We’re getting into the final stretch of the All-Time Marlins Countdown.
Throughout the 2020-21 offseason, we’ve reviewed 599 of the 630 players to have appeared with the Florida and Miami Marlins through their first 28 seasons of major league play. With only 26 days until Opening Day, we’ve still got the best of the best to review. Players are sorted in ascending bWAR divided by PA/BF accumulated while with the Marlins.
31. Mark Kotsay
Mark Kotsay is a six-foot-tall left-handed hitting and throwing outfielder from Whittier, California. In 1996, he started his professional baseball career when the Florida Marlins took him in the first round, ninth overall off the board out of Cal State Fullerton.
In 114 games at the Double-A level in 1997, Kotsay hit .306 with 20 homers, 77 RBI, and 17 stolen bases in 22 attempts. Maybe more impressively, he drew 75 walks versus 65 strikeouts. He was called up for a cup of coffee in July, and hit .192 in 14 games. He did not make an appearance in the postseason as the Marlins earned their first World Series title.
Kotsay really hit his stride in 1998, slashing .279/.318/.403 with 11 homers and 68 RBI with 10 stolen bases. He led the Marlins with 154 appearances, ranking second with 233 total bases and with 161 base hits (to Cliff Floyd, who collected 283 and 166, respectively). Kotsay racked up 40 multiple hit games, including a five-hit game on June 22 in a 3-2, 12-inning victory against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
In 1999, Kotsay ranked second on the team with 148 games played, and led the club with nine triples. Still, he ranked near the bottom of all team qualifiers with a not-really-that-bad .271/.306/.402 slash line. Kotsay enjoyed another 34 multi-hit games, but the Marlins staggered to a 64-98 record.
In 2000, Kotsay was one of six Marlins hitters to accumulate over 200 total bases, finishing fourth on the club with 235. He slashed .298/.347/.443 in a team-third 152 games, adding a dozen home runs, 57 RBI, and 19 stolen bases. He set a career-high with 44 multiple hit games, including a four-hit effort on June 21 against the Milwaukee Brewers. Kotsay singled in the first, singled in the fourth, singled in the sixth, and hit a come-from-behind grand slam in the seventh to give the Marlins a 5-3 lead. Florida eventually won, 5-4.
Near the end of 2001 Spring Training, the Marlins traded Kotsay with Cesar Crespo to the San Diego Padres for Omar Ortiz, Matt Clement (#115), and Eric Owens (#96). After three seasons with the Friars, Kotsay later also played for the Oakland Athletics, the Atlanta Braves, the Boston Red Sox, the Chicago White Sox, and the Milwaukee Brewers before rejoining the Padres for his final two seasons.
After Kotsay’s playing career ended, he went into coaching, first as the hitting coach for the Padres in 2015. He’s spent the last six seasons on Oakland’s major league coaching staff, and enters the 2021 campaign as their third base coach.