The Best All-Stars in Marlins History, Part 2

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

We're counting down the best All-Star selections in Marlins history. For Part 1 and a discussion of our criteria, click here.

Now we move on to the cream of the crop. No one-year wonders in the bunch (with a lone exception) - these guys bring or brought it for years. First up is a quartet of players who just missed the 5-WAR threshold, none of whom were undeserving All-Stars. I'll call them the Hall of Very Good All-Stars:
18. Luis Castillo, 2003 (4.4 WAR, 106 OPS+): Castillo won his first of three straight Gold Gloves, hit .314, and scored 99 runs for the World Series champs.
17. Mike Lowell, 2004 (4.3 WAR, 127 OPS+): Lowell followed up his career year with a 44-double, 27-home run season. His .293 average was then a career high, and he topped .500 in slugging percentage for the second of three times in his career (.505).
16. Dan Uggla, 2008 (4.4 WAR, 126 OPS+): Uggla is best remembered for committing three errors, two of which came on consecutive plays. He was a monster with the bat that year, though, hitting 32 home runs with 37 doubles while piling up the strikeouts (177 - third most in the NL).
15. Charles Johnson, 1997 (4.4 WAR, 113 OPS+): The defensive ace won his third of four straight Gold Gloves and slugged .454 - not bad for a catcher. He led the NL with 2.6 defensive WAR, catching 56 of 118 base stealers (most in the NL). In his prime CJ was a marvel behind the plate.
We pause here for our He Was That Good? All Star:
14. Carl Pavano, 2004 (5.3 WAR, 137 ERA+): Better known as The Time Pavano Convinced the Yankees to Give Him $40 Million. He went 18-8, but could not recapture the magic thereafter due in large part to injury troubles (and later, age). 
Up next are the On-the-Cusp of Elite All-Stars, who are overshadowed only by some truly outstanding performances: 
13. Miguel Cabrera, 2005 (5.2 WAR, 151 OPS+): Winning his first Silver Slugger and finishing 5th in NL MVP voting, Cabrera hit "only" 33 home runs but slugged .565 and finished third in the NL with a .323 batting average. And his best was still yet to come...
12. Giancarlo Stanton, 2012 (5.5 WAR, 156 OPS+): Sr. #Monsterdong led the NL with a .608 slugging percentage and walloped 37 home runs in an injury-shortened season.
11. Al Leiter, 1996 (5.6 WAR, 139 ERA+): He led the NL with with 119 walks, but mad up for it by giving up just 6.4 hits per 9 innings. He also threw the first no-hitter in franchise history on May 11 of that year.
10. Cabrera, 2006 (5.8 WAR, 159 OPS +): Cabrera just kept getting better, setting a career high with 50 doubles and a .998 OPS. We miss him so much. Thanks for nothing, Cameron Maybin :(
9. Gary Sheffield, 1996 (6.0 WAR, 189 OPS+): Sheff set a franchise record with 42 home runs and led the NL with a .465 OBP and 1.090 OPS. He won a Silver Slugger and finished 6th in MVP voting.
8. Cliff Floyd, 2001 (6.5 WAR, 150 OPS+): Floyd was one of the most consistent but underrated hitters in franchise history (4 straight years of at least 115 OPS+, 3 straight .300+ BA). He hit 31 home runs and 44 doubles in the only All-Star season of his 17-year career.
7. Josh Johnson, 2009 (6.6 WAR, 133 ERA+): The big righty got some notice in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery. He struck out a career-high 191 batters and was second among NL pitchers in WAR.
6. Hanley Ramirez, 2008 (6.8 WAR, 143 OPS+): Making his first All-Star appearance, Ramirez earned the starting nod in fan voting. He won a Silver Slugger, led the NL with 143 runs, and hit .301 while smacking 33 home runs.
And now we've reached The Pantheon. Here are the best of the best in Marlins history:
5. Kevin Brown, 1997 (7.0 WAR, 150 ERA+): I had forgotten how good Brown was in his two years in Miami. He finished fifth in the NL with a 2.69 ERA and was also an excellent defender. He threw a no-hitter on June 10, and then a one-hitter just over a month later.
4. Dontrelle Willis, 2005 (7.2 WAR, 152 ERA+): Willis won our hearts all over again with his 22-win (franchise record) season that saw him finish second in NL Cy Young voting. His 7 complete games and 5 shutouts led the NL, he also batted .261 that year(!).
3. Johnson, 2010 (7.2 WAR, 180 ERA+): He didn't have the flash of Willis, but Johnson's 2010 season was arguably better than Dontrelle's 2005. JJ led the NL with a 2.30 ERA, with the 7th-lowest WHIP (1.105) and second-best K/BB ratio (3.875).
2. Ramirez, 2009 (7.3 WAR, 148 OPS+): Remember when Hanley Ramirez was one of the most exciting players in the game? He won the NL batting title in '09, hitting .342 and getting his second-straight starting job in the Midsummer Classic. Hanley finished 2nd in NL MVP voting; this was the apex of his career in Florida.
1. Brown, 1996 (8.0 WAR, 215 ERA+): Simply put, Brown's 1996 season was the best pitching performance in franchise history. He finished second in NL CY Young voting, led the league in ERA+, ERA (1.89), WHIP (0.944), HR/9 innings (0.3) and, curiously, HBP (16). 


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