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Best Individual Marlins Offensive Seasons: The 2010s

The team didn’t reach any of its collective goals over the past decade, but these individual stars were a privilege to watch at Marlins Park.

AP

José Fernández took the well-deserved spotlight in our last article, but now it’s time for arguably the best offensive player in Marlins history to pave the way. Whether we call him Mike or Giancarlo, Mr. Stanton had some of the most memorable moments in the franchise’s history. In his 8 seasons with the Marlins, he accumulated the most WAR by any Marlin ever.

Even though the Marlins did not come close to earning a playoff spot the last decade, the organization has developed some of the best individual talent in the big leagues. At one point they were even said to have the “best outfield in the majors.”

But enough of the small talk—let’s get right into it. Here are the position players with the most accumulated WAR from 2010-2019:

Most Valuable Marlins Position Players by fWAR, 2010-2019

Name wRC+ WAR
Name wRC+ WAR
Giancarlo Stanton 145 34.6
Christian Yelich 122 18.2
Marcell Ozuna 114 15
J.T. Realmuto 108 11.5
Dee Gordon 98 9.4
Brian Anderson 112 6.5
Hanley Ramirez 112 6.4
Derek Dietrich 108 6.3
Martin Prado 91 5.4

It is crazy to think that the top three players (Stanton, Yelich, and Ozuna) were on the same team for a while and still couldn’t produce a winning record. J.T. Realmuto is, without a doubt—sorry to the Grandal and Garver fans—the best MLB catcher right now and his stint with the Marlins was undoubtedly the precursor of that title. Even though Dee Gordon might have the lowest BB% on this list, the second baseman did manage to steal 178 bases in 4 seasons with the Fish. Brian Anderson, who is still on the team, became the face of the franchise in 2019 and will be part of the team’s core for years to come.

Giancarlo Stanton, 2014

It was hard to pick and choose Stanton’s best season(s) with the organization since, in 4 out of the 8, he had a bWAR above 4.0. The 2014 season included several career highs for the right-handed slugger, posting the highest on-base percentage of his career at .395, the lowest K% of his 5 years in the majors at 26.6%, and his highest fWAR yet at 6.8.

Besides getting on base more than ever and lowering his strikeouts, Giancarlo, as we all know, was characterized primarily by his strength. The right fielder hit moonshots like no one had before. Stanton hit 37 home runs in the 2014 MLB season (tying his career high), which propelled him to have the highest SLG% in the NL at .555. Giancarlo also had a HR per AB of 14.6, the lowest in the National League by more than whole at-bat.

With an incredible first half, where he posted a triple slash line of .295/.395/.538, Giancarlo was chosen, along with Henderson Alvarez, to represent the Marlins in the All-Star Game in Minnesota. He was also selected to participate in his first Home Run Derby. Although he was not able to win it, to say he put up a show would be an understatement. His performance was, well, how about you tell me:

Stanton finished the season with a 6.5 bWAR, 1st in the NL among position players, and a triple slash line that says “Superstar”, .288/.395/.555. He lost the MVP voting against future Hall of Fame pitcher Clayton Kershaw.

Awards and Accomplishments:

  • All-Star
  • 2nd in NL MVP Voting
  • Silver Slugger
  • Home Run Derby Participant
  • 2014 Hank Aaron Award Winner
  • NL home run leader

Dee Gordon, 2015

In a trade with the Dodgers after the 2014 season, the Marlins acquired Dee Gordon, Dan Haren, and current Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas. In that first year, Dee Gordon made the trade look like a complete steal, as the second baseman became an instant spark for a Marlins team lacking speed.

Dee racked up 50 hits in the first 28 games of the campaign, tying Rogers Hornsby’s record in the 1924 season for fewest games to reach the 50-hit mark. On June 30, Gordon made Marlins Park history, as he was the first player ever to hit an inside-the-park-home run in the stadium:

These are the type of home runs Dee Gordon hits, except for one of the most impactful, memorable and significant home runs in Marlins history:

That home run will stick with Marlins fans for a long, long time.

In 2015, Gordon had a triple slash line of .333/.359/.418. There are two things that we can infer from this stat line:

  • His BB% is very low
  • The guy has virtually no power

To succeed despite those holes in his skill set, Dee relied heavily on his O-Contact% and his speed to make an impact within the game. He ended with the highest batting average in the NL, along with the most stolen bases and hits in the majors. After such a great year, the Marlins gave him a 5-year, $50 million contract extension.

Awards and Accomplishments:

  • All-Star
  • NL Batting Title
  • Silver Slugger
  • Gold Glove
  • MLB Hit and SB leader
  • 16th in NL MVP voting

Christian Yelich, 2016

In his first three seasons in the majors, Christian Yelich was almost a five-tool player. The only thing he was missing was power, probably one the most important aspects of the game in this era. That said, everyone insisted that the Yelich power surge was coming, that it was just a matter of time—and they were right.

In his 2016 season (144 games) Yelich hit 21 home runs, which is one more than what he had from 2013-2015 combined (332 games). His extremely high GB% decreased from an average of 62% in his first three seasons—one of the highest GB% among major league hitters—to 56%. Most of those long balls came during the second half of the summer, as Yelich pinpoints his July 3 workout with then-hitting coach Barry Bonds as a turning point.

Yelich ended the year with a 5.4 fWAR, a .298/.376/.483 slash line, a 134 wRC+. He established new career highs in hits, doubles, and, of course, home runs. Sadly for Marlins fans, Yelich never realized his full potential until after he got traded to the Brewers.

Awards and Accomplishments:

  • Silver Slugger
  • 19th in NL MVP voting

Giancarlo Stanton, 2017

No, the Marlins were not in contention in September. Actually they were 11 games under .500 on Sept. 15 of that season, but Stanton made sure South Beach was the place to be. The slugger was steadily approach Roger Maris’ 61 *clean* home runs record and every at-bat was must-watch TV.

Stanton had a .281 batting average, got on base 37.6% of the time, and slugged his way to the highest SLG% in the majors at .631. In 2017, Stanton set Marlins single-season records all around the board:

-Home Runs (59)

-RBIs (132)

-SLG% (.631)

-Extra-Base Hits (91)

-Total Bases (377)

The right hander’s season will unquestionably go down as one of the greatest individual efforts in the history of the franchise.

One of the main reasons for Stanton’s incredible success that year was the change of his stance. At first, the right fielder had his front foot parallel to his back foot, but, on June, 19, Giancarlo closed off his right foot to the point that he was almost touching the inside edge of the batter’s box. This helped him immensely, as he finally stopped chasing his nightmare pitch: the low-and-away slider.

Giancarlo Stanton lowered his Chase% on breaking balls by 8% from his 2016 campaign.

With all of his moonshots, great catches down the line, and different ways to entertain fans, Stanton made baseball special for South Florida. Following his most dominant campaign, he deservedly received the first NL MVP award in Marlins history.

Awards and Accomplishments:

  • 2017 NL MVP
  • All-Star
  • Silver Slugger
  • Home Run Derby Participant
  • Most Home Runs in MLB
  • Highest fWAR in NL
  • August Player of the Month

Marcell Ozuna, 2017

After being demoted to Triple-A in 2015, the young and talented outfielder finally found his groove. Ozuna was able to come back strong for the 2016 season, and further improved his stat line during his 2017 season. The two-time All-Star saw career highs in almost every major category. The Big Bear had a triple slash line of .312/.376/.548 to go with 37 home runs, a 143 wRC+, and a 5.0 fWAR.

With Stanton having the season he was having, some tend to forget how magical Ozuna’s 2017 was to watch. Ozuna was named player of the week twice that year and was also named a starting outfielder for the National League All-Star team.

Awards and Accomplishments:

  • All-Star
  • Silver Slugger
  • Gold Glove
  • 15th in NL MVP Voting

J.T. Realmuto, 2018

J.T. had the highest fWAR, most hits, highest wRC+, best OPS, and the lowest pop time among MLB catchers. Realmuto wanted to let the world know he was now the best at his position. With a 4.5 bWAR and a .277/.340/.484 slash line in 2018, J.T. was the leader of a young Marlins team that had just embarked on an extensive rebuild.

After a strong first half, J.T. was selected for his first All-Star Game that summer. While the team did not even come close to making the playoffs, it was nice to have an entertaining guy like Realmuto to watch day in and day out.

Awards and Accomplishments:

  • All-Star
  • Silver Slugger

Honorable Mentions: Justin Bour, 2017; Giancarlo Stanton, 2012; Brian Anderson, 2019; Dan Uggla, 2010.

Poll

Which Marlins position player had the best individual season of the 2010s?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    Gaincarlo Stanton, 2014
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Dee Gordon, 2015
    (0 votes)
  • 7%
    Christian Yelich, 2016
    (1 vote)
  • 85%
    Giancarlo Stanton, 2017
    (12 votes)
  • 0%
    Marcell Ozuna, 2017
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    JT Realmuto, 2018
    (0 votes)
14 votes total Vote Now

Hopefully the 2020s bring a lot of joy and celebration to South Florida. Derek Jeter and Co. have been loading the farm system, and I personally cannot wait to see the production of these young players at the MLB level.

After going through every decade of the Marlins organization, who do you think had the greatest individual season ever for the Marlins?