MLB Top 5: Miami Marlins Middle Infielders

This is the third article in a series that looks at the five best players at each position for the Miami Marlins. In this installment are second basemen and shortstops.

The Marlins are unlike several teams in that some of their best offensive weapons played in the middle infield. Each position has a power hitter, and there is also a good mix of speed and timely hitting. Included on this list is a player who is responsible for the most famous moment from the team’s first championship.

The Best Second Basemen and Shortstops in Miami Marlins History

Second Basemen

Honorable Mentions – Bret Barberie was the starter in the team’s first game in 1993 and played with the Marlins for two seasons. He batted .301 in 1994 and had 216 hits in 206 games with Florida.

Quilvio Veras spent two years with the Marlins (1995-96), batting .258 in 197 games. He finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting in 1995 after stealing a league-high 56 bases.

Omar Infante played in the 2002 MLB Futures Game and the 2006 World Series as a member of the Tigers and earned his only All-Star selection in 2010 with the Braves. He batted .276 with seven home runs, 49 runs batted in and a career-high 160 hits his first season with the Marlins in 2011. He was traded back to Detroit midway through the following campaign and made World Series appearances with the Tigers in 2012 and the Royals in 2015.

Starlin Castro earned three All-Star selections with the Cubs and another in 2017 with the Yankees before joining the Marlins the following year. He participated in the 2009 MLB Futures Game with Chicago and started his career as a shortstop before converting to second base after going to New York (in the trade for Giancarlo Stanton). Castro had two solid years in Miami (2018-19) but was better offensively in the second season. He played all 162 games in 2019, batting .270 with 172 hits and setting career highs with 22 home runs and 86 runs batted in.

Castro signed with the Nationals in 2020 and played two seasons in the Nation’s Capital. His time there was marred by a 30-game suspension for domestic violence applications, after which Washington released him. Castro spent one season in Mexico and another in the independent Atlantic League and is currently a free agent.

5. Jasrado “Jazz” Chisholm – He came from the Diamondbacks in a 2019 trade for starter Zac Gallen. After a brief call-up during the COVID-shortened 2020 season, Chisholm burst onto the scene the following year, setting career highs with 70 runs, 115 hits, 20 doubles, 53 RBIs and 23 stolen bases while hitting 18 home runs. Chisholm was selected to his first All-Star game in 2022 but ended up missing both the game and a majority of the season with a stress fracture in his back.

The colorful player from the Bahamas was the cover athlete for the MLB The Show 23 video game and moved to center field to make room for another player on this list. Chisholm played in 97 games in 2023, amassing 51 RBIs, 22 steals and a career-high 19 home runs. He has 167 runs, 266 hits, 53 homers, 155 RBIs and 59 stolen bases in 302 games. Chisholm has appeared in three postseason games with Miami, going 1-for-11 with a double.

4. Luis Arraez – Rarely do teams part with batting champions, but that was the case with Arraez, who was traded from the Twins to the Marlins for starting pitcher Pablo Lopez in January 2023 after leading the American League with a .315 average the year before. Arraez took to his new surroundings, flirting with a .400 average for most of the first half of the season before finishing at .354. He became just the third person in the past 125 years to win a batting title in both leagues (Hall of Famer Ed Delahanty with the Phillies in 1899 and Senators in 1902 and D.J. LeMahieu with the Rockies in 2016 and the Yankees in 2020) and the first to do it in back-to-back seasons.

Nicknamed “La Regadera” (“The Sprinkler”) for his ability to hit to all fields, Arraez earned his second straight All-Star selection and silver slugger in 2023 after setting career highs with 203 hits, 10 home runs and 69 runs batted in. He also led all National League second basemen in fielding percentage and double plays. Arraez appeared in the Wild Card round loss to the Marlins, going 1-for-8 in two games.

3. Dee Strange-Gordon – He used just the Gordon part of his surname for most of his career, going back to his given name in 2020 when he was in Seattle. Gordon spent three seasons with the Marlins (2015-17), with his best season being his first in South Florida. He earned All-Star, Gold Glove, and Silver Slugger honors that season after leading the league with a .333 average, 205 hits (third-most in franchise history) and 58 stolen bases.

Two years later, Gordon had a circuit-topping 60 steals (third in team history) and had 201 hits, making him the only Marlins player to have 200 or more in a season twice. He ranks second in franchise history in batting average (.309), fourth in stolen bases (148) and is tied for fifth in triples (23) along with 249 runs, 493 hits and 93 RBIs in 382 games.

Gordon was a Wilson Defensive Player of the Year in 2015 with the Marlins, played in the 2010 MLB Futures Game when he was in the Dodgers organization and won the Hutch Award (for “fighting spiring and competitive desire”) with the Mariners in 2019. After bouncing around the minors in several teams in 2021, he spent the following year with the Nationals.

Gordon did not play in the 2023 season and is currently a free agent. He is active with several charities, including his own creation called “Flash of Hope,” which helps children whose parents have died as a result of domestic abuse. Gordon’s father was former major league pitcher Tom Gordon, but his parents never married. His mother was shot and killed by a boyfriend when Dee was just seven years old.

2. Dan Uggla – He was known for his production at the plate, especially during his five seasons in Florida (2006-10). Uggla started strong, earning an All-Star selection and finishing third in the Rookie of the Year race after batting .282 with 27 home runs, 90 runs batted in and a career-high 172 hits in 2006. He had at least 25 home runs and 80 RBIs in all five seasons with the Marlins and smacked 49 doubles in 2007, which is the second-highest single-season total in team history.

The two-time All-Star had his best season in 2010, when he set career bests with a .287 batting average and 105 RBIs to go with 100 runs, 169 hits and 33 homers, earning the silver slugger for his performance. Uggla was traded to the Braves in a deal that sent Omar Infante to the Marlins. He hit a career-high 36 home runs, becoming the first second baseman in major league history to smack 30 or more homers in five straight years.

Uggla ranks second in franchise history in home runs (154) and strikeouts (76), fourth in runs (499), sixth in RBIs (465), seventh in doubles (170), total bases (1,427) and slugging percentage (.488), eighth in hits (771) and ninth in games (776). He also spent time with the Giants and Nationals before retiring after the 2015 season.

1. Luis Castillo – He began his career by spending three seasons as a backup before taking control of the position and being the team’s leadoff hitter for the next seven years. Castillo was solid both on offense and defense, earning three All-Star selections and three gold gloves during his 10 seasons with Florida (1996-2005). For most of that time, he was a speedster, stealing at least 30 bases in four straight seasons and leading the league twice.

Although he wasn’t an All-Star, Castillo’s best season with the Marlins was 2000, when he had 180 hits and set career highs with a .334 average, 101 runs and 62 stolen bases, which also led the National League and is the second-highest single season total in franchise history. He had a career-best 10 triples in 2001 and led the league with 48 steals the following year.

Despite seeing a drop off in production his final three years in the teal and black, Castillo is the all-time franchise leader in games (1,128), runs (675), hits (1,273), triples (42), stolen bases (281) and walks (533). He also ranks fourth in on-base percentage (.374), fifth in total bases (1,547) and seventh in average (.293), and he had 130 doubles, 20 home runs and 271 runs batted in. Castillo had six runs, 15 hits, four doubles, four RBIs and three steals during the 2003 playoffs and helped the Marlins win their second championship.

Castillo was traded first to Minnesota as part of Florida’s “fire sale” after the 2005 season, then to the Mets two years later. Unfortunately, his most memorable post-Marlins moment came in June 2009, when he dropped a potential game-ending pop fly, allowing the Yankees to score two runs and win the interleague Subway Series game. He retired after a failed tryout with the Phillies in 2011. After his playing career, Castillo was falsely accused of being part of a drug trafficking ring in the Dominican Republic and was one of the coaches on the World Team in the 2017 MLB Futures Game.

Shortstops

Honorable Mentions – Walt Weiss joined Barberie as the double play combination in the team’s first game. The former Rookie of the Year and World Series champion with the Athletics spent only one season with the Marlins, batting .266 with 39 RBIs in a career-high 158 games. Weiss joined the other expansion team, the Rockies, the following year. He was an All-Star in 1998 with the Braves and helped Atlanta reach the World Series the next year.

Kurt Abbott spent four years in the Florida infield (1994-97), primarily at shortstop before spending his final season at second base during the team’s championship campaign. He batted .257 with 343 hits, 40 home runs and 156 RBIs in 424 games and had five hits during eight playoff contests coming off the bench in 1997. Abbott also played for the Athletics, Rockies, Mets and Braves before retiring in 2001.

Jose Reyes played for the franchise during its first season in Miami in 2012. A batting champion the previous year with the Mets, he batted .287 with 86 runs, 184 hits, 11 home runs, 57 runs batted in and 40 stolen bases. The 2002 MLB Futures Game participant also led the league in double plays. Reyes spent time with the Blue Jays and Rockies before returning to the Mets, ending his career in 2018.

5. Adeiny Hechavarria – He began his career in Toronto before being sent to Miami in the trade that moved Reyes to the Blue Jays. Hechavarria spent five seasons with the Marlins (2013-17) and was a solid starter in four of them, batting .255 with 541 hits and 168 RBIs in 599 games. He bounced around with the Rays, Pirates, Yankees, Mets and Braves, last playing in the majors with Atlanta in 2020. Hechavarria spent two seasons in Japan and had a failed tryout with the Braves in 2023 before signing with the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League.

4. Miguel Rojas – He was a solid hitter and a better fielder during his eight-year run in South Florida (2015-22). Rojas batted .265 with 293 runs, 707 hits, 136 doubles, 38 home runs and 260 RBIs in 870 games, and he led the league in putouts and fielding percentage by a shortstop in 2022. His best season was 2018, when he set career highs with 11 homers and 53 runs batted in. Rojas appeared in five games with the Marlins during the 2020 playoffs, totaling three hits, two runs and one home run. In 2023, he was traded back to the Dodgers, where he began his career nearly a decade prior.

3. Alex Gonzalez – One of the longest-tenured Marlins hitters, he spent eight seasons with the franchise (1998-2005). After a brief call-up, Gonzalez came up for good in 1999, earning his only All-Star selection after setting career highs with a .277 average, 81 runs and 155 hits to go with 14 home runs and 59 runs batted in.

“Sea Bass” is tied for fourth in franchise history in doubles (183) and ranks sixth in games (896), seventh in hits (788), ninth in total bases (1,260) and tenth in RBIs (375) to go along with 363 runs and 81 home runs. In 17 playoff games, he had six runs, 10 hits, four doubles, one home run and six RBIs.

Gonzalez had two big moments during the 2003 World Series against the Yankees. His home run in the 12th inning of Game 4 won the contest and tied the series. The following night, he had an RBI double in the second inning and scored on pitcher Brad Penny‘s two-run single. The Marlins won the game and clinched their second title two days later.

Gonzalez had stints with Boston, Cincinnati, Toronto, Atlanta and Milwaukee before ending his 16-year career in 2014 with Detroit. He won a fielding title in 2006 with the Red Sox.

2. Edgar Renteria – He spent the first three years of a 16-year career with the Marlins (1996-98). Renteria finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting after batting .309 in 1996 and two years later, he made his only All-Star team in Florida when he batted .282 and stole a career-best 41 bases. However, it was what he did in that middle season that gave him a spot in Marlins lore forever.

While Renteria’s time in Florida lasted less than half as long as Gonzalez’s, Renteria is the holder of possibly the most iconic moment in franchise history. After batting .277 with 90 runs, 171 hits, 52 RBIs and 32 steals in the regular season, he struggled during the first two rounds of the playoffs. However, in the World Series against Cleveland, Renteria had nine hits and drove in three runs. No Marlins moment was bigger than Renteria’s two-out, bases-loaded single to center field in the 11th inning of Game 7, scoring Craig Counsell with the winning run of a 3-2 victory and giving Florida its first championship.

Renteria appeared in plenty of other playoff games with the Cardinals and Red Sox, and he was the MVP of the Giants’ victory over the Rangers in the 2010 World Series. However, being directly responsible for the first title in franchise history is enough of an intangible to boost him into this spot.

1. Hanley Ramirez – The native of the Dominican Republic played in the 2005 MLB Futures Game then played two games with the Red Sox at the end of the season. The Marlins were having one of their many cost-cutting overreactions, so they sent prized starter Josh Beckett and slugging third baseman Mike Lowell to Boston with Ramirez being the centerpiece of Florida’s return haul.

Ramirez won the Rookie of the Year Award the following season after batting .292 with 185 hits, 46 doubles, 11 triples, 17 home runs, 59 RBIs and 51 stolen bases and 119 runs scored, his first of four straight seasons over 100. During his seven-year run in South Florida (2006-12), Ramirez was selected to three All-Star Games, earned two silver sluggers and topped 150 or more hits five times and smack 20 or more homers four times.

After leading the league with 125 runs, setting a career-high with 33 home runs and becoming just the second Marlins player in the 30-30 club in 2008, “Han-Ram” had his best season the following year, when he won the batting title with a .342 mark (second-best in team history) and added 101 runs, 197 hits, 24 home runs, 106 RBIs and 27 steals and finished second in the MVP voting. He also scored a team-record 125 runs in consecutive seasons, and his 2007 campaign included second-best totals of 212 hits and 359 total bases.

Overall, Ramirez ranks second in franchise history in runs (666), hits (1,103), doubles (232), steals (230) and total bases (1,831), and he is the only Marlins player to top 300 four times in his career. He is third in batting average (.300), home runs (148), tied for third in on-base percentage (.374), fourth in triples (26), fifth in games (943) and RBIs (482) and sixth in slugging percentage (.499).

In 2012, the Marlins moved to Miami, acquired Jose Reyes and moved Ramirez to third base. He was sent to the Dodgers at the trade deadline and signed back with the Red Sox in 2014. Ramirez became more of a contact hitter with Los Angeles and his power returned for most of his four-year run in Boston. “Ham-Ram” had playoff success with both clubs before finishing his career with the Indians in 2019.

Upcoming Stories

Miami Marlins Catchers and Managers
Miami Marlins First and Third Basemen
Miami Marlins Second Basemen and Shortstops
Miami Marlins Outfielders – coming soon
Miami Marlins Pitchers – coming soon

Previous Series

A look back at the Los Angeles Dodgers

A look back at the Los Angeles Angels

Los Angeles Angels Catchers and Managers
Los Angeles Angels First and Third Basemen and Designated Hitters
Los Angeles Angels Second Basemen and Shortstops
Los Angeles Angels Outfielders
Los Angeles Angels Pitchers

A look back at the Kansas City Royals

Kansas City Royals Catchers and Managers
Kansas City Royals First and Third Basemen and Designated Hitters
Kansas City Royals Second Basemen and Shortstops
Kansas City Royals Outfielders
Kansas City Royals Pitchers

A look back at the Houston Astros

Houston Astros Catchers and Managers
Houston Astros First and Third Basemen and Designated Hitters
Houston Astros Second Basemen and Shortstops
Houston Astros Outfielders
Houston Astros Pitchers

A look back at the Detroit Tigers

Detroit Tigers Catchers and Managers
Detroit Tigers First and Third Basemen and Designated Hitters
Detroit Tigers Second Basemen and Shortstops
Detroit Tigers Outfielders
Detroit Tigers Pitchers

A look back at the Colorado Rockies

Colorado Rockies Catchers and Managers
Colorado Rockies First and Third Basemen
Colorado Rockies Second Basemen and Shortstops
Colorado Rockies Outfielders
Colorado Rockies Pitchers

A look back at the Cleveland Guardians

Cleveland Guardians Catchers and Managers
Cleveland Guardians First and Third Basemen and Designated Hitters
Cleveland Guardians Second Basemen and Shortstops
Cleveland Guardians Outfielders
Cleveland Guardians Pitchers

A look back at the Cincinnati Reds

A look back at the Chicago White Sox

Chicago Cubs Catchers and Managers
Chicago Cubs First and Third Basemen
Chicago Cubs Second Basemen and Shortstops
Chicago Cubs Outfielders
Chicago Cubs Pitchers

A look back at the Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox Catchers and Managers
Boston Red Sox First and Third Basemen
Boston Red Sox Second Basemen and Shortstops
Boston Red Sox Outfielders and Designated Hitters
Boston Red Sox Pitchers

A look back at the Baltimore Orioles

Baltimore Orioles Catchers and Managers
Baltimore Orioles First and Third Basemen
Baltimore Orioles Second Basemen and Shortstops
Baltimore Orioles Outfielders and Designated Hitters
Baltimore Orioles Pitchers

A look back at the Atlanta Braves

Atlanta Braves Catchers and Managers
Atlanta Braves First and Third Basemen
Atlanta Braves Second Basemen and Shortstops
Atlanta Braves Outfielders
Atlanta Braves Pitchers

A look back at the Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona Diamondbacks Catchers and Managers
Arizona Diamondbacks First and Third Basemen
Arizona Diamondbacks Second Basemen and Shortstops
Arizona Diamondbacks Outfielders
Arizona Diamondbacks Pitchers

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