Here’s the 62nd installment of our 165-part series on every player to appear with the Marlins.
Designed to last through the offseason, this countdown will run every day until March 31, the last day of the 2020-21 offseason. Today’s group of five current and ex-Marlins all had/have between 250 and 799 PA/BF. Players are ranked within that bracket by ascending brWAR divided by PA/BF while with the team. These five have all proved well-below replacement level.
270. Marc Valdes
Pitcher Marc Valdes was a 20th round pick of the Cincinnati Reds in 1990. A native of Dayton, Ohio, the six-foot right-hander opted instead to attend the University of Florida for three seasons of Division 1 ball. In 1993, the Marlins used their first round choice on him, 27th off the board.
Valdes started the 1995 season ranked as the number 89 prospect in baseball, and Florida’s number four. Promoted to the majors for three starts starting on August 28, the results were...not promising. He allowed 13 runs in seven innings, on 17 hits and nine walks while striking out two batters. The Marlins actually won two of those games, and Valdes didn’t take a decision in any.
Relatively speaking, Valdes’ 1996 season was much better, although still well-below standard. He started in eight of his 11 appearances for the team, pitching to a 1-3 record and a 4.81 ERA in 48 2⁄3 innings. He struck out 13 and racked up a 1.77 WHIP, while allowing the opposition to collect a .315/.383/.455 slash line. He did put in three quality starts during that time, including his first major league win on September 2. He went 6 2⁄3 innings that day in a 4-3 win over the Chicago Cubs, allowing two runs on four hits and three walks.
In December following the season, the Marlins lost Valdes to the Montreal Expos via waivers. He went on to pitch two seasons for the Expos, then spent 2000 with the Houston Astros and played in nine games for the Atlanta Braves in 2001.
269. Lewis Brinson
Lewis Brinson is a right-handed outfielder from Fort Lauderdale. Standing six-foot-five, the five-tool prospect was chosen in the first round of the 2012 draft, by the Texas Rangers.
Brinson went from the Rangers to the Milwaukee Brewers in trade on August 2016, then came to the Marlins in January 2018 along with Isan Diaz, Jordan Yamamoto, and Monte Harrison for Christian Yelich. From the time he joined Milwaukee until his rookie eligibility was spent in 2018 with the Marlins, Brinson was consistently ranked by several sources as a top 30 prospect in baseball.
A lot has been said about Brinson since then, by Fish Stripes and other organizations, and not very much of it has been good. With good reason, too. In 2018, he slashed .199/.240/.338 and committed a major league worst nine outfield errors. His 2019 campaign made his 2018 look good. Another five errors in the outfield rendered his fielding percentage virtually unchanged, and his slashline got even worse, at .173/.236/.221. He struck out just shy of 30 percent of the time in both seasons, while drawing walks around five percent of the time.
After two substandard seasons, Brinson rebounded to actually finish 2020 above replacement level, but just barely. He slashed .226/.268/.368 in 47 games, and made just one error in the outfield to finish with a positive DRS for the first time.
It seems that it’s been said already many times, by myself and others, that Brinson is on his last chance. The first half of 2020 was promising, so maybe he can tap into that and finally turn the corner on what has been a nightmare learning curve.
268. Wes Obermueller
In 1999, the Kansas City Royals chose Cedar Rapids, Iowa native Wes Obermueller in the second round. A six-foot-two right handed pitcher, Obermueller remained with the Royals until making his major league debut in 2002. He allowed 10 runs in 7 2⁄3 innings near the end of the season, then started 2003 back in the minors. On July 10, they sent him to the Brewers for Curt Leskanic.
Obermueller had his most prolific major league exposure for Milwaukee, starting 39 times and adding 21 trips out of the bullpen over the next three seasons. He struck out 126 in 248 2⁄3 innings, and racked up a 5.47 ERA. Despite that sort-of high number, he was remarkably consistent as far as it went, registering an ERA between 5.07 and 5.80 in each of his three seasons with the club.
After the close of the 2005 campaign, Obermueller was traded to the Atlanta Braves for Danny Kolb, then granted free agency two weeks later. They resigned him before the start of Spring Training, but he never got to the majors with Atlanta. After the end of 2006, the Marlins took a flyer on him.
Obermueller played in 18 games for the Marlins in 2007, starting seven of them. He walked more than he struck out (36-to-35), and allowed a 6.56 ERA and a 1.831 WHIP while allowing a .306/.403/.477 slashline. His time with the club wasn’t without highlights. On May 2, Obermueller pitched three hitless innings in a 6-3 loss to the New York Mets. Granted free agency following the season, Obermueller didn’t sign with an affiliated organization following that.
267. Mike Mordecai
Twelve-year major league veteran Mike Mordecai finished his career by playing his final three-and-a-half seasons with the Florida Marlins. A five-foot-11, right-handed hitting and throwing utility infielder/outfielder/pinch-hitter/jack-of-all-trades, Mordecai hails out of Birmingham, Alabama, and was initially drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 33rd round of the 1986 draft.
Without having been to the majors, Mordecai was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the sixth round of the 1989 minor league draft. Five years after that, in his ninth professional season at the age of 26, Mordecai made his major league debut, going one-for-four with a three-run homer. He did it on May 10 against the Philadelphia Phillies. They had entered the ninth inning down by seven runs, and eventually won it, 9-8 in 15.
Through his first eight seasons, four with the Braves then four with the Montreal Expos, Mordecai slashed out a line of .249/.306/.381 and clubbed 21 homers with 108 RBI as a part-time player/super-utility guy.
After hitting .203 through 55 games in the first half of 2002, the Expos traded Mordecai to Florida as part of an eight-player deal that also yielded Carl Pavano.
In 174 contests for the Marlins over the next four seasons, Mordecai went 60-for-252 with 11 doubles, three homers, and 20 RBI. He drew 19 walks, scored 28 runs, and struck out 53 times. Defensively, he made seven errors in 472 innings of work across the infield, including eight innings behind the plate for a total fielding percentage of .969.
In Florida’s 2003 postseason run, Mordecai hit a double and scored a run with three RBI in three games as the Marlins topped the Cubs in seven.
Mordecai totaled eight multi-hit games for the Marlins over the years, including a four-hit effort on June 27, 2004. He hit a double and three singles with an RBI in an 11-4 victory against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
266. Tayron Guerrero
Tayron Guerrero is a six-foot-eight right-handed pitcher from Boca Chica, Columbia. Blessed with an easily three-digit fastball, Guerrero actually topped 104 MPH while with the Marlins.
Guerrero’s velocity was never a concern while he was with the Marlins. Most of the issues he encountered were due to his lack of control. In 104 innings for Miami between 2018 and 2019, he walked 66 and whiffed 111, for 5.7 walks and 9.6 strikeouts per nine innings.
Originally signed in 2009 by the San Diego Padres at the age of 18, Guerrero made his major league debut for them in 2016, pitching two innings and allowing one run in his only appearance. At the trade deadline that year, San Diego sent him to the Marlins along with Andrew Cashner and Colin Rea for Carter Capps, Luis Castillo, Jarred Cosart, and Josh Naylor. Just one of a long line of fleecings that Miami has taken at the hands of the Friars, imo, but I digress.
On June 24, 2018, Guerrero was credited with a hold after striking out four Rockies in two perfect innings of a Marlins 8-5 win over Colorado. Then, through his first 10 appearances of 2019, Guerrero struck out 12 and allowed only three hits in 9 2⁄3 innings. It all went downhill after that, however. The Chicago White Sox claimed him off waivers following the season.
Guerrero is still with the White Sox, although he didn’t make a major league appearance through the 2020 season.