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, Kevin Charles Millar, earned a mark of 7.6 while with the team.
Millar was (is) a 6’1”, 195 lb. first / third baseman / right / left fielder from Los Angeles, California. Born on September 24th, 1971, he was signed through free agency by the Marlins in 1994, after slashing .260/.338/.383/.722 in the indepedent Northern League with the St. Paul Saints. He joined the Marlins in 1998 at the major league level for two games in April. He collected a pinch hit in his first at bat, but the Marlins dropped the 10-inning contest to the Pittsburgh Pirates by a 7-6 final score.
1999 would see Millar make a more significant contribution to the winning chances of the Marlins, who posted a 64-98 record overall but went 44-47 in his starts (versus 20-51 in games that he didn’t). He played in 105 games overall, which ranked him first on Florida’s depth chart at first base, and hit .285/.362/.433/.795 with nine homers and a team-third 67 RBI. He also hit 17 doubles, four triples, and drew 40 walks versus 64 strikeouts batting cleanup for most of his starts. He had 29 multi-hit games, including seven three-hit contests.
Millar was particularly hot from June 26th through July 31st, when over a 30 game span he hit .374 with five homers, 31 RBI and an OPS of 1.009. On June 30th, he had two singles, a home run, and three RBI as the Marlins defeated the New York Mets, 4-3 in 10 innings. The next day, he hit two singles and a triple with three RBI and a run scored as the Marlins again set down the Mets, 12-8. Two days after that, he hit a single, a double, and a home run, totaling five RBI in a 6-1 victory against the Montreal Expos. On July 9th, he hit two doubles, scored two runs, knocked in two more, and drew first base by getting hit by a pitch, twice as the Marlins topped the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 11-4. 13 of his multihit games happened over that span.
Florida improved to 79-82 in Millar’s second full season, the year 2000, including a 30-32 mark in games that he started. He played in 123 games in total, getting 31 starts at first base, 13 in left field, 12 at third base, and six at designated hitter. He slashed .259/.364/.498/.862, with 14 homers and 42 RBI, with 14 doubles and 36 walks with 47 strikeouts. On July 9th, he hit two doubles with a run scored and an RBI in a 10-9 win over the Rays. On July 30th, he went four-for-four with two doubles and a homer, totaling two RBI in a 4-3 victory against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
In 2001, the Marlins posted a 59-57 record in Millar’s starts and a 17-29 record otherwise, going 76-86 in total. In that season, he earned a career-high tying 2.8 WAR, and earned career-bests in batting average, slugging percentage, and OPS, slashing .314/.374/.557/.931, with 39 doubles, 30 homers, 85 RBI, 39 walks and 70 K’s. Although he never before made a start in right field, he ended up leading Florida with 65 that season. He also started 20 times in left, 15 times at first base, 10 times at third, and six more times at DH.
Millar was named the NL Player of the Week on July 15th after going 12-for-26 with four doubles, two homers, and six RBI, hitting safely in all six games that week. That included a four-hit night in a 5-4 loss to the New York Yankees on July 14th. He had 35 multi-hit games overall, and 10 times collected three or more. On June 7th, he hit a single, a double, and a home run, totaling four RBI in a 5-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
2002 would be Millar’s last season with the Marlins, and he hit .306/.366/.509/.875 with a career best 41 doubles, 16 homers, 57 RBI, 40 walks and 74 strikeouts. The 79-83 Marlins went 54-62 in Millar’s starts and 25-21 when he didn’t. He had 41 multi-hit contests, including five with three or more. He hit a single, a double, and a home run with four RBI on August 3rd, in an 11-7 win against the MIlwaukee Brewers.
Prior to 2003 Spring Training, the Boston Red Sox purchased Millars’ contract from the Marlins. He played three seasons in Beantown (432 games, .282/.362/.451/.813, 52 homers, 220 RBI) and three with the Baltimore Orioles (417 games, .252/.352/.415/.768, 52 homers, 199 RBI) before closing up in 2009 with the Toronto Blue Jays (78 games, .223/.311/.363/.674, seven homers, 29 RBI).
Millar currently co-hosts the MLB Network series, Intentional Talk.
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.