Marlins’ Decade Top Ten Seasons: 2003 Luis Castillo


Here at Marlin Maniac, we (I) want to be like everyone else in the blogging business, but with more sabermetrics! Keeping in that trend, you don’t think I would pass off the opportunity to do a “decade’s best” list, do you?

Well, I almost did. But I figured it actually would be a cool idea to check out one “top ten of the decade” list: the top ten best Marlins player seasons of the decade. Here are the rules:

1. The decade spans from 2000-2009. That one should be fairly obvious.

2. Season quality was determined by Wins Above Replacement (WAR) from Rally’s Historical WAR Database. Definitions for the components of WAR can be found here. Basically, WAR encompasses hitting, pitching, and fielding components, including adjustments for positional value, and puts the number of runs in terms of wins above a replacement baseline. There will be more on replacement level and WAR in an upcoming Saber-Terms piece.

3. I’ll be rolling out each season in the top ten seasons a day at a time, starting today (Monday) and ending next Friday, five a week. We’ll start off at number 10, an appropriate season given the current Revisiting ’03 series.

Just to recap the top #10:

10. 2003 Luis Castillo

9. 2004 Carl Pavano

8. 2006 Hanley Ramirez

7. 2009 Josh Johnson

Luis Castillo (2003)


As I mentioned in the Revisiting ’03 series, the 2003 Florida Marlins were very balanced in talent. The team was headed by a pair of speedsters at the top of the lineup in Castillo and Juan Pierre. Castillo in particular, however, accumulated an excellent balanced season in terms of his WAR components. According to Rally’s data, Castillo’s .314/.381/.397 batting line in 676 PA (660 according to Rally) was worth 17 batting runs above average (counting GIDP and ROE runs). Castillo’s defensive play was also excellent, as he racked up 15 runs above average that year according to Total Zone, more than earning himself his first of three consecutive Gold Glove awards. Ironically enough, it was his baserunning that was his main downside. In large part because Castillo was successful in only 21 of his 40 stolen base attempts, he hurt the Marlins with his running. According to Baseball Prospectus, he was worth around five runs below average on steals alone.

Castillo had one of his best seasons with the bat in his career in 2003, and it was in large part thanks to his surprising power. Now, an adjusted ISO of .072 is nothing to get excited about offensively, it was the best ISO that Castillo put up in his career, fueled by a career high six home runs. Combine that with his excellent defense and you can see the value that Castillo brought for the World Series team. Despite being likely the best Marlin on that 2003 team, Castillo was definitely underrated as a contributor; he was not as flashy as Pierre on the bases and not as clearly effective offensively as cogs like Mike Lowell and Derrek Lee. Still, he gets the last laugh here, as Castillo shows up in the top ten Marlins seasons in this decade, and neither of the three other players mentioned do.

Tomorrow, we’ll roll out #9 on the list, an underrated Marlin who went on to have a spotty career since his top-ten season.