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All-Time Top 100 Marlins: #27 Juan Pierre

Juan Pierre stole 190 bases in four seasons with the Marlins.

Miami Marlins v Washington Nationals Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images

Throughout the 2016-17 offseason, Fish Stripes will be going back over the Top 100 Marlins of all time, from their inception as the Florida Marlins in 1993 through today's incarnation as the Miami Marlins. I used the WAR metric to order all potential members of the list. Today's Marlin, Juan D’Vaughn Pierre, earned a mark of 7.6 while with the team.

Pierre was a 5’10”, 180 lb. outfielder from Mobile, AL born on August 14th, 1977. A left-handed hitter and fielder, he was a 30th round selection of the Seattle Mariners in the 1995 MLB Amateur Draft. Pierre earned a 16.9 career WAR, much better than other future major leaguers selected in that round. Outfielder Dusty Allen (0.1), shortstop Rob Mackowiak (5.5), and right-handed pitchers Brandon Duckworth (-1.4) and Nelson Figeroa (2.6) rounded out the draft class. Pierre didn’t sign though, and the Mariners spent a 48th round pick on his the following season. Again, Pierre declined, and was eventually selected in the 13th round of the 1998 draft by the Colorado Rockies.

Pierre made his major league debut in 2000 with the Rockies, and spent his first three big-league seasons there. He hit .308/.356/.371/.727 over 359 contests, with 145 RBI and 190 stolen bases. After the 2002 campaign, the Rockies sent him with Mike Hampton and cash to the Marlins for Vic Darensbourg, Charles Johnson, Pablo Ozuna, and Preston Wilson.

2003 would see Pierre lead the National League by appearing in all 162 games. He also led the circuit with 747 plate appearances, 668 at bats, 15 sacrifice hits, 19.1 at bats per strikeout, 402 putouts, five double plays turned from centerfield, and 65 stolen bases. It was a good enough season that he ended up ranking 10th in the season-ending NL MVP vote. His 204 total hits ranked third in the league, and he also placed highly with a .993 fielding percentage (second for center fielders). He hit .305/.361/.373/.734 wtih 28 doubles, seven triples, 41 RBI, and 55 walks versus just 35 strikeouts. The Marlins went 91-71, and Pierre collected multiple hits in 64 of them, including 19 games with three or more. He earned a 3.4 WAR that season. On September 17th, he collected four RBI on two singles and two doubles, also stealing a base and scoring twice in an 11-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Pierre went 22-for-72 in the postseason, with seven RBI. In Miami’s Game Two NLDS 9-5 win over the San Francisco Giants, he went four-for-five with three runs scored and three RBI, a double and a stolen base. In the NLCS Game Six win over the Chicago Cubs (the Steve Bartman game), Pierre scored the first of eight runs in the eighth inning as the Marlins overcame a 3-0 deficit to win by an 8-3 final. He went three-for-five with a double in the contest overall.

Pierre played in all 162 games in 2004 as well, but the Marlins finished 83-79 and missed the postseason. He led the league with 748 plate appearances, 678 at bats, 221 total hits, 19.4 at bats per strikeout, and 12 triples. He earned a few more MVP votes as well, finishing 21st in the year-end balloting for the NL award. He ranked sixth in the NL with a .326 average, second with 45 stolen bases, third with 15 sacrifice hits, third with 364 putouts from the outfield, and third with a .995 fielding percentage. He hit safely multiple times an incredible 74 times through the season, with 23 performances of three or more. He slashed .326/.374/.407/.781, ranking sixth in the NL in batting average. He again struck out just 35 times, and drew 45 walks.

I could write about Pierre’s contributions in 2004 for probably 1,200 words, but I’ll keep it to his three highest base-out runs-added value games. On June 13th, he scored four runs with three singles and a solo home run, a walk, and a stolen base as the Marlins defeated the Detroit Tigers, 9-2. On August 25th, he hit two singles and a triple, with a walk, two RBI, three stolen bases, and two runs scored in a 6-5, 10-inning loss to the Giants. On September 2nd, he helped the Marlins to a 9-6 victory over the New York Mets with two singles, a double, two runs, two RBI, a walk, and a a stolen base. Guy could do everything except hit for power. If he was on your fantasy team that season, you were happy to have him. It was his best season for WAR as well. He picked up a total of 3.8.

For the third time in three years (and eventually five), Pierre played in all 162 games for the 2005 season. He hit .276/.326/.354/.680 with 19 doubles, an NL second 13 triples, 47 RBI, and an NL second 57 stolen bases. He was third in the NL with 656 at bats and 719 plate appearances, ninth with 181 hits. He again led the NL with at bats per strikeouts, whiffing just once every 14.6 at bats. He did strike out 45 times, the third highest total of his career, and “only” drew 41 walks. The Marlins again went 83-79, and Pierre cracked more than one hit in 56 of them, including a dozen three or more hit games.

On May 8th of that season, Pierre went five-for-five with three stolen bases, a run and an RBI, only to watch the Marlins drop an 8-3 loss to the Rockies. He hit three singles and a double with three runs, two stolen bases, and two RBI on June 15th, in a 15-5 win against the Cubbies. On July 14th, he hit two singles and a triple, with an RBI, a stolen base, and two runs scored in a 13-7 loss to Philadelphia. The Cubs sent Sergio Mitre, Ricky Nolasco, and Renyel Pinto to the Marlins after the season for him.

Pierre spent one season with the Cubs (162 games, .292/.330/.388/.717, 40 RBI, 58 stolen bases), later joining the Los Angeles Dodgers (426 games, .294/.339/.357/.696, 100 RBI, 134 stolen bases), the Chicago White Sox (318 games, .277/.335/.322/.657, 97 RBI, 95 stolen bases), and the Phillies (130 games, .307/.351/.371/.721, 25 RBI, 37 stolen bases). After the 2012 season, he signed a contract to return to the Marlins.

Far from being a drag in his age 35 season, Pierre hit .247/.284/.305/.589 for the Marlins, with a team-best 23 stolen bases in a team-sixth 113 games. His final game was Henderson Alvarez’ infamous walk-off no-hitter, on September 29th, 2013. He retired with 618 career stolen bases, good for 18th all-time.

I’ll be writing up through number 21 in this countdown based on WAR, but YOU, dear readers, will order the top 20 based on popular vote! The list below is self explanatory. Keep checking back here as we continue the march to Opening Day, right here at Fish Stripes.