The Florida and Miami Marlins have seen 630 players take the field in a regular season game through their first 28 seasons.
We’re in the second part of the bracket of players who totaled between 250 and 799 batters faced or plate appearances. Today’s group of four all posted numbers which placed them above replacement level during their time with the Marlins.
198. Ismael Valdéz
Ismael Valdéz is a six-foot-three right-handed pitcher from Ciudad Victoria, Mexico. He signed his first professional deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers in June, 1991 at the age of 17.
Valdéz reached the majors for the first time with the Dodgers in 1994, and finished seventh in the National League Rookie of the Year Award voting for his efforts in 1995. He played parts of seven seasons with them, later playing with the Chicago Cubs, the Anaheim Angels, the Texas Rangers, the Seattle Mariners, and the San Diego Padres before making his way to the Marlins.
At the 2004 trade deadline, the Padres sent Valdéz to the Marlins for Travis Chick. Although Chick never appeared in the majors for San Diego, Valdéz played parts of two seasons at the major league level for the Marlins. After joining Florida, he took 11 turns in the rotation, going 5-3 with a 4.50 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 56 innings. He walked 18, and put up a 1.411 WHIP through the season.
Opponents slashed .277/.329/.509, as Valdéz struggled to keep the ball in the yard, giving up a dozen homers. On the other hand, he was better than average at getting the ball over the plate, getting strikes on 64 percent of his pitches.
Valdéz had three starts where he totaled six or more innings and allowed no runs, including an August 27 3-0 victory over the Colorado Rockies. He struck out four and gave up four hits, no walks, and no runs over 6 2⁄3 innings.
Valdéz appeared in another 14 games for Florida in 2005, starting in half of them. His WHIP ballooned to 1.697, and he struck out 27 batters in 50 2⁄3 innings, while allowing opponents to hit .314. The Marlins granted his free agency following the season.
197. Jarlin García
Left-handed pitcher Jarlin García is a six-foot-three native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. At the age of 17, he signed with the Marlins through free agency in 2010.
Seven years later, García made his debut with Miami, and over the next three seasons appeared in 150 games, 143 of them out of the bullpen. He struck out 121 in 170 innings, walking 61 and holding his opponents to a 1.218 WHIP. García was 8-7 with a 4.29 ERA through his time with the Marlins overall.
On September 15, 2017, García struck out three in 1 1⁄3 perfect innings against the Milwaukee Brewers, but the Marlins lost that one, 10-2. On March 30 the following season, he pitched six one-hit innings in relief, striking out six in an eventual 17-inning, 2-1 win over the Chicago Cubs.
Just before the start of 2020 Spring Training, the San Francisco Giants selected García off waivers from Miami, and he’s doing just fine. In 18 1⁄3 innings, he allowed just one earned run, striking out 14 and putting down a 0.982 WHIP.
196. Bryan Holaday
Bryan Holaday is a six-foot catcher from Dallas, Texas. In 2010, he was a sixth round choice of the Detroit Tigers out of Texas Christian University. Before joining the Marlins in 2018, he played parts of five seasons with the Tigers at the major league level, with additional appearances with the Texas Rangers and the Boston Red Sox. In 164 games in total, he hit .244/.279/.343, but his main value was never an offensive one.
After the 2017 season, the Marlins signed Holaday through free agency. Again, he wasn’t much to write home about offensively, with a mark of .205/.261/.258. Defensively, however, he was about the best catcher in the National League by a few measures. He racked up a perfect fielding percentage in 357 1⁄3 innings behind the plate, and the N.L. by gunning down 45 percent of would-be base-stealers. He was guilty of only one passed ball during that time.
Holaday also pitched two innings for the Marlins, even striking out Rhys Hoskins (with a 62 MPH flutterball) in an otherwise forgettable 20-1 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. On August 11, he came in to pinch hit in the bottom of the 11th, with Miguel Rojas second and one out, then drove Miggy home for a 4-3 walkoff victory.
In 2019, Holaday rejoined the Marlins as their backup catcher, and hit .278/.344/.435 in 43 contests. He hit doubled his career best by hitting four homers, and also collected 12 RBI. He spent the 2020 campaign with the Baltimore Orioles, and hit .161 in 20 games.
195. Alex Sanabia
San Diego, California native Alex Sanabia was a 32nd round pick of the Marlins in the 2006 draft. A six-foot-two right-hander, Sanabia took four years to get to the majors, making his debut with Florida in 2010.
Most of Sanabia’s positive value was achieved in his rookie season, when he started in 12 of his 15 appearance and went 5-3 with a 3.73 ERA. He only walked 16 in 72 1⁄3 innings, striking out 47 while posting a 1.244 WHIP. Opponents slashed .261/.306/.380 while getting 64 percent of his pitches over the plate.
On September 10, Sanabia earned a victory by pitching 6 2⁄3 shutout innings, striking out three and allowing only three hits in a 3-1 win against the Washington Nationals.
Sanabia pitched in another 13 games for the Marlins over the next few seasons, and posted an 8-10 overall record with a 4.15 ERA. After 2013, he didn’t again get back to the major leagues, but he did play three more seasons of minor league ball followed by four years in the Mexican League.