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All-Time Marlins Countdown: Chapter 93

In Chapter 93, we look at three Marlins from the earlier days.

Photo credit should read AFP/AFP via Getty Images

The All-Time Marlins Countdown is a series where we’re looking back at all 630 players to appear in a regular season game for the Marlins through their first 28 seasons.

Players are first sorted into brackets that are set by total plate transactions. That is, plate appearances and batters faced while with the Marlins. We’re currently in the 250-to-799 bracket.

After the initial sort, players are ranked by ascending bWAR divided by PA/BF with the Marlins. Today’s group of three players all turned in bWAR values well above replacement level with the team.


144. Hee-Seop Choi

Left-handed first baseman Hee-Seop Choi is a six-foot-five native of Hwasun, South Korea. In 1999, the Chicago Cubs signed him through free agency at the age of 19. For each of the next four years, he was rated by Baseball America as one of the three top prospects on the Cubs, and peaked in 2003 as the number 22 prospect in all of baseball.

Choi appeared in 104 games for the Cubs in 2002 and 2003, and hit .210 with 10 home runs and 32 RBI. After 2003, the Cubs sent Choi to the Marlins with Mike Nannini for Derrek Lee.

When he came to bat, he was often greeted with the crowd yelling: “Hee-Seop Choi! Hee-Seop Choi!” His following grew, with South Korean fans attending games, wearing his No. 25 jersey. — Joe Frisaro

In 2004, Choi appeared in 95 games for the Marlins, and hit .270/.388/.495. He hit 16 doubles, a triple, and 15 homers with 40 RBI. Choi drew 52 walks, scored 48 runs, struck out 78 times, and stole one base. Defensively, he fielded at .990 in 712 23 innings at first base, and was worth five runs below average DRS.

Fish Stripes original GIF

On May 19, Choi chugged around the bases for an unlikely inside-the-park home run. Then on July 9, he singled in the second and hit a go-ahead two-run home run in the sixth in an eventual 6-3 loss to the New York Mets. Three weeks later, the Marlins sent Choi with Bill Murphy and Brad Penny to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Juan Encarnacion, Paul lo Duca, and Guillermo Mota.

Choi played in 164 games for the Dodgers over the next two years, hitting .238 with another 15 home runs and 48 RBI. Starting in 2007, Choi signed with the Kia Tigers in the Korean Baseball Organization.


143. Luis Aquino

Six-foot right-handed pitcher Luis Aquino is a native of Santure, Puerto Rico. In 1981, the Toronto Blue Jays signed him through free agency at the age of 17. In 1986, he made his first major league appearance, and allowed eight runs in 11 13 innings.

In the middle of 1987, the Jays sent Aquino to the Kansas City Royals for Juan Beniquez. In five seasons for the Royals, Aquino was 22-19 as a long reliever/starter. He appeared in 114 games, starting 55 of them and striking out 198 in 463 13 innings. Although not much of a strikeout pitcher, Aquino had a 1.34 WHIP and a 3.54 ERA due to his decent 3.5 BB/9 rate.

A week before the Marlins inaugural Opening Day, they purchased Aquino’s contract from Kansas City. He served with the Marlins much as he had with the Royals, appearing in 38 games and starting in 13 of them. His strikeout rate was a little more robust, with 67 in 110 23 innings, along with a 1.401 WHIP. He held opponents to a .276/.345/.384 slash line, put 62 percent of his pitches over the plate, and stranded nine-of-10 inherited runners.

On May 16, Aquino logged a GameScore of 80, earning no decision despite pitching eight three-hit shutout innings versus the St. Louis Cardinals. The Marlins eventually lost, 1-0, when future Marlin Todd Zeile hit a walkoff RBI-single off soon-to-be-ex-Marlin Trevor Hoffman. Aquino finished the season 6-8 with a 3.42 ERA, and led the Marlins with 0.5 HR/9.

In 1994, Aquino pitched in another 29 games for Florida, all but one of them in relief. His 1.20 WHIP was the lowest mark of his career, as he held the opposition to a .210/.300/.323 slashline. He plated 61 percent of his pitches, and stranded 15-of-18 inherited baserunners.

Aquino was 2-1 with a 3.73 ERA in 50 23 innings, with 22 strikeouts and 22 walks in 1994. Granted free agency after the season, the Montreal Expos signed him for the belated start to the 1995 season. Between Montreal and the San Francisco Giants later in the year, he was 0-3 with a 5.10 ERA in what would be his last major league exposure.


142. Jerry Browne

Jerry Browne was a five-foot-10, 140 lb. infielder/outfielder from Christiansted, Virgin Islands. As an undrafted free agent in 1983, the Texas Rangers signed him at the age of 17.

Browne, known sometimes as “The Governor,” got to the majors with the Rangers in 1986 while still just 20-years-old. He also played for the Cleveland Indians and the Oakland Athletics, slashing .270/.346/.349 in 804 games through his first eight major league seasons.

Prior to Spring Training in 1994, the Marlins signed Browne through free agency. He tied for fourth on the team with 101 games played that year, ranking second with 2.4 bWAR. He slashed .295/.392/.398 with 17 doubles, four triples, three home runs, and 30 RBI. Browne drew 52 walks, scored 42 runs, stole three bases, and only struck out 23 times in 388 plate appearances. With only one K per 14.3 at bats, he ranked fourth in the National League.

Florida Marlins v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Browne signed with Florida, an attractive option because of playing time, weather, and hailing distance from St. Croix. He joined fellow Crucian José Morales, who was then the Marlins batting coach — “I had a blast when Shady was there.” Manager René Lachemann said, “It’s fun to hear them talk… you can’t understand a word they’re saying.” —quoted by Gordon Edes in the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

Browne had 23 multiple hit games in 1994, including six three-hit games. On August 3, he hit a double and a solo home run in a 9-8 victory against the Chicago Cubs.

In 1995, in what was Browne’s final major league season, he appeared in 77 games for the Marlins. He slashed .255/.346/.293 with four doubles, a homer, an 17 RBI. He drew 25 walks and whiffed 20 times, scoring 21 runs and stealing one base in two attempts. On July 2, he singled in the first, hit an RBI-single trailing 5-0 in the fifth, and hit a two-run, go-ahead single in the sixth inning of a 7-6 victory over the Expos.

Defensively for the Marlins, Browne played second base, third base, and all three outfield positions liberally in his time with the team. Advanced metrics suggest he was a well-above average fielder at second, left, and center field.