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All-Time Marlins Countdown: Chapter 59

The All-Time Marlins Countdown settles at the top of those with no more than 249 PA/BF. Today’s five are all well above brWAR.

Division Series - Atlanta Braves v Miami Marlins - Game Three Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The All-Time Marlins Countdown has reached the top level of players who accrued no more than 249 PA/BF with the team.

Today’s group is currently well above replacement level, including current top prospect Sixto Sánchez.

285. Brendan Donnelly

Right-handed pitcher Brendan Donnelly hails from Washington D.C. An alum of Colorado Mesa University, he was the 27th round choice of the Chicago White Sox in 1992.

An eventual nine-season MLB veteran, Donnelly didn’t make his major league debut until his age 30 season, with the Anaheim Angels. He also played for the Boston Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians before making his way to the Marlins in 2009.

Twice signed and released that year, by the Texas Rangers and the Houston Astros, Donnelly signed on with the Marlins on July 5 and was granted free agency following the season. Although he only pitched 25 13 innings over 30 appearances, his output was undeniably top-shelf.

Florida Marlins v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Donnelly posted a 1.78 ERA and a 3-0 record with two saves. He struck out 25 while walking only nine, giving up 22 hits. He was only guilty of surrendering a single home run, and held the opposition to a .239/.314/.348 slash line. He put 62 percent of his 390 offerings between the wickets for a strike.

On July 22, Donnelly had his best outing for the Marlins, as measured by WPA on Baseball Reference. He entered the game with one out in the bottom of the seventh with one out and the bases loaded, with the Marlins ahead by a 2-0 margin. He immediately induced a pop-fly from Luis Rodriguez, and struck out Chase Headley looking on a full count. In the eighth, he allowed a leadoff singled to Jose Lobaton, but erased him on an Everth Cabrera double play ball in the next plate appearance. The Marlins won, 5-0.

In his final game with the Marlins, on September 30, he entered the ballgame with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, leading the Atlanta Braves by a 5-4 count. He threw one pitch, then earned the save when baserunner Martin Prado was caught between third and home.

284. Zac Gallen

Somerdale, New Jersey native Zac Gallen is a six-foot-two, right-handed starting pitcher out of the University of North Carolina. Drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the third round of the 2016 draft, Gallen struck out 95 in 90 23 innings and put up a 0.98 WHIP in his final collegiate season for the Tar Heels.

Gallen rose quickly once he began his professional career, making it all the way up to the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds in 2017. After the season, he was included with Sandy Alcantara, Magneuris Sierra, and Daniel Castano to the Marlins for Marcell Ozuna.

Miami Marlins v Chicago White Sox Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Gallen’s 2018 campaign with the Triple-A New Orleans Baby Cakes was somewhat substandard considering what he eventually accomplished the following season. In 25 starts, he had a 1.47 WHIP in 133 13 innings, although he did strike out 136.

In 2019, Gallen started the season once again with the Cakes. Through 14 starts, he led the Pacific Coast League in almost every pitching category, with a 9-1 record, a 1.77 ERA, 112 K’s in 91 13 innings, and a WHIP of 0.71 — not a typo.

Promoted to the majors with the Marlins for a start on June 20, Gallen continued his good output. He held opposing batters to a .191/.298/.305 slashline over seven starts. He struck out 43 in 36 13 innings, going 1-3 with a 2.72 ERA. He put up a 63 percent strike-rate over his 614 pitches.

On July 24, Gallen put up his signature performance of the season, striking out nine White Sox while allowing no runs on two hits and a walk in a 2-0 Marlins victory against Chicago. Seven days later, the Marlins traded him to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Jazz Chisholm.

Since debuting in the desert, Gallen has put up a 5-5 record over 20 starts, with a 2.80 ERA, 135 K’s in 115 23 innings, and a 1.167 WHIP. He appears to be in position to have a long and successful major league career.

283. Sixto Sánchez

Sixto Sánchez is a six-foot, 234 lb. right-handed pitcher from San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, and the Marlins current number one prospect. Reliant on a four-pitch mix, Sánchez’ “worst” pitch is his slider, which grades out at 55. He has a 70-grade four-seam fastball, along with a 60-grade everything else.

Sánchez signed his first professional contract in 2015 at the age of 16 with the Philadelphia Phillies. He spent four seasons in their minor league system, peaking at High-A with the Clearwater Threshers. He’s been considered a top-100 prospect by many sources in almost every season he’s played, ranking as high as number 16 by Baseball America entering the 2020 campaign.

Starting pitcher Sixto Sanchez #73 of the Miami Marlins delivers the ball against the Chicago Cubs during Game Two of the National League Wild Card Series at Wrigley Field Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Prior to the 2019 season, Sánchez was traded along with Jorge Alfaro and Will Stewart to the Marlins for J.T. Realmuto. He played most of the year with the Double-A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, where he took 18 turns in the rotation and went 8-4 with a 2.53 ERA. He struck out 97 in 103 frames, and threw down a very successful 1.03 WHIP.

An unconventional 2020 campaign started four months late, and after three games, nearly three-quarters of the active roster wound up with COVID-19. This opened the door for Sánchez a little bit sooner than expected to make his major league debut. Widely expected to appear sometime in 2021, Sánchez joined the parent club for seven starts. He struck out 33 in 39 innings, going 3-2 with a 3.46 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP.

Sánchez threw strikes 67 percent of the time, and threw four straight quality starts from August 28 through September 13. In the former mentioned, Sánchez struck out 10 over seven shutout innings, walking only one and allowing six hits, all singles, in a 2-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. On September 8, he struck out six and allowed a walk and three hits over six shutout innings as the Marlins shut out the Braves, 8-0.

Sánchez started the series clincher against the Chicago Cubs on October 2, striking out six over five shutout innings in the 2-0 Marlins win. He figures heavily into Miami’s long-term rotation plans, and is a near-lock to begin the 2021 season in the starting five.

282. Kiko Calero

Kiko Calero is a six-foot-one right-handed pitcher from Santurce, Puerto Rico. In 1994, he went in the 41st round of the draft to the Detroit Tigers out of Miami-Dade College. Deigning to sign in favor of playing for St. Thomas University, Calero was drafted a second time in 1996, going in the 27th round to the Kansas City Royals.

Calero played seven full seasons in Kansas City’s minor league feeder system, but never got to the majors while in their organization. They granted his free agency following the 2002 season, and he soon thereafter signed a deal with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Calero played two major league seasons with the Cardinals starting in 2003 and followed that with four years with the Oakland Athletics. He went 12-10 in 246 appearances, striking out 255 in 242 23 innings while racking up a 1.220 WHIP. Prior to 2009 Spring Training, the Marlins signed him to a deal.

Florida Marlins v Washington Nationals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Calero only played one season with the Marlins, and it turned out to be his final in the majors. Despite that, he put up the best figures of his career, going 2-2 with a 1.95 ERA and striking out 69 in 60 innings. He turned in a 1.100 WHIP and held the opposition to a .180/.285/.235 slashline, putting 58 percent of his 1,011 pitches over the plate. On April 8, he struck out three over 1 23 perfect innings in a 6-4 victory against the Washington Nationals.

281. Brandon Kintzler

Brandon Kintzler is a five-foot-10 right-handed pitcher from Las Vegas, Nevada. He bears the indignity of twice being drafted in the 40th round, in 2003 by the New York Yankees and the following year by the San Diego Padres. They released him at the start of the 2006 season.

Kintzler didn’t sign with an affiliated organization until 2009, spending the interim in independent ball. He signed with the Milwaukee Brewers, and made his major league debut for them in 2010 at the age of 25. He also later appeared with the Minnesota Twins, the Washington Nationals, and the Chicago Cubs.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Atlanta Braves Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

In 430 major league appearances prior to joining the Marlins, Kintzler was 20-20 with 49 saves, a 1.247 WHIP, and 299 K’s in 424 13 innings. He made the American League All Star team in 2017 while playing for the Twins.

On February 3, 2020, Kintzler signed with the Marlins through free agency. Opponents hit .236 off him over 24 13 innings, and saved 12 games while putting up a 2.23 ERA. Although he only struck out 14 batters, he generated strikes at a 65 percent rate, including a team high 21 percent of strikes “looking.”

On September 24, in his longest outing of the season, Kintzler earned his 11th save by striking out three over two shutout innings in a 4-2 win over Atlanta. A week later, on October 2 (the same playoff game won by Sixto Sanchez), Kintzler struck out the side after allowing a leadoff double to eliminate the Cubs and advance the Marlins to the Divisional series.

Miami decided against pursuing Kintzler for an encore performance, granted his free agency the day before Halloween.