There have been many variations of All-Marlins teams put out by several publications over the years but this will be a new twist. This series of articles will list the best and the worst player to man the position during the Marlins’ history. As is the norm, there may be a debate on the qualifications of those chosen but that’s the fun of it. Factors in this list will include how long the player was a Marlin and it will not involve any stats accrued on other teams. Without further adieu, here is the first position that will be covered — first base.
Best – Derrek Lee:
This didn’t take much debating as the obvious choice was Derrek Lee. The rock at first base on the 2003 World Champions and a solid contributor over his six seasons with the Marlins. Things may have started out sub-par for Lee but his defense already shined even while his offense was developing. In 2000, Lee came into his own putting together a .281 average, and .368 on-base percentage while slugging 28 home runs and bringing home 70 runs. That season was just the beginning for Lee as he had stellar offense years the following three seasons as well. Coupled with his gold-glove defense, Lee was a huge factor in bringing a second trophy to South Florida in 2003.
Acquired for Kevin Brown during the first fire-sale in Marlins’ history, Lee started his Florida career as part of a dismal roster. Even at the young age of 22, Lee quickly developed into a leader and a strong clubhouse presence. In his six years combined with the Marlins, Lee hit .264 with 129 home runs and 417 runs batted in. If you remove his first two years, the numbers would be even more impressive.
After the 2003 World Series, the Marlins decided to move Lee who was about to become more expensive and try to build up once again with a new young first baseman in Hee Seop Choi. The lefty from South Korea only played half a year in Florida but was a fan favorite during his short stay. Following his time in Florida, Lee went on to have seven tremendous seasons with the Cubs but has always been remembered in South Florida
Worst – Mike Jacobs:
Picking the worst player at each position was far more difficult than the best and for first base, it took some brain storming. After thinking it over, Mike Jacobs was selected as the worst first baseman in Marlins’ history. When you take a quick glance at Jacobs’ stats, this may seem like an odd selection but the Marlins have had a track record of good first baseman. Jacobs just loses on the numbers game. This does not mean Jacobs was a terrible player for Florida but in comparison to the other men to play the position, he fell short overall.
With the Marlins over three years, Jacobs hit .258 with a .314 on-base percentage while slugging 69 home runs and knocking in 224. Decent power numbers but not good enough when you factor in his 325 strike outs over that time as opposed to only 112 walks. Jacobs failed to deliver in big moments too often as well as evident by his .224 average during “Late & Close” situations in 2008. That season was his best as a Marlin but the stats were often just padded without helping the team win ballgames.
Going against the likes of Lee, Carlos Delgado, and Greg Colbrunn to name a few made it difficult for Jacobs to avoid the label as the worst first baseman in Marlins’ history. After being traded by the Marlins to Kansas City for Juan “Leo Nunez” Carlos Oviedo, Jacobs has seen his career fall off. Most of Jacobs’ playing time has come in the minor league level since the 2009 season ended.