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Best Individual Marlins Offensive Seasons: the 2000s

The decade that saw Miguel Cabrera and Hanley Ramírez emerge as superstars at their respective positions.

Having already taken a look at the outstanding pitching seasons that guys like Dontrelle Willis and Josh Beckett produced in the 2000s, it’s time to step inside the box. During this decade the Marlins brought up two of the most versatile and talented players in the history of the organization: Miguel Cabrera and Hanley Ramírez. These guys came into the league and did nothing but rake. One of them went on to be a two-time MVP, Triple Crown winner, and future first-ballot Hall of Famer. The other one did not accomplish as much, but with all his accolades in Miami, he definitely holds a special place in Marlins fans’ hearts.

Let’s take a look at the position players who accumulated the most WAR from 2000 to 2009 in South Florida.

Most Valuable Marlins Position Players by fWAR, 2000-2009

Name G wRC+ WAR
Name G wRC+ WAR
Hanley Ramirez 616 138 24
Miguel Cabrera 720 139 19.6
Luis Castillo 840 104 19.3
Mike Lowell 884 110 16.8
Dan Uggla 617 113 13.4
Cliff Floyd 354 140 12
Derrek Lee 633 126 10.9
Juan Pierre 486 98 9.7
Preston Wilson 425 107 6.9
Cody Ross 453 108 6.8
FanGraphs

Nothing too crazy here. The best two players for the Marlins that decade hold the number one and two spots. Luis Castillo spent 6 seasons with the Marlins in the 2000s, but his 2000 season in particular was one for the record books. Cliff Floyd posted a 6.5 fWAR in 2001 to once again feature in our best individual seasons by a Marlin ever. Iván Rodríguez, better known as “Pudge,” missed the list by 2 wins, which is understandable as he spent just one season in Miami. Albeit, he certainly made that season count.

But let’s stop summarizing and jump right into it. Miggy fans and Hanley stans please fasten your seatbelts, this is going to be a roller coaster.

Luis Castillo, 2000

During his 5th season with the Marlins, Castillo exploded. The switch-hitter improved all aspects of his game, from OBP to slugging percentage and, of course, stealing more bases. The second baseman swiped 62 bases in 2000, which is ranked as the third-most in a season by a Marlins player. All of those stolen bags sound impressive on their own. However, when you consider the fact that Castillo was on base 41.8% of the time, well, it doesn’t get much better than that.

His high batting average might have had some luck included, since his BABIP was .396, but it still does not diminish the fact that Castillo was able to incite chaos on the field in so many ways. He posted the best wRC+ of his career at 119, and provided a spark to those mediocre 2000 Marlins.

Awards and Accomplishments:

  • Most Stolen Bases in MLB

Cliff Floyd, 2001

Welcome back, Cliff! Last time we took a look at Floyd’s 1998 season, where he achieved 20 stolen bases and 20 home runs.

In 2001, Floyd posted a 6.5 fWAR, and a .968 OPS paired with 31 HRs. Even though he was not able to re-reach the 20-20 mark, the outfielder stole some bags in the process and finished the year with 18 SB.

His 176 hits that season marked a career high for Cliff, as well as his 146 wRC+. With these numbers, Floyd was selected to play in the first and only All-Star Game of his career that summer.

Awards and Accomplishments:

  • All-Star
  • Finished 22nd in NL MVP voting

Miguel Cabrera, 2005

In his third season with the Marlins, the kid had a triple slash line of .323/.385/.561. Cabrera was beginning to show signs of what he would become during his HOF career. His 198 hits that season were the second most in the NL and are tied for the second highest of his career. Cabrera’s Soft% ( percentage of balls he hit classified as “softly” hit) in 2005 was 9.61%, meaning he hit the ball at a medium or hard rate more than 90% of the time he made contact.

Miggy had an OPS of .947 in 2005 to go with 33 home runs. Those 33 HRs made Cabrera the youngest player in MLB history to hit 30+ HRs in consecutive seasons, a record previously held by Albert Pujols.

The young Marlin posted a 5.2 bWAR that season and earned a ticket to his second All Star game.

Awards and Accomplishments:

  • All-Star
  • Silver Slugger
  • Finished 5th in NL MVP voting

Miguel Cabrera, 2006

This was the season where Cabrera showed the world that his talent was here to stay. If you thought his previous season was impressive, take a look at Cabrera’s triple slash line in 2006: .339/.430/.568. In the National League, Miguel had the second highest batting average, the second highest OBP, and the sixth highest SLG. His walk and strikeout rates both improved, as he increased his BB% by 3% and lowered his K% by 2%. Although he was not able to keep the streak of 30+ HRs alive, Cabrera was still invited to the Home Run Derby— he finished third in the event with 15 HRs.

On the evening of June 22, 2006, Cabrera came up to bat with a man on second and with first base open. The game was tied up 5-5 in the top of the 10th, and then this happened:

Yes, it was that type of year for Miggy: everything was going his way. Cabrera posted a 6.3 fWAR that season and, forgive me if I am starting to sound like a broken record but, he dominated in every aspect of the game.

Awards and Accomplishments:

  • All-Star
  • Home Run Derby participant
  • Silver Slugger
  • Finished 5th in NL MVP voting

Hanley, 2008

Hanley came into the league with a brief stint on the 2005 Red Sox. The following offseason, he and two other players were shipped to South Florida in exchange for Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, and Guillermo Mota. The following year, Ramirez won ROY and showed the organization what he was made of. In 2008, Hanley was unstoppable, as he had a triple slash line of .301/.400/.540. Han-Ram reached the 30/30 benchmark with 33 HRs (career high) and 35 SBs, joining Preston Wilson as the only other player in franchise history to reach that mark. At the end of that season, Hanley accumulated a 7.4 fWAR (6th-best in the majors).

In 2008, Hanley posted the best walk rate of his career (13.3 BB%). That was due to his incredible O-Swing%, which was 12.5% better than MLB average, at 17.5%.

Some may argue that his 2007 season was slightly better than his 2008 campaign. His OPS was .008 points higher in 2007, but his defense just was not there, literally. Hanley posted a -20.7 UZR in 2007, which is why I give his 2008 season the benefit of the doubt.

Awards and Accomplishments:

  • Finished 11th in NL MVP voting
  • All-Star
  • Silver Slugger
  • NL Player of the Month (June)
  • 30 HR/30 SB

Hanley Ramirez, 2009

When I said this was going to be a roller coaster, I meant it. These two guys, Miggy and Hanley, gave Fish fans a reason to cheer. During the 2009 regular season opener against the Washington Nationals, Hanley made a statement by hitting the first grand slam of his career. He wanted to make sure everyone knew that last season was not a fluke, rather it was just the beginning of what was to come from Han-Ram.

In 2009, Hanley was not able to replicate his 30/30 feat—he only reached the 20/20 benchmark with 24 home runs and 27 stolen bases. However, he increased his wOBA to .407 and had a triple slash line of .342/.410/.543. Wow.

His 197 hits that season was the highest in his career, and helped him win the batting title that season. Hanley finished the season with a 7.1 fWAR, good for 6th in the MLB, and a 149 WRC+, second-best in the NL behind that year’s MVP winner, Albert Pujols.

Awards and Accomplishments:

  • All-Star
  • Silver Slugger
  • Finished 2nd in NL MVP voting
  • Batting Title

Still have doubts about who had the best season? Well, maybe this will help:

Miggy vs Hanley

Player Hanley Ramirez Hanley Ramirez Miguel Cabrera Miguel Cabrera
Player Hanley Ramirez Hanley Ramirez Miguel Cabrera Miguel Cabrera
Year 2009 2008 2006 2005
G 151 153 158 158
HR 24 33 26 33
R 101 125 112 106
RBI 106 67 114 116
SB 27 35 9 1
BB% 9.4 % 13.3 % 12.7 % 9.3 %
K% 15.5 % 17.6 % 16.0 % 18.2 %
AVG 0.342 0.301 0.339 0.323
OBP 0.410 0.400 0.430 0.385
SLG 0.543 0.540 0.568 0.561
wOBA 0.407 0.403 0.415 0.399
wRC+ 149 144 153 146
fWAR 7.1 7.4 6.3 5.1
bWAR 7.4 6.7 5.8 5.2

Yeah, it didn’t help me either.


Honorable mentions: Hanley Ramírez, 2007; Iván Rodríguez, 2003; Juan Pierre, 2003.

Poll

Which Marlins position player had the best individual season of the 2000s?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Luis Castillo, 2000
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Cliff Floyd, 2001
    (0 votes)
  • 7%
    Miguel Cabrera, 2005
    (1 vote)
  • 53%
    Miguel Cabrera, 2006
    (7 votes)
  • 7%
    Hanley Ramirez, 2008
    (1 vote)
  • 30%
    Hanley Ramirez, 2009
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    Other
    (0 votes)
13 votes total Vote Now