There are nine current and former members of the Marlins and their affiliates who are celebrating their birthday on January 18th.
Sonny Cortez (43)
Sonny Cortez is a 6’, 210 lb. outfielder from Long Beach, California. The Marlins chose him in the 51st round of the 1994 draft out of the Cerritos College, 1,365th overall. Instead, he joined a four year program at the University of Tennessee, and slashed .370/.423/.711 in 114 games for the Volunteers, with 36 gopher balls and 145 RBI.
After college, Cortez played a season with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, splitting his time between the Augusta GreenJackets and the Lynchburg Hillcats.
Zach Lush (41)
Zach Lush is a 6’3”, 190 lb. catcher from Danvers, Massachusetts. He was drafted in the 46th round in 1998 by the Baltimore Orioles, but elected instead to continue college at the Florida Institute of Technology.
Lush resurfaced with the GCL Marlins in 2001, playing catcher and going three-for-26 in seven games. After his promotion to the Manatees, he went three-for-20 in 10 contests to close out his professional career.
Carl Jones (41)
Carl Jones was a 6’, 200 lb. outfielder from El Paso, Texas, and Florida’s 56th round selection in the 1995 draft, 1,470th overall out of El Paso Community College.
Ray Aguilar (38)
Ray Aguilar is a 5’11”, 200 lb. left-handed pitcher from South El Monte, California. He was chosen in the 25th round of the 1999 draft by the Colorado Rockies, 760th off the board out of Cypress College.
Aguilar joined the Atlanta Braves system through free agency and made his professional debut with the GCL Braves in 2001. He made his way through their system and graduated to the triple-A level with the Richmond Braves in 2004.
In 2005, Aguilar joined the Marlins system and won his only start for the Jupiter Hammerheads. He played most of the year with the Carolina Mudcats, going 5-2 over 13 starts with a 3.20 ERA, a 1.03 WHIP, and 49 strikeouts in 84 1⁄3 innings. Later, he went 12-7 for the Midland Rockhounds in 2006 for the Oakland Athletics, but wouldn’t spend any more time in organized baseball.
Ben Vannatter (37)
Ben Vannatter was a 6’1”, 215 lb. catcher from Amelia, Ohio. The Marlins picked him out of Amelia HS with the 1,360th overall choice in the 1999 draft, in the 46th round. Instead, Vannatter went to Indiana State, where he was a four-year letterman with a .279/.341/.513 slashline, with 22 homers and 84 RBI in 134 games.
Zach McCormack (36)
Zachariah E. McCormack was a 6’2”, 195 lb. left-handed pitcher from Fairfield, California, and Miami’s 11th round choice in the 2003 draft, 323rd overall out of Sacramento City College.
McCormack joined the GCL Marlins after the draft and allowed just one hit in his first 6 1⁄3 innings of work, with six strikeouts before a promotion made him a Jamestown Jammer later in the year. He went 0-2 for the NYPL outfit, with a 4.56 ERA, 35 whiffs in 25 2⁄3 innings, and a 1.95 WHIP.
In 2004, McCormack went 3-3 with a 5.89 ERA, 49 strikeouts in 44 1⁄3 innings, and a 1.83 WHIP for the Grasshoppers. He was 4-2 with a 4.61 ERA and 33 K’s in 41 innings in 2005, with an improved WHIP of 1.41. He peaked later that season with the Hammerheads, where he pitched 4 1⁄3 innings of relief over four games.
Jarlin Garcia (25)
Jarlin Garcia is a 6’2”, 170 lb. left-hander from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He signed with the Marlin through free agency in 2010.
Garcia posted a 5-5 record with a 3.29 ERA in his first season of professional baseball with the DSL Marlins in 2011. He struck out 46 in 52 frames, racking up a 1.13 WHIP. The next year would see him laterally promoted to the GCL Marlins, where he went 1-3 with a 3.60 ERA in a dozen games, striking out 32 in 40 innings, along with a 1.30 WHIP.
Garcia joined Batavia for his age-20 season in 2013, and started 15 games for a 2-3 record, a 3.10 ERA, a 1.09 WHIP, and 74 K’s in 69 2⁄3 innings. He started 25 times in 2014 for the Grasshoppers, going 10-5 with a 4.38 ERA, a 1.29 WHIP, and 111 strikeouts in 133 2⁄3 innings.
Between the Hammerheads and the Suns in 2015 and 2016, Garcia totaled a 5-11 record over 39 games, 34 of them starts. In 2017, he joined the Marlins early in the season, and ended up coming out of the bullpen 68 times in total. He went 1-2 with a 4.73 ERA, 42 strikeouts in 53 1⁄3 innings, and a 1.20 WHIP.
Alex Mateo (24)
Mateo is a 6’2”, 200 lb. right-handed pitcher from Hialeah, Florida. The Marlins chose him in the 22nd round of the 2016 draft with the 653rd selection out of Nova Southeastern College.
Over two seasons between three levels of minor league ball, split between the GCL Marlins, the Batavia Muckdogs, and the Greensboro Grasshoppers, Mateo has started in 18 of his 42 appearances, going 6-10 with a 4.53 ERA. He has struck out 141 in 131 innings, and earned a 1.33 WHIP in his professional career. Look for him to start this season with the Grasshoppers.
J.C. Millan (22)
Millan is a 6’, 185 lb. infielder from Havana, Cuba. He was undrafted, and signed as a free agent out of Broward College in 2016. He joined the GCL Marlins, and slashed .177/.253/.228 over 24 contests in his professional debut.
In 2017, Millan slashed .273/.304/.432 in 12 games for the Muckdogs, then joined the Grasshoppers for 27 games and a .231/.266/.327 slashline.