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All-Time Marlins Countdown: Chapter 54

Today’s article features Darren Daulton and Nick Anderson.

Miami Marlins v Washington Nationals Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Through their first 28 seasons of play, the Florida and Miami Marlins have employed 630 players in total for at least one plate appearance or batter faced.

Fish Stripes is looking at each of them in turn this offseason as 2020 turns to 2021. Today’s group of five all had between 75 and 249 PA/BF, and all finished above WAR, according to Baseball Reference.

310. José Veras

José Veras is a six-foot-six relief pitcher from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. A right-hander, he signed his first professional contract to play ball for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1998 at the age of 17.

After seven seasons in the Rays system, Veras still hadn’t made it to the major league level. After he played 2005 in the Texas Rangers system, he joined the New York Yankees and finally debuted at baseball’s top level in 2006.

Philadelphia Phillies v Florida Marlins Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images

Veras appeared in a total of 128 games for the Yankees and later the Cleveland Indians through the first four seasons of his major league career, posting a 9-6 record and a 4.42 ERA. He struck out 116 with a 1.38 WHIP over 128 13 innings. Granted free agency once more following the 2009 campaign, the Florida Marlins signed him to a deal.

Although Veras appeared with the New Orleans Zephyrs in 2010, he mostly remained at the parent club level with the Marlins. He was very solid for Florida, striking out 54 in 48 innings, posting a then-career-best 1.27 WHIP, and going 3-3 with a 3.75 ERA. By registering a 4.06 FIP, Veras showed that it wasn’t at all smoke and mirrors. Opponents slashed a miserable .188/.310/.312 in 201 plate appearances, and Veras put 58 percent of his 822 total pitches over the plate.

Veras started the season by surrendering eight earned runs over his first four appearances, covering 4 23 innings. With an ERA of 15.43, Veras could only get better. Over his next 12 23 innings, covering 11 games, he struck out 16 and allowed zero runs on six hits and three walks. Maybe most impressively, Veras only allowed one inherited runner to score, out of 26.

The Marlins didn’t pursue Veras for a second season, and he instead went on to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Milwaukee Brewers, the Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers, and the Chicago Cubs.

309. Russ Morman

First baseman Russ Morman was originally a seventh round pick of the Kansas City Royals out of Iowa State Community College in 1981. A native of Independence, Missouri, the six-foot-four righty instead matriculated to Wichita State University, increasing his draft stock in the process. It worked. In 1983 he went in the first round to the Chicago White Sox, 28th overall off the board.

By 1986, Morman was rated the number three White Sox prospect, by Baseball America. He also debuted with the parent club that year, slashing .252/.324/.358 in 49 games. The 49-game look would be the highest total of his career, although he did play in the majors for nine seasons.

Between the White Sox and Kansas City, Morman appeared in a total of 150 games over five seasons, ending in 1991. After playing minor league ball for the Cincinnati Reds in 1992 and the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1993, he signed a free agent deal to come to the Marlins for the 1994 campaign.

Morman was with Florida for four seasons, although he spent far more time at their Triple-A affiliate, first the Edmonton Trappers and later the Charlotte Knights. He played 355 games at AAA, while appearing in 57 contests for the Marlins.

In 126 plate appearances in total over those four years, Morman slashed a decent enough .254/.302/.449 line, with five homers and 11 RBI. He collected multiple hits seven times, including his penultimate major league appearance on September 24, 1997 in a 10-9 victory against the Montreal Expos. Morman hit a two-run homer in the first, then added an eighth inning double before scoring the Marlins ninth run to take a 9-3 lead.

After retiring from the playing ranks, Morman went into coaching. He managed the Kane County Cougars, the Augusta GreenJackets, the Richmond Flying Squirrels, and the San Jose Giants.

308. Nick Anderson

Nick Anderson is a six-foot-four right-handed pitcher from Brainerd, Minnesota. In 2012, the Milwaukee Brewers selected him in round 32 out of Mayville State University, but he didn’t sign.

Anderson instead played three seasons in the independent Frontier League, posting a 7+ ERA in two seasons as a starter. After a year off, he came back as a reliever with the Frontier Greys, and posted a 0.65 ERA with 35 K’s and a 0.83 WHIP in 27 23 innings. Clearly, this guy was meant to be a relief pitcher.

Miami Marlins v Chicago White Sox Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

Anderson signed with the Minnesota Twins in mid-2015, and rose through their minor league system until 2018, peaking with the Rochester Red Wings at Triple-A. There, he went 8-2 with 88 whiffs in 60 innings. After that season, the Twins traded him to the Marlins for minor league third baseman Brian Schales.

Anderson proved to be an elite strikeout artist over the first four months of the season for the Marlins in 2019. He collected 69 in only 43 23 innings, leading the club with a 14.2 K/9 rate. In 45 appearances, he was 2-4 with a 3.92 ERA and a 1.282 WHIP. At the trade deadline, Miami sent him with Trevor Richards to the Tampa Bay Rays for Jesus Sanchez and Ryne Stanek.

Since joining the Rays, Anderson’s strikeout rate has increased to 16.0 K/9 over 37 23 innings, with 67 in 37 23 innings. He’s also posted a 1.43 ERA with a 0.584 WHIP in regular season action. Stanek has proved unreliable, since non-tendered, and Sanchez is still unproven.

307. Brad Davis

Brad Davis was a six-foot-two right-handed catcher from El Cajon, California. In 2001, the Rays took him in round 48, but he attended Long Beach State University for three seasons of Division 1 ball instead. After slashing .317/.370/.425 in 170 contests, he went in the fifth round to the Marlins in 2004.

It took him six seasons, but Davis made his debut at the big-league level for the Marlins in 2010. He played in 33 games, going 23-for-109 from the plate with seven doubles, a triple, and three home runs with 16 RBI. He drew nine walks, scored eight runs, and struck out 37 times. He also stole two bases without getting caught.

Atlanta Braves v Florida Marlins Photo by Michael DeHoog/Sports Imagery/Getty Images

Defensively, Davis made four errors in 278 innings behind the plate, and caught eight-of-27 runners trying to steal, a 27 percent CS rate that was two percent below the National League average.

Going by WPA, Davis’ best game was on September 20, in a 4-0 Marlins victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. Davis accounted for all of Florida’s runs with a second inning grand slam. He didn’t appear in another major league game after the 2010 campaign, spending time in the minors over the next three years with the Marlins, the Detroit Tigers, and the San Diego Padres.

306. Darren Daulton

Darren Daulton was a catcher by trade, but by the time he joined Florida in 1997 he played mostly first base with a little work at the corner outfield positions. A six-foot-two native of Arkansas City, Kansas, Dutch was a 25th round pick of the Philadelphia Phillies in 1980.

Daulton made the All-Star team three times with the Phillies, winning the National League Silver Slugger Award at catcher for his .270/.385/.524 line in 1992. Over 14 seasons with Philadelphia, he played in 1109 games, collecting 134 home runs and 567 RBI and hitting .245. Perhaps overlooked was his 48 stolen bases in 57 attempts, including four without getting at the age of 35. On July 21, 1997, the Phillies traded him to the Marlins for Billy McMillion.

Photo by Getty Images

Daulton’s leadership after he joined the Marlins was by far more valuable than any on-field contribution (please, watch the video below). At the plate, he went 33-for-126 with eight doubles, two triples, and three home runs with 21 RBI in 52 appearances. He drew 22 walks and struck out 17 times, scoring 22 runs. On August 27, Daulton’s two-run, ninth-inning single proved the backbreaker in a 4-3 Florida win over the Cubs.

Daulton was at his best for the Marlins in the World Series, when he was pressed into starting duty and went seven-for-18 with two doubles, a homer, two RBI, and three walks against zero strikeouts, he scored seven runs as Florida took home their first World Series title in only their fifth season. Daulton passed away at the untimely age of 55 due to brain cancer on August 6, 2017.

Thanks for reading today. Check back here tomorrow For Chapter 55, featuring Starling Marte and Cesar Puello.