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Marlins’ Top 5 second basemen: Frisaro's take

@JoeFrisaro
April 7, 2020

No one loves a good debate quite like baseball fans, and with that in mind, we asked each of our beat reporters to rank the top five players by position in the history of their franchise, based on their career while playing for that club. These rankings are for fun

No one loves a good debate quite like baseball fans, and with that in mind, we asked each of our beat reporters to rank the top five players by position in the history of their franchise, based on their career while playing for that club. These rankings are for fun and debate purposes only … if you don’t agree with the order, participate in the Twitter poll to vote for your favorite at this position.

Here is Joe Frisaro’s ranking of the top 5 second basemen in Marlins history. Next week: third basemen.

• Marlins All-Time Around the Horn Team: C | 1B

1) Luis Castillo, 1996-2005
Key fact: Three-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove Award winner with Marlins

Not only does Castillo top the list, he’s also one of the best players in franchise history. Castillo led the league in stolen bases in 2000 (62) and '02 (48). He was an All-Star in '02, '03 and '05, and he was the National League Gold Glove Award-winning second baseman from '03-05.

Castillo holds the franchise record for a hitting streak, at 35 games, which lasted from May 8-June 21, 2002. At the time the hitting streak ended, it was the longest in the Majors since Hall of Famer Paul Molitor recorded a hit in 39 straight games in 1987. A switch-hitter, Castillo also was a catalyst on the '03 World Series championship team, hitting .314 with 99 runs scored that season.

The Marlins honored Castillo with a bobblehead night in 2016. On that day, he was asked about the '03 team that rallied from 10 games under .500 -- they were 19-29 on May 22 -- to win it all.

“We had good talent,” Castillo said in 2016. “We fought together. That's very important, when you believe and you fight. We had a great manager. We had a lot of young guys. I know a lot of people didn't believe. But we kept going and played hard, and we won the World Series.”

Castillo holds the Marlins’ records for games (1,128), hits (1,273), runs (675), singles (1,081), triples (42) and stolen bases (281).

2) Dan Uggla, 2006-10
Key fact: Hit 30-plus homers in four straight seasons with Marlins

The 2005 Winter Meetings in Dallas were eventful for the Marlins, because the organization had either traded or was about to trade much of the core of its '03 World Series championship team.

Still, the Marlins didn’t leave the Lone Star State empty handed, because in the MLB Phase of the Rule 5 Draft, they selected Uggla from the D-backs' system. For $50,000, the team made one of its best all-time investments.

Uggla spent five seasons with the Marlins, and he was a two-time All-Star and a Silver Slugger Award winner in 2010. Uggla’s 154 home runs are second all-time in franchise history to Giancarlo Stanton’s 267.

In 2006, Uggla finished third in NL Rookie of the Year Award voting behind teammate Hanley Ramirez and Ryan Zimmerman of the Nationals. Uggla hit 27 homers as a rookie, and he launched 30-plus big flies each season from '07-10.

Defensively, Uggla had his limitations, but the Marlins did some savvy scouting on him. They actually factored into their evaluations that former infield coach Perry Hill, now with the Mariners, would get the most out of Uggla in the field. In 2010, Uggla's final season with the Marlins, he hit .287/.369/.508 with 31 home runs and 105 RBIs. He was traded to the Braves for Omar Infante and Mike Dunn after that season.

3) Dee Gordon, 2015-17
Key fact: Won NL batting title, Gold Glove Award, Silver Slugger Award in 2015

The 2015 Marlins season was a disappointment. But Gordon delivered one of the greatest individual performances in franchise history. The speedster was the NL batting champion (.333), and he led the Majors in hits (205) and stolen bases (58). Capping his big year, Gordon was honored with the Gold Glove Award and the Silver Slugger Award.

The son of former MLB reliever Tom “Flash” Gordon, Dee spent three seasons with the Marlins, providing game-changing speed and strong defense.

"When we traded for him, we were hoping to get that energy and that table-setter at the top of our lineup,” Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said in November 2015. “Defensively, we always felt like, you put him with [former infield coach] Perry Hill, he had a chance to win a Gold Glove with his quickness, his lateral movement, his range. We felt like it was always in reach for him to win a Gold Glove."

In 2016, Gordon’s fortunes took a downward turn, as he was suspended 80 games for violating MLB's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. In 79 games, Gordon hit just .268 with 30 stolen bases. In late September, however, he provided perhaps the most emotional moment in Marlins history. The day after All-Star pitcher José Fernández was killed in a boating accident, a distraught Gordon hit a leadoff home run off the Mets' Bartolo Colon and cried while circling the bases.

Gordon rebounded with a strong 2017, hitting .308 with 114 runs scored, and he led the Majors with 60 steals. He was traded after the season to the Mariners in a deal that included right-hander Nick Neidert, ranked by MLB Pipeline as Miami’s No. 10 prospect.

4) Derek Dietrich, 2013-18
Key fact: His 93 hit-by-pitches are a franchise record

No one can say Dietrich wasn’t willing to take one for the team. In his six seasons with the Marlins, Dietrich was hit by pitches 93 times. Next on the list is Alex Gonzalez (51). In 2016, Dietrich was plunked 24 times, the most in the NL. But Dietrich’s claim to fame in Miami certainly extends beyond this stat. The left-handed-hitting utility man played all over the diamond, appearing in 192 games at second base for the Marlins, and he was even more valuable at the plate. Dietrich belted 60 home runs and had 204 RBIs in his Marlins tenure, with a slash line of .254/.335/.422.

5) Starlin Castro, 2018-19
Key fact: Set personal high of 22 home runs in 2019

Being an established veteran on a team building for the future takes plenty of patience and perseverance. From 2018-19, Castro was up to the task. Acquired from the Yankees as part of the Stanton trade, the second baseman was asked to be leader, and he set a daily example on a young team. He also produced, especially last year, rebounding from a slow start to finish with a .270 batting average, while establishing personal highs with 22 home runs and 86 RBIs. He also played in all 162 games. In two seasons with Miami, he has played in 316 games with 34 homers, 140 RBIs and a slash line of .274/.314/.418.

Honorable mentions
Craig Counsell played in parts of three seasons with the Marlins, and he appeared in 195 regular-season games. But his place is franchise history is defined by scoring the game-winning run on Edgar Renteria's walk-off single in the 11th inning of Game 7 of the 1997 World Series.

Omar Infante was with the Marlins from 2011-12, coming to the team from Atlanta in the Uggla trade. In '11, Infante played in 148 games and hit .276 with seven homers and 49 RBIs. In '12, the first year at Marlins Park, Infante was the first Miami player to homer in the new ballpark.

From 2012-15, Donovan Solano was a solid utility player with the Marlins, playing in 361 games and hitting .257.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.