Miami Marlins All-Time Top 30, No. 28: Ricky Nolasco
In honor of the Miami Marlins 30th anniversary, it’s time to count down the top 30 players in franchise history. This week, at No. 28, is Ricky Nolasco.
They can’t all be postseason heroes, Miami Marlins fans.
Some players … some players are just kinda there.
For the first two weeks of my all-time Top 30 countdown of Miami Marlins greats in honor of the 30th anniversary season, fan favorites have been the rage. On straight popularity, Livan Hernandez (No. 30) and Pudge Rodriguez (No. 29) might both crack the Top 10 if you’re talking to a Miami fan old enough to remember the Macarena being popular. Both won championships. Both also spent very little actual time in a Marlins uniform.
Those are two things that cannot be said of Ricky Nolasco, number 28 on this Marlins all-time list, and the king of the franchise pitching leaderboard.
Wins? Ricky, at 81. Strikeouts? Ricky, at 1001. Innings pitched? Ricky again, at 1225.2 frames thrown. Leading an MLB franchise in so many categories is an immense accomplishment and, without question, Nolasco is remembered warmly in the hearts of many a Marlins fan.
There’s actually a pretty good case to be made that there might be a more polarizing name on this list when all is said and done. That career wins number? Lowest total in the majors. Strikeouts? Only Jorge De La Rosa of the Colorado Rockies has fewer. And that’s without even getting into the qualitative stats. In terms of career WAR from a Marlins pitcher, Nolasco is outside the top eight. In terms of adjusted ERA, he’s tied for 10th.
Most damning of all? Nolasco is outside the top 50 Marlins pitchers in Win Probability Added.
I include the link, because I had to read that three times to believe it. Put more simply though, if you asked the average Marlins fan to name the best pitchers in franchise history, none of them are giving you a top 5 featuring Nolasco. Many might fail to put him in their top 10.
The thing is, to quote from Hardball, “sometimes the most important thing in life is showing up.”
Marlins fans should be, and were, blown away by Nolasco’s ability to do just that. The man spent eight seasons in a Marlins uniform. Eight. This was for a team that has historically not held on to its players. A team that has had a ton of excellent pitching, but from pitchers who were either there far too briefly or dealt with frequent injuries. Availability is a skill too, and it might have been Nolasco’s best.
Nolasco used that skill to stand apart from many more talented names on Miami’s career leaderboards. He was reliably present, always available to eat up innings and relatively keep the team in games. A feat that it is definitely worthy of inclusion on the Marlins all-time Top 30 list.
Here’s to you, Ricky.
Then again, here’s to seeing another Marlins pitcher move ahead of you before too long.