 innings and a 1.650 WHIP.
1995 would see Miller spend the entire campaign with the Charlotte Knights, Florida’s triple-A affiliate in the International League. He went 8-11, 4.62 over 22 starts, striking out 83 in 126.2 innings and walking only 55, a relative token compared to the last few seasons. He started a dozen games for the Knights in 1996, going 3-5 with a 4.66 ERA and 38 strikeouts and 26 walks in 65.2 innings. He also appeared in 26 contests for Florida. On May 9th, he pitched eight innings, allowing five hits and only one earned run in a 6-2 win over the Colorado Rockies. On June 19th, he pitched three perfect innings of relief, striking out two in the 12th through the 14th innings of an eventual 7-4, 15-innings loss to the San Francisco Giants. He again posted a 1-3 record, with a 6.80 ERA, 33 walks, 30 strikeouts, and a 1.942 WHIP in 46.1 innings.
Miller played most of the 1997 season with the Knights, appearing in 21 games and going 2-1, 3.58 with 31 strikeouts in 27.2 innings. He also played in seven games for the Marlins, and gave up 12 hits and seven walks in 7.1 innings, striking out seven with a 2.591 WHIP and a 9.82 ERA to go with his 0-1 record. After the season, the Marlins sent him to the Chicago Cubs to complete a previous conditional deal. He also went four-for-14 from the plate while with the Marlins, with a run and two RBI.
Miller spent two seasons between the Iowa Cubs and Chicago. He went 15-5 with a 3.92 ERA for Iowa, and in seven games with Chicago went 0-0 with a 7.71 ERA in seven innings. He joined the Hanshin Tigers in the Japanese Central League in 2000, going 0-2 with a 7.94 ERA in 17 games.
All-Time Statline: 37 games, nine starts, 2-7, 7.45 ERA, 73.2 IP, 47 BB, 48 SO, 1.928 WHIP, -2.3 WAR
And so closes Chapter one of 140 of the five-month long countdown - collect them all! Check back tomorrow for two pitchers, two outfielders, and a first baseman.