clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

All-Time Marlins Countdown: Chapter 55

Starling Marte leads the five Marlins in today’s countdown article.

Wild Card Round - Miami Marlins v Chicago Cubs - Game One Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Through their first 28 seasons in the major leagues, the Florida and Miami Marlins have had 630 players take the field in a regular season game.

Today’s group of five all had between 75 and 249 plate transactions, that is, batters faced and/or plate appearances. They all posted a positive WAR figure during their time with the Marlins.

305. Chris Clapinski

Buffalo, New York native Chris Clapinski was a six-foot-even infielder out of the University of California. A switch-hitting right-hander, he signed with the Marlins through free agency in the middle of 1992, before Florida ever took the field.

Clapinski joined the GCL Marlins at the rookie-level after signing, and spent a total of 10 seasons in the Marlins organization. In 1999 and 2000, he played for Florida at the major league level.

Chris Clapinski #2...

Clapinski appeared in 70 games in the big leagues, and went 28-for-105 from the plate with five doubles, three triples, and a lone homer with nine RBI. He drew 14 walks, scored 18 runs, and struck out 19 times, stealing one base without getting caught.

Clapinski had five multi-hit games for the Marlins, but he achieved his highest career WPA on a night he didn’t get any. On August 24, 1999, Clapinski came into a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks to pinch-hit with two outs and runners on second and third in the eighth inning. He reached base on a Jay Bell error, and two crossed the plate (Preston Wilson and Mike Lowell) to tie the game at four. Florida eventually lost, 5-4.

In his short exposure to the major leagues, Clapinski slashed .267/.358/.400 in 121 plate appearances. After splitting the 2001 campaign between three Marlins farm clubs, he later spent time in the systems of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Cincinnati Reds, the Cleveland Indians, and the Kansas City Royals, but he never got back to the majors.

304. Starling Marte

Starling Marte joined the Miami Marlins at the 2020 deadline from the Arizona Diamondbacks for Humberto Mejia, Caleb Smith, and minor leaguer Julio Frias. A former All Star and two-time Gold Glove winner in left field, Marte spent the first 11 years of his career in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.

Marte is a six-foot-one right-handed five-tool player from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. In 986 major league games prior to his time with the Marlins, he slashed .288/.342/.449 with 110 home runs and 433 RBI. After eight full seasons with the Bucs, Marte joined the D-Backs for the 2020 campaign, and was putting up a .311/.384/.443 slashline through 33 games.

Miami Marlins v New York Yankees Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

After joining Miami, Marte went 26-for-106 with six doubles and four homers with 13 RBI. He stole five bases without getting caught, and played in each of Miami’s 28 games after his acquisition. This resulted in him playing in a major-league-best 61 games in 2020. He went two-for-four with a double and a run scored in his only postseason appearance, getting hit by a pitch in his final plate appearance, ending his season.

Still with the Marlins, Marte is entering the final year of an eight-year, $53 million deal he originally signed with the Pirates.

303. A.J. Ellis

A.J. Ellis is a six-foot-two right-handed hitting and throwing catcher from Cape Girardeau, Missouri. In 2003, the Los Angeles Dodgers chose him in the 18th round of the draft out of Austin Peay University.

Ellis made his major league debut for the Dodgers in 2008, and spent his first eight seasons and part of his ninth with Los Angeles. Nominally the starter behind the plate in 2012 through 2014, Ellis was otherwise the backup backstop. He hit .237/.340/.348 in 544 contests in total before getting traded to the Philadelphia Phillies at the 2016 deadline.

New York Mets v Miami Marlins Photo by Joe Skipper/Getty Images

After appearing in only 11 games for the Phils, they granted his free agency after the season. He signed on with Miami in December, and appeared in 51 games with them through 2017. Although he only slashed .210/.298/.371 in 163 plate appearances as J.T. Realmuto’s main backup, his main value to the team was his experience in an inexperienced clubhouse.

Ellis went 30-for-143 with five doubles and six homers with 14 RBI with the team. He drew 12 walks, scored 17 runs, and struck out 29 times. In 329 defensive innings, he was totally error free in 293 chances. He threw out five-of-15 base stealers, which was six percent better than the National League average.

On June 4, Ellis singled in the second, walked in the fifth, and drove home Derek Dietrich with the go-ahead run in the seventh inning of a 6-5 victory against Arizona. The resultant .248 WPA was the best mark during his time with the team.

302. Juan Acevedo

Juan Acevedo is a Ciudad Juarez, Mexico native. In 1992, the Colorado Rockies took him in the 14th round of the draft out of Parkland College. After coming up as a swingman, Acevedo started in 11 of his first 17 major league appearances with the Rockies in his rookie campaign, 1995.

Acevedo later played for the New York Mets, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Milwaukee Brewers before rejoining the Rockies for the first part of the 2001 season. On August 6, they traded him to the Marlins for Joe Espada.

As a bullpen piece for the Marlins, Acevedo came on in relief 20 times through the end of the season, and posted a solid 2.54 ERA in 28 13 innings. He struck out 21 and walked 16 with a 1.659 WHIP. He was at his best in a losing effort just four days after joining the club, when he struck out six Houston Astros in three shutout innings of a 7-2 Marlins loss.

During his time with the Marlins, Acevedo got 62 percent of his 529 total pitches between the wickets for a strike. He allowed an opposing slashline of .284/.375/.440, and gave up 11 runs, although only eight were earned. The Marlins didn’t pursue him for the 2002 season, and he went on to play two more big-league seasons for the Detroit Tigers, the New York Yankees, and the Toronto Blue Jays.

301. Cesar Puello

César Puello joined the Marlins for 32 games in 2019, and produced a .179/.281/.238 slashline. Originally from La Romana, Dominican Republic, Puello signed his first pro deal in 2007 with the New York Mets just a month after his 16th birthday. By 2011, he was the number 77 prospect in baseball, and the Mets third overall.

Although only a veteran of 66 major league games, Puello has already appeared with four teams at baseball’s top level. Prior to joining the Marlins, he went one-for-four in one game for the Los Angeles Angels and hit .200 in 16 games for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2017.

Back with the Angels after a season split between the minor league feeder systems of the Diamondbacks and the San Francisco Giants, Puello hit .390 in a dozen games, with three home runs. Things were looking up, and the Marlins purchased his contract from San Francisco.

Twins at Marlins David Santiago/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Puello had only two multi hit games in his 32 Marlins outings, going 15-for-84 with two doubles, a homer, and six RBI. He drew seven walks, scored eight times, and whiffed 30 times. Defensively, he made one error in 78 chances between center and right field over 213 23 innings for a .987 fielding percentage.

Not pursued for the 2020 campaign, Puello resurfaced with the Boston Red Sox for five games, and went three-for-eight with a pair of walks.