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All-Time Marlins Countdown: Chapter 103

Adam Conley heads up our latest chapter in our offseason-long series.

Miami Marlins Summer Workouts Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

The Florida and Miami Marlins have employed 630 players through their first 28 seasons of major league play.

Our offseason-long series on every Florida and Miami Marlins player to ever take the field for at least one batter faced or plate appearances. We’re currently in the final bracket, comprised of players who totaled 800 or more PA/BF with the team. Players are listed in ascending bWAR divided by PA/BF. Today’s group of three ended their tenure with the Marlins very slightly below replacement level.

114. Brad Hand

Left-handed pitcher Brad Hand is a six-foot-three native of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Before becoming a premiere MLB closer, he was a replacement level starting pitcher for the Miami Marlins.

Hand started his professional career in 2008, when the Marlins chose him in the second round out of high school. By 2011, he was ranked as the number six prospect in the Marlins’ system, and made his major league debut. He started a dozen games for Florida, and won one versus eight losses with a 4.20 ERA. Hand struggled to throw strikes, getting just 57 percent of his offerings over the plate, and walked nearly as many as he struck out, with 35 and 38 respectively.

Hand held opponents to a .241/.344/.445 line that first season. The 2012 campaign would see him spend most of the season at the Triple-A level, with one start for the Marlins in August. After allowing seven runs in 3 23 innings, he didn’t return to the rotation until 2013.

Hand ended up starting in 43 of his 90 appearances over five major league seasons with the Marlins, going 9-25 with a 4.71 ERA and 190 strikeouts in 288 23 innings. Opponents hit .264/.338/.418 against him overall, as he put 60 percent of his pitches over the plate in total.

Even early on in his career, Hand seemed to be better suited to a reliever role. Of 22 inherited runners with the Marlins, he stranded 91 percent of them. During the first days of the 2016 season, the San Diego Padres claimed Hand off waivers from Miami.

And the rest is history. Almost immediately, Hand excelled as a relief pitcher, leading the major leagues with 82 appearances in 2016. He’s made three All-Star teams since, and led the majors in 2020 with 16 saves. Hand’s post-Marlins output is a 2.70 ERA, a 1.07 WHIP, 434 K’s in 320 innings, and 104 saves.

113. Adam Conley

Lefty pitcher Adam Conley is a six-foot-three native of Redmond, Washington. In 2011, the Marlins spent their second round selection on him out of Washington State. By 2014, he was ranked as the number eight Marlins prospect by Baseball America.

After making his major league debut in 2015, Conley started 36 times over the next two seasons with Miami, going 12-7 with a 3.82 ERA. He struck out 183 in 200 13 innings, and held down a 1.36 WHIP.

On September 16 in his rookie season, Conley struck out six Mets while walking zero and pitching seven innings of three-hit shutout ball as the Marlins defeated New York, 6-0. On April 29 the following year, he threw 7 23 no hit innings, walking four and striking out seven in a 6-3 victory against the Milwaukee Brewers.

In 2017, Conley’s development took a turn for the worse. He posted a 6.14 ERA in 20 starts, going 8-8 with a 1.52 WHIP. The Marlins responded by sending him down to the New Orleans Baby Cakes. After three starts with the Triple-A club in 2018, he had a 19.64 ERA through 7 13 innings. He was then moved to the bullpen, and seemingly was a different pitcher going forward.

In 2018 at the major league level, Conley added an average of five MPH to each of his primary pitches through the season, and posted a career-best 1.09 WHIP through 50 23 innings. The changes didn’t stick, however, as Conley regressed to a 1.73 WHIP in 2019, despite his status as a reliever. He didn’t make an appearance in 2020, and was granted free agency on September 28.

Conley is seeking to revitalize his career this coming year with Japan’s Rakuten Golden Eagles.

112. Wes Helms

Gastonia, North Carolina native Wes Helms is a six-foot-four right-handed corner infielder. In 1994, he began his professional career in earnest when the Atlanta Braves chose him in the 10th round out of high school.

Helms played four seasons at the major league level with the Braves, followed by three seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers. He signed with the Marlins through free agency prior to the 2006 campaign.

After spending the 2007 season with the Philadelphia Phillies, Helms returned to the Marlins from 2008 through 2011. In five total seasons for Florida, he slashed out a .257/.321/.390 line with 22 round-trippers and 156 RBI. Defensively, Helms was a more-or-less average first and third baseman, fielding a mark of .942 at the hot corner and .991 at the not-hot corner.

On June 14, 2006, Helms went three-for-four with two homers and three RBI in a 6-5, 10-inning victory over the Atlanta Braves. On April 27, 2008, Helms was three-for-five with a home run and two RBI in a 3-2 win against the Milwaukee Brewers.