What are the Greatest Debut Seasons by Miami Marlins Players

What are the Greatest Debut Seasons by Miami Marlins Players
Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

With All-Star Week marking the official halfway point of the MLB season, it certainly looks as if the Miami Marlins have a real shot of competing for baseball’s biggest prize this season. We broke away from Florida sportsbooks discussions to focus on some of the best debut seasons from Marlins' players.

Owning the second-best record in the National League — behind only their Division rival, the Atlanta Braves — the Marlins' strong play has been punctuated by a career year from Luis Arráez. The Venezuelan infielder signed with the team during free agency after beginning his Major League career with the Minnesota Twins.

In June, Arráez became the first Marlins player in team history to record three 5-hit games in a single season. On top of that, he has been flirting with a .400 batting average for the past month, officially crossing the benchmark on June 6th, before falling below it again four days later. As it stands, there’s a real chance Arráez finishes his debut season with the Marlins as the first MLB player to hit .400 or above since Ted Williams did it with the Boston Red Sox in 1941.

The Best Debut Seasons by Miami Marlins' Players

To frame up this historic achievement, BetFlorida.com decided to dig into the Miami Marlins statistical past to see how Luis Arráez’s season stacks up against other first-year players in franchise history. Using the advanced stat WAR — or “Wins Above Replacement” — from Baseball-Reference.com’s archives, we rated the top ten debut seasons by Marlins players. 

YearPlayer WAR Notable Stats
1996 Kevin Brown 7.817-11, 1.89 ERA, 215 ERA+
2013Jose Fernandez 6.612-6, 2.19 ERA, 172.2 IP, 176 ERA+
1996Al Leiter5.2 16-12, 2.93 ERA, 139 ERA+
2006Hanley Ramirez4.9 .292/.353/.480, 17 HR, 46 2B, 51 SB
2003Ivan Rodriguez 4.5 .297/.369/.474, 16 HR, 85 RBI
2003Dontrelle Willis4.3 14-6, 3.30 ERA, 127 ERA+
2015Dee Gordon 4.3 .333/.359/.418, 24 2B, 58 SB
1997Alex Fernandez 4.117-12, 3.59 ERA, 113 ERA+
1998Mark Kotsay 3.9.279/.318/.403, 11 HR, 68 RBI
2006Anibal Sanchez 3.7 10-3, 2.83 ERA, 153 ERA+

Kevin Brown's 1996 Season Reigns

Six time MLB All-Star Kevin Brown’s 1996 season with the Miami Marlins rates out as the top debut year with the team. After arriving from the Baltimore Orioles, the righty Brown went 17-11 on the mound, but despite a league leading 1.89 ERA in ’96, he would finish second in Cy Young voting behind Roger Clemens.

The following year, Kevin Brown would not only throw for a no-hitter, but also help the Miami Marlins win the 1997 World Series.

Speaking of World Series, two former Marlins who made their debut during the 2003 championship season appear on our list. Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez joined the squad in free agency on a one-year, $10 million deal, while lefty pitcher Dontrelle “D-Train” Willis rolled into town on his rookie deal. Though not on this list, 12-time All Star Miguel Cabrera — likely the most accomplished active player in the MLB — also made his Major League debut in 2003 with the Marlins.

As of now Luis Arráez has a WAR of 3.7, according to Baseball-reference.com, which would put him outside of our list. But for those true believers predicting an even stronger second half of the season, you can bet Arráez to win the NL MVP with odds as high as 30/1 on DraftKings Sportsbook. You will hopefully enjoy Marlins odds from the best Florida sportsbook apps as soon as they launch in the Sunshine State.



Jeff Parker is an entertainment writer for FloridaBet.com. A writer for film, television and the internet, Jeff is a life long movie buff, with a Masters Degree in Popular Culture. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he works full time as documentary filmmaker and producer.

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