Bruce Aven 1999: 112 OPS+
Bruce Aven was a five-foot-nine, 180 lb. righty-hitting outfielder from Orange, TX. Initially chosen in the 30th round of the 1994 MLB Amateur Entry Draft by the Cleveland Indians, he made his major league debut with them three years later. In 13 contests with the Tribe that year, he was four-for-19 with two RBI.
The 1998 campaign for Aven was spent mostly on the sideline, as he recovered from season-ending Tommy John surgery in June. In five games, he was three-for-15 with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons in the International League. During Aven’s rehab, the Indians waived him, and the Florida Marlins took him on October 28.
1999 would see Aven perform well in his only season for the Marlins. His 137 games played would be more than he accrued in his other four major league seasons, with the Indians, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Los Angeles Dodgers, and also ranked third on the team. Aven hit .289/.370/.444 for Florida, with a dozen homers and a team-second 70 RBI.
On May 7, Aven put in his most impactful performance of the season in a single plate appearance. Trailing the Dodgers, 3-2 in the top of the seventh inning, Aven hit a pinch-grand slam to set the eventual final score at 6-3. His resultant .390 WPA was his highest such mark of the season by a wide margin.
Aven appeared in all three outfield positions for the Marlins, but he was without a doubt his best in left, where he was worth 10 Zone Fielding Runs better than average, when his 546 innings at the position is pro-rated over a 1200 inning season. After the season ended, the Marlins sent Aven to the Pirates for Brant Brown.
Aven played 72 games with the Bucs, 30 for the Dodgers, and seven more where he started, with the Tribe in 2002. His 1999 for the Marlins was, without a doubt, the best season of his career.