Through their first 28 seasons of operation, the Florida and Miami Marlins have employed 630 players in a live regular season game.
Our goal in this offseason long series is to touch on each and every one of them. Today’s haul of six features current Marlins Robert Dugger and Matt Joyce. All six players had between 75 and 249 plate appearances/batters faced, and are currently below replacement level.
411. Robert Dugger
Robert Dugger is a six-foot-tall right-handed pitcher from Tucson, Arizona. In 2016, the Seattle Mariners drafted him in the 18th round out of Texas Tech University.
Dugger had appeared in 30 games out of the bullpen for the Red Raiders, posting a 6-1 record and a 2.67 ERA. After two seasons in the Mariners system, they sent him with Christopher Torres and Nick Neidert to Miami for Dee Strange-Gordon.
Dugger made his major league debut for the Marlins at the tail-end of the 2019 campaign, taking seven turns in the rotation. His best game, clearly, was his second, when he struck out seven Reds in as many innings, allowing two unearned runs on three hits and a walk in a 4-3 victory on August 29.
Overall, the picture wasn’t as rosy for Dugger. He walked 17 batters in 34 1⁄3 innings, striking out 25, and although he allowed less than a hit per inning, six of the 33 were home runs. He also hit five batters and threw a pair of wild pitches. The Marlins posted a 2-5 record in games that Dugger started, and Dugger finished the campaign with an 0-4 record, a 5.77 ERA, and a 1.456 WHIP.
Dugger’s contribution in 2020 was 10 2⁄3 innings, during which he gave up 21 hits and three walks. He allowed five homers and posted a 12.66 ERA and a 2.250 WHIP to land at -0.5 brWAR despite only appearing in four games. He’s 0-for-11 with six strikeouts lifetime at the plate, and has taken four fielding chances without an error. He remains on Miami’s 40-man roster.
410. John Johnstone
Liverpool, New York native John Johnstone is a six-foot-three right handed pitcher. In 1987, the New York Mets drafted him in the 20th round out of high school. He then spent the next six years in the Mets system, playing 1991 and 1992 at the Double-A level and going 14-16 with a 3.87 ERA.
When the Marlins participated in the 1992 expansion draft, they got Johnstone with the 31st selection from New York. He spent most of the season with their Triple-A affiliate, the Edmonton Trappers, going 4-15 with a 5.18 ERA in 30 contests. He started 21 games and collected four saves. In September, the Marlins called him up for his major league debut.
Johnstone appeared in seven games for the Marlins down the stretch, games in which Florida went 0-7. He struck out five in 10 2⁄3 innings, and allowed eight runs (seven earned) on 16 hits and seven walks. He put 56 percent of his 177 pitches over the plate, and finished the season with a 5.91 ERA and a WHIP just north of two.
In 1994, Johnstone again split the year between Edmonton and Florida, appearing in 17 major league contests. In his first appearance, he earned his first victory at the major league level. On July 1, in a 4-3, 11 inning win against the Atlanta Braves, Johnstone pitched two hitless relief innings, striking out a pair. Overall he whiffed 23 in 21 1⁄3 innings, but walked 16 and gave up 20 runs on 23 hits for a 1.828 WHIP.
Johnstone pitched 4 2⁄3 more innings for the Marlins in 1995, but spent the majority of the campaign on the disabled list with a strained right elbow after May 8. Granted free agency following the season, he signed on with the Houston Astros.
Johnstone would spend another five seasons in and out of the majors, between Houston and the San Francisco Giants. He didn’t play after 2000, and retired with a 15-19 career record and a 4.01 ERA.
409. Archie Corbin
Archie Corbin was a six-foot-four right-handed pitcher when the New York Mets drafted him in the 16th round in 1986. A native of Beaumont, Texas, Corbin appeared in a total of 37 major league games through his career. He was perhaps more notorious for being traded from the Mets to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for Pat Tabler at the 1990 trade deadline.
It was with Kansas City that Corbin made his major league debut in 1991, coming out of the bullpen twice and pitching 2 1⁄3 innings. It would be five more years before he got back to the top level.
Before reemerging at the major league level with the Baltimore Orioles in 1996, Corbin was traded to the Montreal Expos then to the Milwaukee Brewers. He also played minor league ball for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Oakland Athletics. Corbin eventually racked up a 2.30 ERA in 27 1⁄3 innings for the Orioles, although he walked more batters (22) than he struck out (20).
After spending another season in the minors for the Orioles, in 1997, Corbin signed with the San Diego Padres. Released a month into the 1998 season without playing in the majors, the Marlins picked him up on May 11. He spent the rest of that year at their Triple-A affiliate, the Charlotte Knights. In 34 trips out of the bullpen, he was 2-2 with a 2.59 ERA.
Corbin played 17 major league games for the Marlins in 1999. He struck out 30 in 21 innings for a 12.86 K/9 rate, but also walked 15 and gave up 25 hits for a WHIP just under two. He was 0-1 with a 7.29 ERA. His best appearance was on July 10, in a 9-8 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. Corbin struck out the side on 15 pitches in the fifth inning. After the season ended, the Marlins granted his free agency. Corbin did not get back to the majors after that.
408. Matt Joyce
Matt Joyce is a six-foot-two outfielder from Tampa. In 2005, the Detroit Tigers drafted him in the 12th round out of Florida Southern College.
After his major league debut with the Tigers in 2008, Joyce spent six seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays, making the all-star team in 2011. He then played a season each with the Los Angeles Angels and the Pittsburgh Pirates, two years with the Oakland Athletics, and a year with the Atlanta Braves. For the 12 seasons prior to 2020, Joyce slashed .243/.343/.432 with 145 home runs and 482 RBI.
Joyce signed with the Marlins through free agency prior to 2020 Spring Training, and spent the season with the club. He ranked fifth on the team with 46 appearances, and hit .252/.351/.331. He went 32-for-127 from the plate with four doubles and a pair of home runs with 14 RBI. He also drew 20 walks and struck out 41 times.
On October 28, the Marlins granted Joyce his free agency.
407. Joe Orsulak
Joe Orsulak was a left-handed outfielder from Glen Ridge, New Jersey. In 1980, the Pittsburgh Pirates chose him in the sixth round of the draft out of high school. He made his debut with the Bucs in 1983, and played parts of four seasons with the club. He hit .272/.315/.349 in 298 contests, but only totaled two homers in 958 plate appearances. Orsulak stole 51 bases while with the team.
After spending the 1987 season at the Triple-A level with the Vancouver Canadiens, the Pirates traded Orsulak to the Baltimore Orioles for Terry Crowley and Rico Rossy.
When I think of Orsulak, I think of his time with the Orioles. For five seasons, Orsulak was pretty much an everyday player in the outfield for the Orangebirds, and he responded with the best five seasons of his career. It’s true. His worst season with the Orioles, by brWAR, was 1988 and 1992, when he posted a mark of 0.9. His best season outside of that was in 1985, when he posted a 0.8 mark with Pittsburgh.
In 632 games with the Orioles, Orsulak hit .281/.337/.394 with 35 home runs and 221 RBI. He also struck out less than 10 percent of the time, and drew nearly as many walks as he had K’s. He followed that by hitting .276 through three seasons with the New York Mets.
After the 1995 season, Orsulak signed with the Marlins through free agency, and played 355 1⁄3 outfield innings, appearing for 188 2⁄3 innings in left, 101 2⁄3 in center, and 65 in right. He also spent five innings at first base. He made a total of four outfield errors to post a .956 fielding percentage.
At the plate, Orsulak made 234 plate appearances in 120 games. He was 48-for-217 with six doubles, a triple, and two homers with 19 RBI. He drew 16 walks and struck out 38 times, scoring 23 runs and stealing one base in two tries. He had eight two-hit games, including April 20, when he hit a double and a homer with two batted in as the Marlins topped the Los Angeles Dodgers, 7-4.
Orsulak stayed with the Marlins through most of 1997 Spring Training, when they traded him with Dustin Hermanson to the Montreal Expos for Cliff Floyd. Yeah, we won that one.
406. Josias Manzanillo
Prior to playing 2004 with the Florida Marlins at the age of 36 for his final major league season, San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic native Josias Manzanillo had quite the baseball journey.
Manzanillo signed his first professional deal with the Boston Red Sox in 1983 at just 15 years old. Eight years later, he pitched his first major league inning for them, walking three and giving up two runs on two hits. It would be two years before he was again called up.
Manzanillo then played for the Milwaukee Brewers, the New York Mets, the New York Yankees, the Seattle Mariners, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Cincinnati Reds, even spending a season in Taiwan. Through his pre-Marlins career, he pitched in 241 games and went 10-12 with five saves and a 4.56 ERA. He struck out 273 in 309 2⁄3 frames, amassing a 1.39 WHIP over parts of 11 major league seasons.
Although Manzanillo spent 11 games with the Marlins Triple-A club, the Albuquerque Isotopes, he also played in 26 games for Florida. At the parent-club level, he went 3-3 with a 6.12 ERA and a 1.64 WHIP, with one save. He struck out 15 and walked 27 in 32 1⁄3 innings. He struck out in his only plate appearance, and made 12 fielding plays without an error.
On June 29, Manzanillo had his best game of the season for the Marlins, going by WPA. He pitched 2 2⁄3 scoreless innings, allowing a hit and a walk while earning the victory in a 5-4 win against the Atlanta Braves. Granted free agency following the season, he signed with the Boston Red Sox but didn’t make the cut out of Spring Training.