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All-Time Marlins Countdown: Chapter 16

Here’s six more players from the annals of Marlins history.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Philadelphia Phillies James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

The Marlins have seen 630 players take the field in a regular season game through their first 28 seasons of major league play.

We’re going through all of them, one at a time. The six players included in today’s story are from the fourth tier as described on the hub page. That is—these six are all below replacement level and have between 20 and 74 plate appearances / batters faced. Players are ranked within their tier group (20-74 PA/BF) by brWAR per PA/BF. As such, each player is marginally better than the one before by this measure.

525. Mike Lamb

Mike Lamb is a left-handed batting, right-handed throwing corner infielder from West Covina, California. In 1997, he was chosen in the seventh round by the Texas Rangers out of California State University. He got to the majors for them in 2000, and in four seasons with the parent club, he hit .282/.336/.385 with 19 home runs and 117 RBI in 357 games.

Just before the 2004 season, the Rangers traded Lamb to the Houston Astros for Juan De Leon. De Leon never made it to the majors, but Lamb would turn in the most productive seasons of his career. In four years for the Astros, he hit .281/.342/.464 and hit 49 homers with 196 RBI in 487 contests. After the season ended, he signed with the Minnesota Twins in free agency. They traded him to the Milwaukee Brewers at the trade deadline. He came to the Marlins prior to 2010.

Lamb spent most of the first four months of the season with the Marlins in the majors, but also played 60 games with the Triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs. With Florida, he played in a total of 39 games, 38 of them as a pinch-hitter (he played one game at first base, going 0-for-3). His best moment while with the Marlins was on May 31, when he pinch-hit an RBI-single to take a 5-4 lead against the Brewers, a game the Marlins eventually won, 13-5.

Overall, Lamb went seven-for-38 with a double, a triple, two walks and six strikeouts. The Marlins granted his free agency after the season. He signed through free agency with the New York Yankees for 2011, but didn’t get back to the major leagues.

524. Koyie Hill

Koyie Hill was a switch-hitting catcher when drafted in the fourth round of the 2000 draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers out of Wichita State University. A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Hill debuted at the majors in 2003 with L.A., and went one-for-three over three games. Hill played two seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks and six with the Chicago Cubs at the major league level.

Hill signed with the Marlins through free agency prior to the 2013 season. He spent most of the year with the Zephyrs, and hit .237 in 60 games. In mid-August, he got the call to join Miami. He played in 18 games, mostly as the starter behind the plate, but in only three of them did he end up with a positive WPA. He went nine-for-58 from the plate, with two doubles, no RBI, two walks, and 18 strikeouts. In 145 23 innings of defensive work, he made one error in 114 chances, and caught two-of-13 runners trying to steal.

Hill joined the Philadelphia Phillies in 2014, and went 5-for-21 from the plate to close out his major league career.

523. Stephen Tarpley

MLB: Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen Tarpley is a left-handed pitcher from Los Angeles. In 2013, he was drafted in the third round by the Baltimore Orioles. Before the 2015 season, the Orioles traded him to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Travis Snider. The Pirates later sent him to the New York Yankees for Ivan Nova.

Tarpley made his major league debut in 2018 with the Bombers, and in 33 23 innings over two seasons he racked up 47 K’s. He also allowed a 1.81 WHIP and a 5.88 ERA. Before 2020 Spring Training, the Marlins traded for him by sending prospect James Nelson to New York.

Fish Stripes original GIF

Tarpley joined the Marlins for the shortened 2020 season, but it was cut unfortunately short by a right-oblique strain on August 24. Prior to that, he got into 12 games and went 2-2 with a 9.00 ERA in 11 innings of work. He struck out a batter per inning, but also gave up eight walks and 11 hits, hitting three batters for good measure. His best game was inarguably on August 21 in a 3-2 win over the Nationals. He struck out four in 1 23 innings, giving up only a single.

522. Ryan Thompson

Chestertown, Maryland native Ryan Thompson was the 13th round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in 1987. A right-handed outfielder, Thompson got to the majors five years later with the New York Mets. In four seasons as a fourth outfielder, he slashed out a .239/.300/.417 line, with 39 home runs and 126 RBI.

Thompson later played in the majors for the Cleveland Indians in 1996, the Astros in 1999, and the Yankees in 2000. He began 2001 on a free agent contract with the Blue Jays, but they released him prior to Opening Day. Florida picked him up four days later. In 78 games for the Triple-A Calgary Cannons, he slashed .310/.342/.587 and clubbed 19 homers with 69 RBI. He joined the Marlins for the month of July.

Thompson continued his hot hitting while stationed at the major league level, going nine-for-31 with five doubles, although he only collected two RBI. He drew one walk and struck out eight times. Although he was more-or-less at replacement level offensively, he turned in a -0.3 brWAR performance as a defender in the outfield. In 73 13 defensive innings, mostly in right but also sometimes in left (and once in center), Thompson made 11 putouts and pitched in with an assist, but also committed one error.

Thompson returned to the majors in 2002 with the Milwaukee Brewers, and played in 62 games. He hit eight more home runs with a .248 average, but it was his last exposure to the majors.

521. John Koronka

Left-handed starting pitcher and Clearwater, Florida native John Koronka was the 12th round choice of the Cincinnati Reds in 1998. Before getting to the majors seven years later, he also played in the systems of the Texas Rangers and the Chicago Cubs, for whom he made his debut.

Back with the Rangers in 2006, Koronka more-or-less spent the season in their rotation, making 23 starts. He was 7-7 with a 5.69 ERA, a 1.536 WHIP, and 61 K’s in 125 innings. He eventually joined the Indians off waivers and signed on as a free agent with the Rockies before inking a deal with the Marlins before the 2009 campaign. Most of that year was spent with the Zephyrs, where he was 4-10 with a 4.83 ERA, a 1.570 WHIP and 77 whiffs in 128 23 innings.

Called up to the Marlins for two starts in May, Koronka didn’t fare very well. He surrendered 11 runs on 11 hits and seven walks in only 7 13 innings for an 11.05 ERA and a 2.455 WHIP. He also allowed as many homers (four) as he had strikeouts. The two games with Florida were the last he would play at the major league level.

520. Julio Ramirez

Right-handed center-fielder Julio Ramírez is a native of San Juan de Maguana, Dominican Republic. In 1993, he signed his first professional deal to play ball for the Marlins through free agency at the age of 16.

It took him six years, but Ramírez made it to the majors with the Marlins in 1999. Most of that season was spent with the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs, where he slashed .261/.308/.417 in 138 games. He clubbed 13 homers and stole 64 bases. He got called up to the bigs in September of that year.

Ramírez singled then scored in his first plate appearance on September 11, but the Marlins lost to the Reds, 12-4. In total, he went three-for-21 with a double and two RBI, with a walk and six strikeouts. Defensively, he made 19 putouts and committed one error in 50 innings in center field.

After the 2000 season spent in the minors, Ramírez was traded by the Marlins to the Chicago White Sox for Jeff Abbott. He went three-for-37 at the plate for them. Later, he played parts of two seasons with the Anaheim Angels and 12 games in 2005 with the San Francisco Giants.