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All-Time Marlins Countdown: Chapter IV

In the fourth of 140 parts, we take a look back at five more players from across the 23 years of Marlins baseball.

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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 there are some fan favorites here in the bottom part of the countdown, even though some of them may have had some memorable moments. As much as I hate putting a fan favorite so low in the countdown, the relative worth of these players when stacked up against  other major league players in the seasons in which they played will sometimes correspond with a low or even negative WAR rating.

485. Rafael Medina

Rafael Medina was a 6’3", 194 lb. right-handed pitcher from Panama. Born on February 15th, 1975, he was signed as a free agent by the New York Yankees in 1992. He played in the minors for the Yankees for four seasons, between the Gulf Coast League Yankees (GCL, Rookie, 2-0, 0.66, five starts, 27.1 IP, 21 SO, 1.02 WHIP), the Oneonta Yankees (New York-Penn League, low-A, 3-7. 4.66, 14 starts, 73.1 IP, 59 SO, 1.39 WHIP), the Greensboro Bats (Southern Atlantic League, single-A, 4-4, 4.01, 19 starts, 98.2 IP, 108 SO, 1.26 WHIP), the Tampa Yankees (Florida State League, high-A, 2-2, 2.37, six starts, 30.1 IP, 25 SO, 1.35 WHIP), and the Norwich Navigators (Eastern League, double-A, 5-8, 3.06, 19 starts, 103 IP, 112 SO, 1.29 WHIP. He was traded with Ruben Rivera and $3,000,000 to the San Diego Padres for Gordie Amerson, Homer Bush, Hideki Irabu and Vernon Maxell just after the start of the 1997 season.

Medina played at two different levels in the Padres organization that season, first with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, in the high-A California League (2-0, 2.00, three starts, 18 IP, 14 SO, 1.00 WHIP), then with the triple-A Las Vegas Stars in the Pacific Coast League (4-5, 7.56, 13 starts, 66.2 IP, 50 strikeouts, 1.93 WHIP). After the close of the season, he was again traded, this time with Steve Hoff and Derrek Lee to the Marlins for Kevin Brown.

1998 would see Medina make a strong push for the rotation in spring training, and he started the season as Florida’s number three starter. His first major league appearance came on April 2nd, when he allowed seven hits and three walks for five earned runs in five innings. He took a no decision as the Marlins dropped one to the Cubs, 8-7. He would start four games for the Fish before being sent back to the minors, going 0-1 with a 9.15 ERA and a WHIP north of two. He played three months with the Charlotte Knights in the triple-A International League, starting nine of his 11 appearances and racking up a 4-2 record with a 3.90 ERA, 41 strikeouts in 57.2 innings, and a 1.37 WHIP. He was called back to the rotation in mid-August, and took eight more turns in the rotation. His first game back would see him allow a single earned run in 6.2 innings (although he allowed five walks and four hits). He took another no-decision as the Marlins lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers, 2-1. His first major league win would come in his next turn, on August 25th. He struck out six and allowed two earned runs on four hits (and seven walks!) in seven innings for a 4-3 Florida win over the St. Louis Cardinals. He closed the season with a 2-6 record over his 12 starts, with a 6.01 ERA, a 1.901 WHIP, 49 strikeouts in 67. 1 innings, and seven walks allowed per nine innings pitched.

In 1999, Medina was liberally shuffled back and forth between the Calgary Cannons in the PCL and the Marlins. He went 1-2 with a 3.34 ERA in 25 triple-A appearances, all in relief. He appeared in 20 games for Florida. Walks continued to be a problem for Medina, with 20 issued over 23.1 innings. His best showing was on August 20th, when he gave up a hit and two walks, striking out three in two innings of a 6-4 loss to the Houston Astros. He earned his third and final major league victory on September 8th, pitching the 13th and final inning in a 5-4 win over the Dodgers. In only two of his appearances did he allow zero baserunners. After the season, the Atlanta Braves claimed Medina off waivers.

The next four seasons would see Medina play for four different minor league teams before retiring from professional baseball, with the Syracuse Chiefs (International League, Toronto Blue Jays, 3-1, 2.80, 33 games, 54.2 IP, 33 SO, 1.32 WHIP), the Memphis Redbirds (PCL, Cardinals, 3-1, 3.72, 27 games, 38.2 IP, 36 SO, 1.19 WHIP), the Torreon Algodoneros (Mexican League, 0-2, 11.17, three games, 9.2 IP, 11 SO, 2.28 WHIP) and the Victoria Capitals (Canadian League, 0-2, 9.82, four games, 14.2 IP, 15 SO, 1.98 WHIP). He later joined the Panamanian National Baseball team, pitching in international play as recently as 2009.

All-Time Statline: 32 games, 12 starts, 3-7, 5.96 ERA, 90.2 IP, 72 BB, 65 SO, 1.853 WHIP, -1.2 WAR

484. Nate Robertson

Nate Robertson was a 6’2", 225 lb. left-handed pitcher from Wichita, KS. Born on September 3rd, 1977, he was a fifth round pick in the 1999 amateur draft by the Marlins out of Wichita State. Robertson had undergone Tommy John surgery after his sophomore season, and despite a rather pedestrian 3.56 ERA over parts of two seasons, could boast a 13-0 record in collegiate play.

After graduation, Robertson joined Florida’s entrant in the New York-Penn League, the low-A Utica Blue Sox. He started five games, with a 2-0 record and a 2.77 ERA, 26 strikeouts in 26 innings, and a 1.15 WHIP. His performance earned him a promotion to the single-A Kane County Cougars in the Midwest League, where he continued to put up good numbers with a 6-1 record, a 2.29 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP. 2000 would see him slowed down by an injury and spending a very short season with the Cougars, going 0-2, 5.09 over six starts.

In 2001, Robertson pitched in the high-A Florida State League with the Brevard County Manatees, posting an 11-4 record with a 2.88 ERA over 19 starts. He struck out 67 in 106.1 innings and had a 1.30 WHIP. 2002 would see him spend most of the season with the Portland Sea Dogs in the double-A Eastern League, going 10-9 with a 3.42 ERA over 27 starts, striking out 109 in 163 innings and posting a 1.26 WHIP. The Marlins called him up in September for a spot start, and he remained with the team through the close of the season, getting into six games. His lone start would result in a loss, when he allowed four earned runs on seven hits and two walks over 4.2 innings in a 4-1 setback at the hands of the Pittsburgh Pirates on September 7th. He also blew a save, finishing up with an 0-1 record, an 11.88 ERA, and a 2.280 WHIP. In January of 2003, the Marlins traded him with Rob Henkel and Gary Knotts to the Detroit Tigers for Jerrod Fuell and Mark Redman.

Robertson spent seven seasons with the Tigers, mostly at the major league level. He went 51-68 with a 4.87 ERA, and even finished eighth in the running for the 2004 AL Rookie of the Year voting. He struck out 709 batters in 1042.2 innings, with an aggregate 1.461 WHIP.

Just before the 2010 campaign, the Tigers sent Robertson back to the Marlins as part of a conditional deal. Detroit got Jay Voss and cash. Florida slotted him in as the number three starter behind and Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco. On April 8th, seven and a half years after his first Florida start, he finally earned his first Florida win, limiting the Mets to five singles, a double, zero walks, one earned run and four strikeouts in five innings in a 3-1 win over New York. He got 18 starts that season with the Marlins with one relief appearance. On April 18th, he pitched 6.1 shutout innings while striking out four in a 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. On May 26th, he sent six innings allowing one unearned run on two hits and two walks, striking out five in an eventual 7-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves. In his single game in relief, on June 12th, he came on in the third inning and struck out five batters over 5.2 innings. He allowed a single earned run on four hits, completing the game but earning a no decision in a 6-5 setback at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays. On July 27th, the Marlins granted his release. He signed on with the Phillies, but only pitched a single inning over two games, allowing six earned runs. He has yet to make it back to the major leagues.

Since his jaunt with the Phillies, Robertson has appeared with the Tacoma Rainiers (Pacific Coast League, Seattle Mariners, 18 starts, 6-7, 7.14, 93.1 IP, 55 SO, 1.85 WHIP), the Wichita Wingnuts (American Association, Independent, three starts, 0-0, 0.00, 8.0 IP, 6 SO, 0.63 WHIP), the Iowa Cubs (PCL, Chicago Cubs, 14 games, 0-2, 8.10, 20 IP, 15 SO, 1.70 WHIP), the Las Vegas 51s (PCL, Toronto Blue Jays, nine games, 0-1, 8.00, 9.0 IP, 5 SO, 1.89 WHIP), the Round Rock Express (PCL, Texas Rangers, 45 games, 4-4, 3.04, 50.1 IP, 40 SO, 1.35 WHIP) and the Toledo Mud Hens (International League, Detroit, 14 games, 0-2, 3.43, 21 IP, 12 SO, 1.57 WHIP).

All-Time Statline: 25 games, 19 starts, 6-9, 5.96 ERA, 108.2 IP, 44 BB, 64 SO, 1.555 WHIP, -1.2 WAR

483. Eric Ludwick

Eric Ludwick was a 6’5", 210 lb. right-handed pitcher from Whiteman AFB, MO. Born on December 14th, 1971, he was drafted in the second round of the 1993 amateur draft by the New York Mets out of UNLV. He joined the Pittsfield Mets in the low-A New York-Penn League after graduation, going on to post a 4-4 record with a 3.18 ERA over 10 starts. He struck out 40 over 51 innings pitched, with a 1.35 WHIP.

In 1994, Ludwick found himself on the St. Lucie Mets in the high-A Florida State League, where he played the entire season and collected a 7-13 record with a 4.55 ERA over 27 starts, striking out 77 over 1501. Innings. 1995 would see him split the year between the Binghampton Mets (double-A, Eastern League, 23 games, 12-5, 2.95, 143.1 IP, 131 SO, 1.23 WHIP) and the Norfolk Tides (triple-A, International League, four games, 1-1, 5.85, 20 IP, 9 SO, 1.45 WHIP). In January 1996, the Mets sent him along with Erik Hiljus and Yudith Ozorio to the St. Louis Cardinals for Bernard GIlkey.

Ludwick went 3-4 over 11 starts for the Cardinals’ triple-A club in the American Association, the Louisville Redbirds. He had a 2.83 ERA, 73 strikeouts in only 60.1 innings, and a 1.31 WHIP. In September, the Cards called him up to the parent club, where he appeared in six games. His best outing came on September 25th, when he allowed a single unearned run on one hit while striking out four in only two innings of an 8-7 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. He would go 0-1 with an even 9.00 ERA over 10 innings, with 12 strikeouts and a 1.400 WHIP.

1997 would see Ludwick start out the season on St. Louis’ major league roster. He appeared in three games over the first two weeks of the season, giving up four hits and four walks over 2.2 innings. After some time back in Louisville (24 games, 6-8, 2.93, 80 IP, 85 SO, 1.16 WHIP), he rejoined the Cardinals for two more games in July, allowing eight hits and six earned runs over just four innings. After earning an 0-1 record and a 9.45 ERA over 6.2 innings at the major league level that season, St. Louis traded him to the Oakland Athletics with TJ Mathews and Blake Stein for Mark McGwire. Ludwick went 1-1 with the Edmonton Trappers in the Pacific Coast League over six games before getting called up to the A’s, where he was inserted into the rotation for four starts. The best of those would result in his first major league win, a 9-4 win against the Kansas City Royals where he allowed two earned runs over five innings.

Just after the end of the Marlins’ first World Championship, Florida traded away Kurt Abbott to the A’s for Ludwick. Ludwick joined the Marlins’ rotation in the number four spot, where he made six starts between April and July of 1998. On April 3rd, in Florida’s fourth game of the season, he struck out seven in as many innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits in an eventual 7-1 loss against the Milwaukee Brewers. After some time in the International League with the Charlotte Knights (eight games, 1-3, 3.71, 26.2 IP, 26 SO, 1.42 WHIP), Ludwick rejoined the Marlins as a mid-inning reliever in late-August. On September 2nd, he came on for three innings of relief work in a 14-4 blowout loss to the Cardinals, and struck out four while allowing just a single walk (and no hits). He earned a 7.44 ERA over 32.2 innings, with a 1.929 WHIP and 27 strikeouts in 32.2 innings pitched. The Detroit Tigers selected him in December in the minor league draft.

The Tigers flipped Ludwick later that day to the Toronto Blue Jays for Beiker Graterol, and Ludwick (after one inning with Toronto, where he allowed three earned runs) eventually rejoined the Marlins’ organization as part of an earlier trade with the Jays. Ludwick remained with the Calgary Cannons for the Marlins that season in the PCL, where he went 11-6 with a 3.86 ERA over 48 appearances, with 61 strikeouts in 58.1 innings. He was granted his walking papers after the close of the season, and signed a free agent contract with the Brewers.

Ludwick spent 2000 with the Indianapolis Indians for the Brewers organization, posting a 6-3 record, a 2.80 ERA, and a 1.35 WHIP over 64.1 IP. He then played two seasons with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, where he compiled a 3-6 record with a 5.29 ERA and a 1.584 WHIP. He did not again appear in competitive baseball after going 2-2 in nine starts with the Independent Atlantic City Surf in 2002.

All-Time Statline: 13 games, six starts, 1-4, 7.44 ERA, 32.2 IP, 17 BB, 27 SO, 1.929 WHIP, -1.1 WAR

482. John Mabry

John Mabry was a 6’4", 195 lb. outfielder and corner infielder from Wilmington, DE. Born on October 17th, 1970, he was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the sixth round of the 1991 amateur draft out of Westchester University of Pennsylvania. He joined the Hamilton Redbirds in the low-A New York-Penn League after graduation, and hit .310/.370/.385/.755 in 49 games, striking out less than one time in every 10 at bats. Soon, he was sent up to the Savannah Redbirds in the single-A Southern Atlantic League, where he hit .233/.284/.326/.610 in 22 games.

1992 would see Mabry link up with the Springfield Cardinals in the Midwest League, also a single-A level team. He played the entire season with the club (less some injury time), appearing in 115 games and hitting .263/.300/.395/.695 with 11 home runs and 57 RBI. He played most of the 1993 campaign at the double-A level Arkansas Travelers in the Texas League, leading the team with a .290 average and 136 games played. He hit 32 doubles, 16 home runs, 72 RBI, and drew 27 walks.

1994 would find Mabry promoted to AAA, for the Louisville Redbirds in the American Association, and hit .262/.311/.423/.734 with 15 round-trippers and 68 RBI. He was called up to play for St. Louis for two weeks near the end of April. In his first appearance, on April 23rd in a 15-5 loss to the Houston Astros, he hit an RBI double in the fourth inning for his first major league hit and RBI. On May 1st, he went three-for-five with a double, a run and an RBI in a 6-5 win over Houston.

In 1995, Mabry only spent four games at the minor league level, going one-for-12 for Louisville. He joined the Cardinals just seven games into the season, and ended up getting into 129 for the parent club and finishing fourth that season in the NL Rookie of the Year Award. He played first base most of the time, along with time in right field and left field, batting everywhere from first through seventh in the lineup, but mostly fifth. On August 6th, he hit three singles and a double with two RBI in a 4-3, 13-innings win against the Chicago Cubs. On the 25th, he went four-for-five with a run, a double, and three RBI in an 8-3 win over the Colorado Rockies. Two days later, in the same series, he hit two doubles and a solo home run in a 10-5 triumph. He led the club in batting average, hitting .307/.347/.405/.752 with 21 doubles, five home runs, and 41 RBI.

Mabry played three more seasons with the Cardinals, hitting .279/.334/.398/.733 over 409 games with 71 doubles, 27 home runs and 156 RBI. He ranked fourth in the NL in fielding percentage in 1996, racking up a .994 clip over 1,254 chances at first base. After the 1998 season, Mabry signed with the Seattle Mariners as a free agent. Over a season and a half, he hit .244/.306/.382/.688 with 10 homers and 40 RBI, then joined the San Diego Padres for the second half of the 2000 season after a trade which yielded Al Martin for the Padres.

2001 would open with Mabry back on the St. Louis Cardinals. He went 0-for-7 in five games before being included in a trade to the Marlins as part of a conditional deal. For Florida, Mabry played all three outfield positions, first base, and even a third of an inning as pitcher (five earned runs, 135.00 ERA). On June 29th, he hit two doubles for four RBI in an 8-4 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. Mabry ended up posting a .218/.299/.388/.687 statline, with six home runs and 20 RBI.

Later on in his career, Mabry played with the Philadelphia Phillies (21 games, .286/.304/.286/.590), the Oakland Athletics (89 games, .275/.322/.523/.846, 11 home runs, 40 RBI), another season with the Mariners (64 games, .212/.328/.356/.684), two more seasons in a third go-round with St. Louis (199 games, .267/.329/.455/.784, 21 home runs, 72 RBI), the Cubs (107 games, .205/.283/.324/.607), and the Rockies (28 games, .118/.231/.235/.466). He retired after the 2007 campaign, then in 2011 served as a pre- and post-game analyst for Fox Sports Midwest. He later was Mark McGwire’s assistant hitting coach for the Cards in 2012, then for the 2013 season was moved up to the primary hitting coach slot, where he still serves today.

All-Time Statline: 82 games, 32-for-147, 14 runs, seven doubles, zero triples, six home runs, 20 RBI, one stolen base, 13 walks, 44 strikeouts, .218/.299/.388/.687, -1.1 win shares.

481. Ryan Tucker

Tucker was a 6’1", 215 lb. right-handed pitcher from Burbank, CA. Born on December 6th, 1986, he was a first round pick for the Marlins in the 2005 amateur draft, 34th overall. He joined the rookie-level GCL Marlins in the Gulf Coast League after his selection, and went 3-3 with a 3.69 ERA, 23 strikeouts in 31.2 innings, and a 1.61 WHIP. Later that season, he made four starts for the Jamestown Jammers in the low pitcher from Burbank, CA. Born on December 6th, 1986, he was selected by Florida in the first round of the 2005 amateur draft with the 34th overall pick. He joined the -A New York-Penn League, going 1-1 with an 8.36 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 14 innings but a WHIP of 2.07.

In 2006, Tucker found himself with the single-A Greensboro Grasshoppers in the South Atlantic League, starting 25 games and posting a 7-13 record. He had a 1.45 WHIP, a 5.00 ERA, and struck out 133 batters in 131.1 innings. He played the following season with the high-A Jupiter Hammerheads, starting 24 times and only earning decisions in half of them, finishing 5-7 with a 3.52 ERA. He struck out 104 in 138 innings and a 1.35 WHIP.

2008 would see Tucker spend the majority of his campaign with the Carolina Mudcats, starting 12 of his 25 appearances and racking up a 5-3 record with an impressive 1.58 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP, with 74 strikeouts in 91 innings. His performance earned him the Marlins’ "minor league pitcher of the year" award. He was called up for six turns in the rotation in early June. His first major league start was his best, when he allowed two hits and struck out six in five innings as the Marlins set down the Cincinnati Reds, 9-1 on June 8th. Tucker earned his second and final win as a Marlin on June 18th, allowing seven hits and striking out four in an 8-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners.

Tucker spent two more seasons with the Marlins organization.

In 2009, Tucker was slowed by an injury to six games between the GCL Marlins and the New Orleans Zephyrs, and 2010 would see hom play most of his season with Jupiter, going 1-3 with a 6.00 over 23 relief appearances. The Texas Rangers picked him up off waivers after the 2010 campaign, and he played most of 2011 with the Round Rock Express, Texas’ triple-A team in the Pacific Coast League. He went 3-5 with a 5.40 ERA over 29 appearances, making eight starts. He still struck out batters at a prolific rate, whiffing 64 in 68.1 innings, but he would only play five more innings of major league ball. He allowed 10 baserunners over his five appearances, with a 7.20 ERA. He appeared in four games the following season with the Albuquerque Dukes in the PCL, but that was the last of his appearance in competitive baseball.

All-Time Statline: 13 games, six starts, 2-3, 8.27 ERA, 37.0 IP, 23 BB, 28 SO, 1.865 WHIP, -1.1 WAR

Check back tomorrow, when we'll take a look back at three right-handed pitchers, an outfielder, and Florida's starting first baseman from 2014.