Today’s group of Marlins includes two members of the inaugural unit, along with other bit-part players from most eras.
In Chapter 34, we have another six players who came in below replacement level and had between 75 and 249 batters faced/plate appearances.
417. Gorkys Hernández
Gorkys Hernández is a six-foot-one right-handed outfielder from Guiria, Venezuela. In 2005, he signed his first professional deal with the Detroit Tigers, at the age of 17.
Prior to getting to the majors, Hernández was traded on two separate occasions, to the Atlanta Braves after the 2007 season and to the Pittsburgh Pirates in mid-2009. It was with the Bucs that he made his major league debut in 2012, going 2-for-24 in 25 appearances, mostly as a pinch hitter or late-inning defensive replacement. At the trade deadline, Pittsburgh traded Hernández to the Marlins for Kyle Kaminska and Gaby Sanchez.
Hernández played in 45 of Miami’s final 59 games of that season, starting in 31 of them. In 280 innings in the outfield (all but 1⁄3 of an inning in center), Hernández made 83 putouts and one assist without an error. At the plate, he slashed .212/.288/.341 with three home runs and 11 RBI. He drew a dozen walks and struck out 37 times in 147 plate appearances, scoring 16 times and collecting two doubles and three triples.
Hernández went three-for-three for the Marlins on October 1, drawing a walk and collecting a triple in a 3-2 win over the New York Mets. After spending the first four months of the 2013 season with the Marlins Triple-A outfit, the New Orleans Zephyrs, Miami traded him to the Kansas City Royals for Alex McClure.
416. Greg Briley
Left-handed hitting, righty throwing outfielder Greg Braley is a five-foot-nine native of Greenville, North Carolina. In 1986, the Seattle Mariners spent a first round choice on him, 12th overall off the board from North Carolina State University.
Briley debuted in the majors for the M’s in 1988, and spent the majority of the following five campaigns in the Emerald City. In 478 contests, he slashed .260/.317/.383 with 26 homers and 123 RBI. Half of those long-balls came in 1989, when he slugged a career best 13. He also stole 59 bases in 82 attempts for the Mariners.
Seattle released Briley with a week remaining in Spring Training 1993, just as the Marlins were about to get their inaugural season underway. The Marlins signed him on March 31.
Briley would rank sixth on the Marlins with 120 games appeared in through their first season. He only slashed out a .194/.250/.282 line with three homers and a dozen RBI. In 185 plate appearances, he hit six doubles, scored 17 runs, walked 12 times, and struck out 42 times. He stole six bases in eight attempts. Defensively, Briley made 71 putouts and two assists in 288 1⁄3 outfield innings with one error.
415. Junior Félix
Junior Félix is a switch-hitting right-handed throwing outfielder from Laguna Salada, Dominican Republic. In 1985, he signed on with the Toronto Blue Jays at the age of 17. In 1987, he led the South Atlantic League with nine triples and ranked fourth with 64 stolen bases.
The solid counting stats helped Félix enter the 1988 campaign as the second ranked prospect in the Blue Jays system. In 1989, he entered the majors with the north-of-the-border outfit, and played in 237 games over the next two seasons. He slashed .261/.322/.419 with 24 jacks and 111 RBI, stealing 31 bases but getting caught 20 times. He followed that with another pair of seasons for the California Angels, slashing .257/.299/.364 in 205 contests.
The Marlins collected Félix in the expansion draft, with the 59th choice off the Angels. The then-25-year-old played in 57 of Florida’s first 71 games, concluding with his release in late-June. In 225 plate appearances, he went 51-for-215 with 11 doubles, a triple, and seven home runs with 22 RBI. He drew 10 walks and struck out 50 times, scoring 25 runs and stealing two-of-three bases attempted.
On June 12, Félix put together his best game of the season, going two-for-two with a walk, a triple, a homer, and three RBI. Through the season, he made 91 putouts and three assists in 437 2⁄3 innings in the outfield, but also made six errors for an unwieldy .940 fielding percentage.
Félix reemerged on the major league stage in 1994 with the Detroit Tigers, hitting .306 in 86 games, with 13 homers and 49 RBI. Although it was arguably his best season since his rookie year, it was also his last major league season. He spent 1995 with the Montreal Expos in their minor league system, but didn’t get back to the big show.
414. John Riedling
Right-handed pitcher John Riedling was a 5-foot-11 native of Fort Lauderdale, Florida when the Cincinnati Reds took him in the 22nd round of the 1994 draft. Six seasons later, he finally got his chance in the majors.
From 2000 through 2004, Riedling pitched 229 games for the Reds, including eight starts in 2003. He struck out 182 batters in 274 1⁄3 innings, and went 13-12 with a 4.13 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP. Cincinnati granted his free agency just before Christmas in 2004.
The Marlins signed Riedling on January 6, 2005, and although he put up a 4-1 record, he also allowed 34 hits and 13 walks for 23 runs in 27 2⁄3 innings for a 7.16 ERA. His 4.79 FiP points out that maybe he wasn’t as bad as all that, but he only collected 16 strikeouts and threw six wild pitches during that period. He went 0-for-2 from the plate and made eight fielding plays without an error. Florida released him after the season.
413. Brant Brown
Brant Brown was a third round choice of the Chicago Cubs in 1992 out of California State University. A left-handed first baseman / outfielder, Brown is a native of Porterville, California.
Brown entered 1993 as the Cubs ninth-ranked prospect, then led the Florida State League with a .342 batting average while playing for the Daytona Cubs. He then entered 1994 as their second-ranked prospect according to Baseball America.
Brown debuted with the Cubs in 1996, and hit .278/.331/.483 in 199 contests for them over the next three seasons. He clubbed 24 homers with 72 RBI during that time. In 130 games in 1999 for the Pittsburgh Pirates, he hit a disappointing .232/.283/.449 with 16 homers and 58 RBI. After the season, the Bucs traded Brown to the Marlins for Bruce Aven.
Brown played in 41 of Florida’s first 57 games in 2000. In 76 plate appearances, he went 14-for-73 with six doubles and two homers with six RBI. He drew three walks and struck out 33 times. He made one error while playing in right field, making 12 clean plays in 63 outfield innings. In 34 2⁄3 frames at first base, he was perfect with 33 chances. Florida traded Brown to the Texas Rangers for Chuck Smith.
Brown was immediately traded by Texas back to the Cubs for Dave Martinez, and played another 54 games in the Windy City. After slashing an anemic .157/.248/.270 line, he didn’t again get back to the major leagues.
412. Chris Leroux
Chris Leroux is a six-foot-six right-handed pitcher from Montreal. A left-handed hitter, Leroux was chosen by the Marlins in the seventh round of the 2005 draft out of Winthrop University.
While posting a 2.70 ERA in 60 innings for the Double-A Jacksonville Suns in 2009, the Marlins called Leroux up on three separate occasions through the season. He made five appearances in relief, posting a 10.80 ERA in 6 2⁄3 innings.
Leroux started the 2010 season with the Marlins at the major league level, and pitched in 14 of their first 39 contests of the season. He put up better numbers the second time around, although nothing world-breaking. He increased his strike percentage from 59 percent to 60 percent, and dropped his ERA to 6.60 in 15 innings of work.
Overall, Leroux struck out 20 in 24 2⁄3 innings for the Marlins, allowing an ERA of 8.03 and a 2.03 WHIP over parts of two seasons. On September 10, the Pirates claimed him from the Marlins off waivers.
Leroux went on to pitch 45 innings for the Pirates over four seasons, and two more in 2014 with the New York Yankees. He’s been a free agent since late-2016.