This offseason, we’re recapping the Top 100 Marlins to appear while with the franchise, both Florida and Miami versions. Using the Wins Above Replacement (WAR) metric to order the list, today’s entrant has a 2.4 career WAR figure.
Derek Dietrich is a 6’, 205 lb. left-handed batting infielder from Cleveland, Ohio. He was originally selected in the third round of the 2007 amateur draft with the 111th overall selection by the Houston Astros. Born on July 18th, 1989, he was a Yellowjacket at Georgia Tech when he was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the second round of the 2010 amateur draft with the 79th overall selection. Soon afterward, he joined ther Hudson Valley Renegades in the low-A New York Penn League, where he put up a .279/340/.419/.759 slashline in 45 games, with three homers and 20 RBI.
In 2011, Dietrich joined the Bowling Green Hot Rods in the single-A Midwest League, where he played in 127 contests and hit .277/.346/.502/.848 with 22 round trippers and 81 RBI. 2012 would see him remain in the Rays’ organization between the high-A Charlotte Stone Crabs in the Florida State League (98 games, .282/.343/.468/.811, 10 home runs, 58 RBI) and the double-A Montgomery Biscuits in the Southern League (34 games, .271/.324/.429/.753, four home runs, 17 RBI). After the season, the Rays traded him to the Marlins for Yunel Escobar.
Dietrich began and ended the 2013 season with the Jacksonville Suns in the Southern League, where he totaled 11 homers and 38 RBI, hitting .271/.381/.509/.890 in 63 games. For three months in the middle of the campaign, he was called up to the Marlins for his first taste of major league action.
As a Marlin in his rookie season, Dietrich played exclusively at second base, slashing .214/.275/.405/.679 with nine round-trippers and 23 RBI. He started 56 games, appearing once as a pinch hitter, collecting multiple hits 10 times and helping the Marlins to a 21-36 record in games in which he appeared (the Fish were a 41-64 team when he didn’t play). Although he played in just under 40% of the Marlins’ contests, he ranked second on the team by taking first base seven times due to taking a hit-by-pitch. It would prove to be a recurring trend.
On May 10th (see below), Dietrich hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning to tie the Los Angeles Dodgers at three, a game the Marlins eventually won, 5-4. On May 25th, he hit a solo homer in the ninth inning to tie the Chicago White Sox at one in interleague play. Unfortunately, Ryan Webb allowed Corey Gillaspie an RBI single to score Dewayne Wise in the bottom half for a 2-1 Sox win. In a 6-2 Marlins win over the San Diego Padres on June 30th, he drew a walk in the second, a two-run double in the fourth, and a sacrifice fly in the ninth just before Jeff Mathis hit a walkoff grand slam.
In 2014, Dietrich began the season on Miami’s opening day roster, then appeared in 49 of the Marlins’ first 83 games of the season. He played mostly second base, starting 43 times, and helped the Marlins to a 20-29 record. They went 57-56 when he sat. He led the club with 10 HBP’s, even though he ranked 18th on the team in overall appearances. He improved his statline ever so slightly from his rookie season, putting up a .228/.326/.386/.712 slash with five homers and 17 RBI. He put up six two-hit games in total.
On April 16th, Dietrich hit a three-run shot in the fourth inning, accounting for all of Miami’s runs in a 6-3 loss to the Washington Nationals. Five days later, he hit a pinch-RBI-double in the ninth inning to tie the Atlanta Braves at two and send it to extra innings, although the Marlins eventually dropped the game, 4-2 in 10 innings. On May 16th (see below), he hit a two-run homer in the third and singled and scored the eventual winning run in the ninth inning of a 7-5 win over the San Francisco Giants. The latter part of the season would see him make his triple-A debut with the New Orleans Zephyrs, where he appeared in 21 games and slashed .317/.391/.610/1.001 with seven home runs and 16 RBI.
2015 would see Dietrich play in 56 games for the Zephyrs (.260/.357/.458/.815, seven home runs, 27 RBI). The larger part of the season, however, was spent in Miami with the Marlins, where he played in 90 games in left field, third base, second base, and even a little time at first base. The 71-91 Marlins went 37-53 with him playing and 34-38 when he did not. He started 71 times and had 17 multi-hit games, including three three-hit affairs. His NL-sixth 13 HBP’s led the team, by a comfortable margin over Martin Prado (who was only beaned five times), and he slashed what was then a career best .256/.346/.456/.802, with 10 homers and 24 RBI.
On June 20th (see below), in a 5-0 Marlins win over the Cincinnati Reds, Dietrich drew first by getting beaned in the opening inning, smacked a solo shot to open the fourth, drew a walk in the fifth, and hit a two-run homer in the seventh for his first multi-homer game. On August 16th, he hit a three-run triple in the fifth and singled in the seventh as the Fish defeated the St. Louis Cardinals, 6-4. Two weeks later, he hit a solo homer in the fourth and added a double in the sixth as the Marlins dropped a 7-4 decision to the Nationals. Still, at the end of the season, Dietrich’s career WAR stood at an even 0.0. He earned the 2.4 figure entirely due to his performance in 2016.
Dietrich topped his career high with 128 appearances in 2016, and led the major leagues with 24 HBP’s. He is currently Miami’s all-time leader with 54 in his career, three more than Alex Gonzalez, who had more than three times as many plate appearances as a Marlin. Dietrich hit .279/.374/.425/.798, with seven taters and 42 RBI through the season. The Marlins were 56-72 in his games, and somehow, 23-10 when he didn’t appear. He started 96 times, and collected more than one hit in 26 contests, including five three hit games.
On May 1st, Dietrich hit a single in the first, an RBI-triple in the fifth, and a walk in the eighth, although the Milwaukee Brewers earned a 14-5 win in Miller Park. On May 29th, he walked in the second, singled in the fourth, hit a two-run homer in the sixth, and added a two-run double in the seventh as the Marlins defeated the Braves, 7-3. On June 26th, in a 6-1 win over the eventual World Series Champion Chicago Cubs, he hit an RBI-double to left in the second, drew an HBP in the fourth and the sixth, and added a leadoff single in the eighth, later scoring his second run of the game. On July 31st, he hit a pinch hit, RBI-triple to left field in the bottom of the ninth inning, walkoff style against the Cardinals.
Dietrich seems to be part of Miami’s plans going forward - although he’s arbitration eligible after 2017, he doesn’t qualify for free agency until 2021. Looks like we can count on him to get another 50 or 100 HBP’s before he leaves, or perhaps he can someday challenge Hughie Jennings’ major league record of 287.
Check back here tomorrow as we take a look at the previously mentioned reliever, Ryan Webb.