The Marlins have employed 630 players for a regular season game through their first 28 seasons of baseball.
This offseason, we’re touching on all of them a little at a time. Today is the 39th part of a 165 part series. All six players in today’s story had between 75 and 249 plate appearances/batters faced, and finished below replacement level.
Valerio De Los Santos is a six-foot-two left-handed pitcher from Las Matas de Farfan, Dominican Republic. In 1993, he signed his first professional contract with the Milwaukee Brewers at the age of 20.
During De Los Santos’ sixth season, he made the breakthrough to the major leagues. He played a total of six seasons with the Brewers at the parent-club level, and went 7-10 with a 4.19 ERA. In 210 1⁄3 innings covering 183 relief appearances, he struck out 167 and racked up a 1.27 WHIP.
Near the end of the 2003 campaign, the Philadelphia Phillies purchased De Los Santos’ contract from Milwaukee, but he only pitched four innings with the club. He played in 17 games for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2004. A week into the 2005 season, the Marlins signed him through free agency.
From June through August, De Los Santos pitched in 27 games for the Florida Marlins at the major league level. Through his first 16 appearances, he struck out eight in 13 1⁄3 innings, allowing two runs on eight hits and six walks for a WHIP just north of a baserunner per inning.
The difference between De Los Santos’ first 16 games and his final 11 was pronounced. In 8 2⁄3 innings, he allowed 13 runs on 17 hits and six walks, again with eight strikeouts. Of his 402 pitches, 62 percent were strikes. Florida released him on August 13.
It would be three years before De Los Santos got back to the majors, with the Colorado Rockies in 2008. He pitched eight innings for them, with a 5.63 ERA.
Jeff Mutis is a six-foot-two lefty pitcher from Allentown, Pennsylvania. In 1985, the Cleveland Indians chose him in the 34th round of the draft out of high school. Wisely it turns out. Mutis played three seasons with Lafayette College, and was subsequently again drafted by the Tribe in 1988, but this time he went in the first round, 27th overall.
Mutis got to the majors with the Indians in 1991, and in three seasons at the major league level, he went 3-11 with a 6.88 ERA. After the 1993 season, the Marlins claimed Mutis off waivers from Cleveland.
In 1994, Mutis ranked fourth on the Marlins with 35 appearances. In 38 1⁄3 innings, he struck out 30 and racked up a 5.40 ERA. He walked 15 and allowed 51 walks for a 1.722 WHIP. On June 28, he got his only victory with Florida, when he struck out a pair and allowed only a single in 1 2⁄3 innings of a 2-1 victory against the Phillies.
385. José Quijada
José Quijada is a five-foot-11, left-handed pitcher from Caripito, Venezuela. He signed his first professional deal with the Miami Marlins in 2013, at the age of 17.
Quijada pitched well at every level of the minors, striking out over a batter per inning at each of the top four levels of the Marlins minor league system starting in 2016. In 2018, between the Double-A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp and the Triple-A New Orleans Baby Cakes, he struck out 81 in 63 innings, and held the opposition to a 1.048 WHIP and a 3.00 ERA with seven saves.
Quijada struck out 44 batters in 29 2⁄3 innings for the Marlins in 2019. He also allowed 20 runs (19 earned) on 27 hits and 26 walks, posting a 2-3 record and a 5.76 ERA. He put 59 percent of his 647 pitches over the plate. Despite Quijada’s immense upside, the Marlins waived him just prior to 2020 Spring Training, and lost him to the Los Angeles Angels.
Quijada pitched in six games for the Angels in the season just passed, striking out six in 3 2⁄3 innings.
384. Scott Cousins
Scott Cousins is a six-foot-one left-handed outfielder from Reno, Nevada. In 2006, the Marlins took him in the third round of the draft out of the University of San Francisco. His final collegiate season would see him slash .343/.418/.500 with seven homers and 46 RBI.
By 2010, Cousins was the Marlins number nine prospect, according to Baseball America. In a 27-game sample at the major league level with Florida, he went 11-for-37 with two doubles, two triples, and two RBI. He drew one walk, scored two runs, and struck out 13 times. He made 18 putouts in 45 outfield innings during that time without an error.
In 2011, Cousins went seven-for-52 from the plate, with four RBI. They all came with one swing of the bat on April 21, when he hit a grand slam in a 9-5 victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 82 1⁄3 defensive innings in the outfield, he was again errorless, with 20 putouts and three assists.
Cousins went 14-for-86 with four doubles, a triple, and a home run with three RBI in 2012 for the newly renamed Miami Marlins. In 161 outfield innings, he made 44 putouts without an error to close his Marlins career with a 1.000 fielding percentage.
After the 2012 season, the Toronto Blue Jays took Cousins off waivers from Miami. and was subsequently waived twice more over the next month, by the Jays and then by the Mariners. He resurfaced in the majors with the Los Angeles Angels in 2013, but only made five plate appearances for them without a base hit.
383. Drew Rucinski
Drew Rucinski is a right-handed pitcher from Neenah, Wisconsin. After going undrafted out of The Ohio State University, he signed with the Cleveland Indians through free agency in 2011 at the age of 22.
Before making his way to the Marlins, Rucinski made major league appearances with the Angels and the Minnesota Twins. In nine games, he struck out 17 and put up a 7.23 ERA and a 2.09 WHIP over 18 2⁄3 innings.
After the 2017 campaign was in the books, the Marlins signed Rucinski to a minor league deal. He joined Miami proper at the start of June, and remained with the parent club more or less for the rest of the season.
Despite only appearing in 32 games out of the bulpen, Rucinski tied for fifth on the team with four victories, going 4-2. He put up a respectable 4.33 ERA, a 1.33 WHIP, and struck out 27 in 35 1⁄3 innings of work.
Rucinski’s most valuable game in a Marlins victory, going by WPA, was on July 4 in a 3-0 win against the Tampa Bay Rays. He earned the victory by pitching a scoreless sixth and seventh inning, allowing only a single and striking out two. He went 0-for-4 from the plate with three strikeouts, and also made seven fielding plays without an error. Rucinski was granted free agency following the season.
382. Randy Wolf
The final of four left-handed pitchers in today’s article, Canoga Park, California native Randy Wolf was a second round pick of the Philadelphia Phillies in 1997 out of Pepperdine University.
Just two seasons later, Wolf made his major league debut with the Phillies, and remained in their rotation for seven years, making the All-Star team in 2003. Before joining the Marlins, he also pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers, the San Diego Padres, the Houston Astros, the Milwaukee Brewers, and the Baltimore Orioles.
A month into the 2014 season, the Marlins signed Wolf to a contract through free agency. He took four turns in the rotation, and came out of the bullpen twice for a total of 25 2⁄3 innings. He struck out 19 batters and amassed a 5.26 ERA with a 1.52 WHIP.
His best game with the Marlins, without a doubt, was on June 2. In that one, a 3-1 victory against the Rays, he earned the win by striking out seven and giving up just three hits over six innings, walking one and allowing a run.
Despite that highlight, the Marlins released Wolf just two weeks later. Wolf pitched for the Detroit Tigers in 2015, pitching 34 2⁄3 innings to close out his major league career with 16 seasons to his credit.