Throughout the 2016-17 offseason, Fish Stripes will be counting down the top 100 Marlins to ever appear with the club. Players are ordered according to their cumulative Wins Above Replacement (WAR). The number 100 player, Matt Turner, set the lower limit at 2.0. Today’s player, Mike Dunn, secured a figure of 2.5 over six Florida/Miami seasons.
Dunn is a left-handed throwing and hitting pitcher from Farmington, New Mexico. Born on May 23rd, 1985, he was drafted in the 33rd round of the 2004 amateur draft, with the 999th overall selection by the New York Yankees.
Dunn joined the GCL Yankees at the rookie level in 2006, going 3-0 with a 0.73 ERA and a 0.892 WHIP in 24.2 innings, striking out 26 batters. Over the next few seasons, he made stops in the Yankees system at the low-A Staten Island Yankees, the single-A Charleston Riverdogs, the high-A Tampa Yankees, the double-A Trenton Thunder, and the triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees. His time with the franchise culminated in four major league innings in 2009, where he walked five and allowed three earned runs on three hits. New York traded him after the season to the Atlanta Braves with Melky Cabrera, Arodys Vizcaino and cash for Boone Logan and Javier Vazquez.
While a member of Atlanta’s organization for the 2010 campaign, Dunn split his time between the triple-A International League Gwinnett Braves (38 games, 2-0, 1.52 ERA, 64 whiffs in 47.1 innings) and Atlanta (25 games, 2-0, 1.89 ERA, 27 K’s in 19.0 innings). After the season, the Braves sent him with Omar Infante to Florida for Dan Uggla.
2011 would see Dunn lead the Marlins with 72 appearances and 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings. He posted a 5-6 record and a 3.43 ERA, with a 4.29 FIP which showed he enjoyed stellar defensive support. He racked up a 1.302 WHIP and struck out 68 batters in 63.0 innings. The Marlins went 31-41 when he played and 41-49 when he didn’t. He allowed zero baserunners in 26 of his appearances.
Dunn earned his second game as a Marlin on May 2nd, pitching two perfect innings of relief in an 8-7 win against the St. Louis Cardinals. On May 16th, Dunn struck out five Mets in two innings of work as the Marlins dropped a 2-1 decision to New York.
In 2012, Dunn went 0-3 for Miami, but did earn his first save. He earned a 4.91 ERA and a 3.82 FIP, indicating a lack of quality defense to back him up. He had 47 strikeouts in 44.0 innings pitched, for a team-second-best 9.6 K/9 rate. On June 25th, he came on in the eighth inning against the Cardinals, trailing 6-2 and with runners on the corners with one out, then struck out Daniel Descalso and Matt Carpenter to halt any further damage to Miami’s chances of victory. St. Louis ended up winning, 8-7 in 10 innings.
Dunn dropped his ERA down to 2.66 for the Marlins in 2013, going 3-4 with two saves over a team-high 75 games. He whiffed 72 in 67.2 innings, with a 1.197 WHIP and a 3.12 FIP. The 62-100 Fish were 36-39 in Dunn’s appearances, and a dreadful 26-61 when he didn’t pitch. On July 8th, he pitched a perfect 12th and 13th inning, striking out three Braves and holding a 1-1 tie. Unfortunately, converted catcher Chris Hatcher gave up six runs in the 14th (on four hits, three walks, and an error) for a 7-1 Atlanta win.
In 2014, Dunn ranked second on the Marlins in victories, going 10-6 and again leading the team with 75 appearances. He struck out 67 in 57.0 innings, with a 1.211 WHIP, 10.6 K/9, just 7.4 H/9, a 3.16 ERA, and a nearly matching 3.06 FIP. He earned a win on April 26th when he struck out four Mets over the eighth and ninth innings as the Marlins won in 10, 7-6. The Marlins coasted to a 46-29 record when he played, versus just 31-56 when he did not.
2015 would see Dunn lead the Marlins in appearances for the third season in a row, getting into 72 games and striking out 65 in 54.0 innings. He racked up a 2-5 record with a 4.50 ERA, a 1.389 WHIP, and a 3.89 FIP. The Marlins, 40-32 when Dunn pitched, went 31-59 when he did not. In 30 of his appearances, he did not allow a single baserunner. In three of those, he struck out the side, including in his first appearance of the season, on opening day, April 6th. He struck out Jace Peterson, Nick Markakis, and Freddie Freeman, pitching a perfect eighth inning in a 2-1 Marlins loss to Atlanta. On May 30th, Dunn came into a 5-5 tie with the Mets in the bottom of the sixth, one out, and runners on the corners, then struck out Lucas Duda and got David Murphy to ground out to short. Miami eventually pulled out a 9-5 victory, after homers from Giancarlo Stanton and John Baker.
Dunn missed the first two months of the season in 2016 due to injury rehab, then joined the team on June 1st. In contrast to seasons past, the Marlins used Dunn in games in which they were behind, leading to a 19-32 team record in his games and a 60-50 record otherwise. He played in 51 games in total, going 6-1 with a 3.40 ERA and a 3.88 FIP. He posted a 1.276 WHIP over the course of the season, and for the first time in his career didn’t strike out more than one batter per inning, whiffing 38 in 42.1 frames. He was granted his free agency following this past season, and he hasn’t signed on with anyone as of yet.