The Florida and Miami Marlins have employed 630 players in a regular season game through their first 28 seasons.
We’ve already covered 375 of them through the first 64 chapters of our countdown. Starting tomorrow, we’ll be covering four players in each article. Today’s story features five players who totaled between 250 and 799 plate appearances/batters faced. Players are ranked in order of ascending brWAR per BA/PF.
255. Andrew Cashner
Andrew Cashner is a six-foot-six, right-handed starting pitcher from Conroe, Texas. Drafted four times (Atlanta Braves, 20th round, 2005; Colorado Rockies, 18th round, 2006; Chicago Cubs, 29th round, 2007), he last went in the first round in 2008 to the Cubs, 19th off the board.
Cashner benefitted from his final season of Division 1 ball with Texas-Christian University. Over 54 1⁄3 innings, he allowed only 21 hits and 27 walks, striking out 80 and posting a 2.32 ERA. As should have been expected, he opened 2009 as the Cubs number three prospect, according to Baseball America.
In 2010, Cashner got to the major leagues for the first time with the Cubbies, and came out of the bullpen 53 times. In 54 1⁄3 innings, he struck out 50 and racked up a 4.80 ERA. After injury limited him to only seven appearances in 2011, the Cubs traded him following the season with Kim-Min Na to the San Diego Padres for Zach Cates and Anthony Rizzo.
It was during his tenure with the Padres that Cashner made the slow transition from reliever to starter. In 130 appearances in total over five years with the franchise, including 97 starts, he went 28-43 with a 3.67 ERA and 505 K’s in 608 2⁄3 innings. At the 2016 trade deadline, the Padres packaged him with Tayron Guerrero and Colin Rea to the Marlins for Carter Capps, Luis Castillo, Jarred Cosart, and Josh Naylor.
After joining Miami, Cashner joined the Marlins rotation for 11 starts, coming in one time in relief. He only won once against four losses, and posted a career-worst 5.98 ERA over 52 2⁄3 innings. He struck out 45 and posted a 1.747 WHIP, plating 60 percent of his 971 pitches while allowing opponents to slash out a .301/.389/.500 line.
Cashner’s best performance of the season, by both GameScore and WPA, was on September 7 in a 6-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. Cashner earned the win after pitching 5 1⁄3 shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing four hits and two walks, also collecting a single and scoring a run. It was the only win racked up by the right-hander during his two months with the Marlins.
Granted free agency following the season, Cashner later played for the Texas Rangers (11-11, 3.40 ERA in 2018), the Baltimore Orioles (13-18, 4.73 ERA in 2018/2019), and the Boston Red Sox (2-5, 6.20 ERA in 2019). Maybe most impressive was his 9-3 record in 2019 for the 54-109 Baltimore squad.
254. Brad Ziegler
Brad Ziegler was a six-foot-four right-handed pitcher from Pratt, Kansas until his retirement on his 39th birthday. In 2002, he went in the 31st round to the Oakland Athletics out of Southwest Missouri State, but he instead returned for his senior season with the Bears. After going 12-2 with a 4.22 ERA, he was taken in the 20th round by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2003. Ziegler had an interesting windup:
Ziegler pitched six innings with the Phillies then Short-season-A affiliate, the Batavia Muckdogs that year, and got released prior to the 2004 season. After pitching for the Schaumburg Flyers in the Northern League, he signed with Oakland, the team that first chose him. It took until 2008, but Ziegler made his debut with the Athletics and played in four seasons with the team.
At the 2011 deadline, Ziegler got traded to the Diamondbacks and spend five seasons there. In 2016, he was traded again, the Boston Red Sox. In his pre-Marlins career, he had appeared out of the bullpen 604 times, with a 34-28 record and 85 saves. Never known as a strikeout pitcher, he did it by keeping his WHIP low, at 1.23 despite his 6.1 K/9.
Two days before Christmas in 2016, Ziegler signed with the Marlins through free agency. He made 53 appearances for the Marlins in 2017, saving 10 games and posting a 4.79 ERA in 47 innings. His 1.55 WHIP was the highest mark of his career, and opponents collected a .306/.380/.376 slashline.
Ziegler’s saving grace was his unwillingness to allow the big shot, limiting the opposition to only one through the season despite allowing 57 hits. He threw pitches for strikes 64 percent of the time, and stranded 71 percent of inherited baserunners. His highest positively leveraged appearance of the season was his final save of the year, on September 29. It only took one pitch.
Ziegler relieved Jarlin Garcia with the bases loaded and one out, with a 6-5 ninth inning lead. Matt Kemp grounded into a 1-2-3 double play on his first pitch, giving Ziegler his team-second 10th save of the season (AJ Ramos had 20 prior to his trade).
Ziegler again collected 10 saves for the Marlins in 2018, tying for the team lead with Kyle Barraclough. Ziegler struck out 37 in 52 innings, and improved his WHIP to 1.269. He was 1-5 with a 3.98 ERA and an opposing slashline of .254/.319/.409, a 65 percent strike rate, and a 81 percent success rate at stranding baserunners.
On July 8, Ziegler accomplished the rare feat of striking gut the side in the eighth inning of a 10-2 win over the Washington Nationals. At the trade deadline, the Marlins sent Ziegler back to Arizona for minor league reliever Tommy Eveld.
Ziegler appeared in 29 games for the Diamondbacks. Combined with his 53 Marlins appearances, he led the major leagues with 82 appearances through the season. He announced his retirement a week after the season ended.
253. Joe Borchard
Switch-hitting right fielder Joe Borchard is a six-foot-four native of Panorama City, California. In 1997, he went in the 20th round to the Baltimore Orioles, but didn’t sign. It paid off with a first round choice in 2000, to the Chicago White Sox, 12th overall.
Through the pre-Florida part of Borchard’s career, he spent four seasons with the White Sox and six games with the Seattle Mariners. On May 3, 2006, the Marlins claimed him off waivers from Seattle.
Borchard played in 108 games for the Marlins after getting claimed, going 53-for-230 from the plate with seven doubles, a triple, and 10 round-trippers. He collected 28 RBI and drew 28 walks, scoring 30 runs and striking out 66 times. He had 10 multi-hit games during the stretch, and had his highest WPA on September 4 in an 8-5 win against the Diamondbacks. He singled in the second, then hit a three-run go-ahead shot with two outs in the sixth.
Borchard remained with Florida in 2007, and appeared in another 85 games. He collected 35 hits in 179 at bats, hitting nine doubles and four homers with 19 RBI. Borchard drew 21 walks, scored 20 runs, and stole four bases without getting caught, striking out 60 times. He only totaled a multi-hit effort on five occasions.
Defensively, Borchard made four errors in 754 1⁄3 outfield innings for a .981 fielding percentage. Although he played most of his time in right field, he also totaled 144 2⁄3 in left, and even two innings at first base. After the 2007 season, the Marlins granted his free agency.
Borchard didn’t make it back to the majors, but did play another three seasons of affiliated ball between the farm systems of the Atlanta Braves and the San Francisco Giants.
252. Félix Heredia
Félix Heredia is a six-foot left-handed pitcher from Barahona, Dominican Republic. In 1992, he signed his first professional contract with the Florida Marlins at the age of 17.
Although he signed with the team prior to their on-field debut at the major league level, Heredia didn’t make his major league debut for the Marlins until 1996. In 21 games at the parent club level, he went 1-1 with a 4.32 ERA, a 1.86 WHIP, and 10 strikeouts in 16 2⁄3 innings. Opponents hit .313 off him, and he only generated strikes on 57 percent of his offerings.
The 1997 campaign would see Heredia play a key part in the Marlins run to their first World Championship. He ranked fourth on the club with 56 appearances, going 5-3 with a 4.29 ERA in relief. He struck out 54 over 56 2⁄3 innings, walking 30 and allowing 53 hits for a 1.465 WHIP. He also held the opposition to a much improved .243/.345/.358 slash line, surrendering only three home runs and getting strikes on 62 percent of his offerings.
Going by the numbers, Heredia’s best game was on May 12, in an 11-4 victory over the Houston Astros. He pitched the final 2 1⁄3 innings, stranding the inherited runner and striking out four while surrendering only a single.
In the postseason, Heredia pitched a total of 8 2⁄3 innings in six appearances, striking out nine and racking up an aggregate 0.92 WHIP. In Florida’s Game Three 14-11 victory over the Cleveland Indians, Heredia pitched 2 1⁄3 scoreless innings, allowing only a walk.
Heredia pitched another 41 innings for Florida in 1998, over 41 appearances. His ERA ballooned to 5.49, while his WHIP soared to 1.62. At the trade deadline, the Marlins sent him with Steve Hoff to the Chicago Cubs for Todd Noel, Kevin Orie, and Justin Speier.
Heredia pitched through the 2005 season, playing at the major league level with the Toronto Blue Jays, the Cincinnati Reds, and both New York City based-teams after his time with the Marlins and the Cubs. In 511 major league appearances, he finished at 28-19 with six saves and a 4.42 ERA.
251. Reggie Abercrombie
Center fielder Reggie Abercrombie is a six-foot-three right-handed hitter and thrower from Columbus, Georgia. In 1999, the Los Angeles Dodgers chose him in the 23rd round out of Columbus HS. By 2003, he was the number four prospect in their system, according to Baseball America. He responded by hitting .261 with 15 homers, 54 RBI, and 28 stolen bases for their Double-A affiliate, who at that time was the Jacksonville Suns.
Abercrombie was flipped to the Arizona Diamondbacks in mid-2004 as part of a conditional deal, but only played in 29 games for the franchise at their High-A level, with the Lancaster Jethawks. At the very start of the 2005 campaign, the Marlins had the opportunity to claim him off waivers.
Abercrombie didn’t get to the majors until the following season, 2006. He did play in 111 contests that season, going 54-for-255 from the plate with a dozen doubles, two triples, and five homers with 24 RBI. He stole six bases, but got caught five times, and walked 18 times to 78 strikeouts. His resultant OPS+ of 58 was the lowest mark on the team out of non-pitchers. He did collect 11 multi-hit games, including three times in which he collected three.
Abercrombie’s highest WPA of the season was achieved on July 6, in an 8-7 11-inning loss to the Washington Nationals. He had an RBI single and scored in the second, then reached third base on a bunt and error with the game tied and leading off the top of the ninth. He was ultimately stranded when Joe Borchard (remember him?) flew out to end the frame.
The 2007 season would see Abercrombie return for a second run with the Marlins, but he ended up spending far more time with their Triple-A affiliate, the Albuquerque Isotopes (that’s fun to type!). In 35 games for Florida, he went 15-for-76 with five doubles and a pair of jacks. He had five RBI and stole seven bases in eight attempts, drawing only two walks and striking out 22 times.
Defensively with the Marlins, Abercrombie made six errors in 765 1⁄3 innings for a .976 fielding percentage, mostly in center field. After the season was in the books, the Houston Astros claimed him off waivers.
Abercrombie appeared in 34 games for Houston in 2008, but it was the last of his time in the majors. After playing in 134 games for the Round Rock Express at the Triple-A level for Houston in 2009, he didn’t appear in affiliated ball again. He did play the next 10 seasons in independent ball, collecting 67 homers for the Winnipeg Goldeyes between 2016 and 2019.
@Wpg_Goldeyes OF Reggie Abercrombie salutes the fans today during his last at bat. pic.twitter.com/sagK05WfMi— Dave Mahussier (@1812photography) September 3, 2019