Florida / Miami Marlins History: The “J” Team
In Florida and Miami Marlins history, there have been a total of 17 players to take the field with a last name beginning with “J.”
As with some other chapters of the alphabet project, I had to use creative license with such a tiny roster. One small caveat to the proceedings is that I included the last names that begin with the letter “I.” There were only two, and you can hardly play a baseball game with two players (unless it’s a video game).
With only 10 position players to choose from, nearly everyone got into the lineup. That leaves a nine man pitching staff, and only two of those pitchers had even as many as one start. I had to go to a four-man rotation, using pitchers who averaged more than an inning per appearance (excepting Todd Jones, who was clearly a closer).
Charles Johnson starts behind the plate for the “J” team. In two stints with the Florida Marlins, Johnson appeared in 587 games, hitting .241/.324/.418 with 75 long balls and 277 RBI. Defensively, Johnson cut down nearly half of base-stealers in his first run with the team, winning four Gold Gloves in his first four full major league seasons. He was also a two-time All Star for the Marlins.
At first base, slugger Mike Jacobs provides a quality power bat and a questionable glove. From 2006 through 2008, Jacobs hit .258/.314/.483 with 69 homers and 224 RBI in 391 games. He was also somehow worth minus-2.9 WAR during his time with the team, due to his slipshod defensive work.
Filling in at second is Omar Infante, one of the two non-J’s on the club. Despite his status as the Florida Marlins last regular second baseman and the first of the Miami Marlins era, Infante only remained with the club for a season-and-a-half. In 233 games, Infante hit .280/.314/.404 with 15 round-trippers and 82 RBI, with 14 stolen bases in 17 attempts.
At third base, Chris Johnson spent the final season of his eight-year major league career with the 2016 Miami Marlins. In 113 games, he hit .222/.281/.329, adding five home runs and 24 RBI.
None of the players eligible for the “J” team ever appeared even once at shortstop, so I went with one of the more athletic outfielders on the team, Ryan Jackson. In 111 games for the 1998 Florida Marlins, Jackson hit .250/.305/.373 with five homers and 31 RBI for the 54-108 club.
In left field, I used Reed Johnson, veteran of the 2014 Miami Marlins. In 113 games for them that year, he hit .235/.266/.348 with two homers and 25 RBI. It was a far cry from his Chicago Cubs-era production, when he put together a .296/.350/.436 line over four years.
Center field is manned by lefty-batter Jacque Jones, who joined the Florida Marlins in May 2008 after getting released by the Detroit Tigers. Jones played in 18 games for the Marlins, going four-for-37 from the plate.
In right field, then-recent ex-Buc Garrett Jones. In 2014, he played in 146 games for the Miami Marlins, hitting .246/.309/.411 with 15 homers and 53 RBI.
With the most plate appearances out of the two remaining candidates for the team, Nick Johnson qualifies as our designated hitter. Johnson appeared in 35 games for the 2009 Florida Marlins through the second half of the season, hitting .279/.477/.413. Notice the lopsided slash line? Johnson drew 36 walks in 150 plate appearances — a nearly-unfathomable 24 percent base-on-balls rate. He also struck out only 18 times.
Catcher Ryan Jorgenson, 0-for-4 in a short look for the 2005 Florida Marlins, comprises the entire bench.
Josh Johnson is the no-brainer “ace” of the staff. The right-hander compiled a 56-37 record in eight seasons for the Marlins from 2005 through 2012, racking up a 3.15 ERA, 832 K’s in 916 2/3 innings, and holding opponents to a 1.233 WHIP over 144 starts and 10 relief appearances. Johnson made two All Star appearances for the Florida Marlins, in 2009 and 2010.
The only other pitcher with any starts of which to speak is Hansel Izquierdo, the second of the two “I” team interlopers. Izquierdo started twice for the 2002 Florida Marlins, appearing 18 times out of the bullpen. He struck out 20 in 29 2/3 innings, but also walked 21 during that time. That resulted in an unsightly 1.820 WHIP despite a 2-0 record.
John Johnstone gets his turn in the rotation due to his averaging nearly 1 1/3 innings per appearance. This, despite his never starting a game over 234 major league appearances through his eight season major league career. Johnstone appeared in 28 games for the Florida Marlins from 1993 through 1995, striking out 31 in 36 2/3 innings and racking up a 1.936 WHIP.
Edwin Jackson rounds out the four-man unit. The Miami Marlins were the 10th team to employ Jackson when he joined the club in 2016, and he would go on to sign with four other clubs through the 2019 campaign. For Miami, he pitched 10 2/3 innings and went 0-1 with a 5.91 ERA.
Todd Jones is the “J” team’s ninth-inning guy. Florida’s 2005 closer, Jones saved 40 games for Florida that season at the age of 37, posting a 2.10 ERA and a career-best 1.027 WHIP in 73 innings of work.
Left-hander Dan Jennings spent from 2012 through 2014 with the Miami Marlins, posting a 2.43 ERA over 100 innings of work. He struck out 84 and allowed 1.460 WHIP.
Better known for his time with the Texas Rangers, Mike Jeffcoat joined the 1994 Florida Marlins for four games, pitching 2 2/3 innings and giving up three runs.
Hunter Jones pitched 1 2/3 innings over the course of three games for the 2010 Florida Marlins. He struck out three and allowed only a walk.
Jorge Julio pitched in 10 contests for the 2007 Florida Marlins, seven seasons into his nine-season major league career. He gave up 14 runs on 18 hits and 11 walks in 9 1/3 innings.
World Series Impact
As Florida’s starting catcher for the 1997 World Series Championship run, Charles Johnson caught 124 games and clubbed 19 homers with 63 RBI. He slashed .250/.347/.454, threw out 47 percent of base stealers, and earned his first career All Star invitation while posting a career-best 4.4 bWAR. He went 14-for-53 in the postseason, with a pair of home runs and 10 RBI in 16 games.
Miami’s 36th round pick a year ago, corner infielder Julian Infante hit .231 and drew 20 walks in 131 plate appearances between the Short-season-A Batavia Muckdogs in the New York-Penn League and the GCL Marlins in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League.
The Marlins sixth round pick in 2019, Dallas Baptist product MD Johnson appeared in 15 games in relief for the Muckdogs, posting a 4.26 ERA and striking out 22 in 19 innings.
More from Marlins All-Time Lists
- The top 5 starting pitcher seasons in Miami Marlins history
- Miami Marlins: The best general manager in team history
- Marlins A to Z: The “H” Team
- Marlins A Through Z: The “G” Team
- Marlins A through Z: The “F” Team
Taken in the second round in 2018, shortstop Osiris Johnson spent the 2019 season on the injured list with a right-tibial stress fracture. He should be good to go whenever the minor leagues pick up again, and he’s still only 19-years-old.
Lefty-batting outfielder Troy Johnston was taken in the 17th round of the 2019 draft out of Gonzaga. In 59 games for Batavia, he hit .277/.373/.399 with three home runs and 35 RBI. He also drew 29 walks in 253 plate appearances.
Maybe the future “J” team would fare better than the current “best we can do.” Who knows? Anyway, thanks for reading.