#31: Marcus Giles

See the 44 Greatest Atlanta Braves here.

Righthanded Hitting, Righthanded Throwing Second Baseman
Seasons With Braves: 2001-06
Stats With Braves: .285 .361 .448, 72 HR, 294 RBI, 416 RS

My favorite player had a bad year, but to put it in perspective, it would have been a decent year for Hubbard or Millan and a career year for Lemke. Marcus is — by far — the best career offensive second baseman in a Braves uniform since the team moved to Atlanta, probably the best since Bobby Lowe (not counting Hornsby’s one year). And he’s a pretty good fielder, too.

Marcus was a 53rd round pick (the entire draft only goes 50 rounds now) out of a California JUCO in 1996, signed as a draft-and-follow the next May. He’d been an outfielder, but the Braves couldn’t take anyone that short (5-8, right!) in the outfield and moved him to second base. He was — in retrospect — probably a little too advanced for the leagues he played in in the minors. In rookie ball, he hit .348. In 1998, in Macon, he hit .329/.433/.636 and was the Sally League MVP. In 1999, he was the MVP of the Carolina League, hitting .326/.393/.513 for Myrtle Beach. In Greenville, he hit “only” .290/.388/.472. There were a lot of questions about his defense, and given his size a move to first base seemed out of the question, but it was clear that Marcus could hit.

Giles split time between Richmond and Atlanta the next two years. On a couple of occasions I’ve written that what seems inexplicable now presumably made sense at the time. But I was there for 2001-02 and I still don’t understand what happened there. Quilvio Veras opened 2001 as the regular second baseman, but it soon became clear that his injuries had finally overcame him. But instead of sticking the hot prospect at second and leaving him alone, the Braves kept going back to Keith Lockhart for some reason. This was bad enough, if not too unusual. The 2002 season was simply stupid, as Lockhart was allowed to play in a career high 128 games while hitting .216/.282/.331. Marcus didn’t play well, but even .230/.315/.399 looks good next to Lockhart. Also, it’s hard to hit when you’re constantly being jerked around. There wasn’t even a defensive angle here: Marcus had been working with Glenn Hubbard and was already a better defensive player. During this period, this banner was usually up on an older version of this site:


Anyway, after 2002 Schuerholz finally took Bobby’s blankie away and, after trying during spring training to see if he could play Mark DeRosa instead, Bobby finally put Marcus in the lineup and left him alone. All Giles did was hit .316/.390/.526 and make the All-Star team. At the end of the season, I wondered if he might get better; it seemed to me that his ratio of doubles to homers (49:21) was unusual and that they might approach parity, making him a 30-HR guy. As it turns out, 2003 appears to have been a career year.

Marcus still hit .311 in 2004, despite missing 60 games to injury, but lost a lot of his power. In 2005, his average dropped a little but some of the power returned. Last season, he had the aforementioned bad year. Some of that is injuries, and it’s likely that Marcus has lost something that he’ll never quite recover. Some was probably bad luck.

Marcus Giles Statistics – Baseball-Reference.com

44 thoughts on “#31: Marcus Giles”

  1. I saw him hit a game-winning granny off Mike Hampton (back when he was actually good for COL – people forget how well he started the year in 2001). As I recall, he was sent to the minors as soon as the series ended. Here’s the game on retrosheet. What an unbelievable moment. The Rox had just taken the lead 2-1 in the top of the 8th. The Braves managed to load the bases in the bottom of the inning. Hampton is clearly tiring. This tiny little rookie who’s gone 0-3 comes up. BOOM! Goes yard to the opposite field (as I recall – correct me if I’m wrong). Everyone goes nuts, Rocker shakily nails down the save.

  2. Actually I think Giles was drafted out of high school, and then went to Junior College for one year while the Braves “followed,” and then he signed with the team.

    Of course, this type of move is no longer possible under the brand new CBA.

  3. Giles is one of my favorite players, and I think this year was an aberration. He has NEVER hit this bad ever in his life…and his defence was pretty bad this year too. I think a little time to clear his head and get fully healthy will see him put up 2003 like numbers.
    But all indications are that the ship has sailed on his Braves’ career and I am rather not pleased about it

  4. Word from Gotham Baseball’s Mark Healey is that the Mets might be a good fit for Gary Sheffield. Apparently the team’s COO Jeff Wilpon is quite fond of Sheff. There are several other reasons why this could work; check out Healey’s post.

    On a related note, Newsday reports that Brian Cashman has a Sheffield deal in place but has yet to pull the trigger. A trade is described as “inevitable,” with the Cubs, Phillies, Rangers, Indians, Padres, Giants, Braves, and Astros as possible suitors. The Cubs would have to find a new spot for Jacque Jones; perhaps he would be a component of the deal as the Yanks expressed interest in him last summer

  5. btw, i blogged today about kaz saitoh, the SECOND best pitcher in japan. he looks like a stud, but probably isn’t coming over to america until next season at the earliest. check it out.

  6. Re: Shef to the Braves.

    It would fit the JS one-year rental strategy, and our corner OF spots are certainly lacking. In a perfect world, he’d be a good stop-gap LF. But the money thing would have to be cleared up—as in the Yanks would have to eat a large chunk of that $13M. The other issue is, of course, Sheffield is a raging pain-in-the-ass. I kinda don’t see it.

    And a Shef trade from the Yanks to the Mets? Even less likely.

  7. Sheffield is noted for burning his bridges before he has to cross them. The only team he’s left on good terms has been the Braves, so maybe he’ll come back to maintain his perfect record.

  8. Kyle,

    Marcus hit that granny about 2 rows in front of me in right-center field. It was a GREAT moment. One of the most exciting I’ve ever seen in person.


    *Randy Johnson’s perfect game (not exciting for the Braves, but exciting to be there)
    *Julio’s 13-pitch AB (I think it was 13) against Farnsworth a couple years ago, ending in a game-winning double off the wall in right
    *Francoeur’s ML debut and HR in the back half of a double header before the AS Break last season (a double header that saw Horacio pitch a CG 3-hitter in the first game and saw Andruw hit a dramatic, go-ahead HR off of Novoa before Francoeur went deep)

  9. Nice symmetry Mac. Furcal fourteen and Giles thirteen. Really enjoying the write ups by everyone too.

  10. *Francoeur’s ML debut and HR in the back half of a double header before the AS Break last season (a double header that saw Horacio pitch a CG 3-hitter in the first game and saw Andruw hit a dramatic, go-ahead HR off of Novoa before Francoeur went deep)

    I was at that game too. (The second game of the doubleheader anyway, not the first.) He looked absolutely awful, even from the upper deck, in his first two at bats. Then a bomb in his third one.

  11. He signed an autograph for my daughter at ST in Orlando (hell, he signed 200) and we instantly became a Marcus Giles household. NIce guy.

    This may be a little high, though.

  12. Could ‘the Captain’ be next on the list?

    Derek Jeter is so great that he makes the list of top 44 players of teams he has never played for !

  13. flournoy,

    It was actually his 4th at-bat in which he homered, IIRC. 5-3, K, K, HR.

    I was at both games with a good friend who’s a Cubs fan. He won’t come down to Atlanta to watch the Cubs anymore. We won both of those games (earning a 4-game sweep), and the previous year, he had come down for the Julio-Farnsworth game I mentioned above. Good times for me.

  14. So who is missing on the list? Can’t say I am a big history guy, but by my count…
    top 5 is gonna be the big 3 and the jones boys. murph, aaron, javy, torre…
    drawing a blank after that!
    Has Stanton been done yet?

  15. When you compare Giles and Furcal’s minor league numbers its astonishing to think that after one very good season in high A that they put Furcal into the show. Giles seemingly had to excel at every level before they were convinced he was good. Prejudice against his size? I dunno. I look at 2003 and 2006 as outliers. I know that we’ll end up trading him this off season for some relief pitcher and that’ll kill me. The Braves should know that middle infielders that hit and defend like this don’t grow on trees.

    We won’t get Sheff. Way too much money, baggage, etc.

  16. @17
    Smoltz, Glavine, Maddux, Murph, Justice, Chipper, Andruw, Horner, Hank, Javy, Gallaraga?, Russ Ortiz (just kidding). Chris Reitsma, Dan Kolb, Jeff Francoeur………

  17. Marcus is my favorite player, but I’m trying to detach myself because I’ve come to the conclusion that he’s going to be traded in December. This means I’ll need a new shirt. McCann, maybe?

    BTW, I was at MNF last night. I guess the Vikings fans were kind of disappointed, but I had a blast :D.

  18. Hans is my favorite player; I was going to suggest a Hans jersey, but I figured that everybody would assume I was joking.

  19. knucksie hasn’t been mentioned but he’ll certainly be in the top 10. probably either the third or fourth best atlanta brave pitcher ever, depending on whether you like peak or durability better.

  20. By Captain I meant Bob Horner – that is how Skip used to refer to him sometimes when he came up to bat. He was my favorite Brave growing up, as in Little League, I was a rotund third sacker such as he. I didn’t even know Jeter was the captain of the Yankees, and it saddens me that you inferred I would include a loathsome chap such as Jeter on this list.

  21. My crack at Mac’s order from the top (remember, it’s mac’s system of total value but 3 with the Braves)
    1. Aaron
    2. Maddox
    3. Murphy
    4. Niekro
    5. Glavine
    6. Jones, Larry Wayne, Jr.
    7. Smoltz
    8. Jones, Andruw
    9. Horner
    10. Justice
    11. Lopez, Javy
    12. Torre

  22. The relative rankings of Javy and Andruw will be interesting. Andruw will get the nod for playing time and defense, and deservedly so. But Javy quietly put up an OPS as a Brave within 10 points of Andruw’s while playing catcher, and I think ultimately he’ll be underrated by fans.

    Not lobbying for him or anything, but has anyone else noticed that after this monster year Adam Laroche now has a career SLG only one point less than Andruw’s?

  23. “My favorite player….”

    I always had a strong feeling Marcus was your favorite player. Now I know for sure.

  24. Wow, I didn’t know that Colin. I would have to say Jones has the edge based on the position he plays compared to LaRoche.

    I really like LaRoche though. Get a LaRoche jersey!

  25. regarding #32, you have bob horner at 9th, and probably the greatest center fielder to ever play the game only 1 step in front of him? that cant be right. IMO, andruw has to be in the top 3.

  26. Oh yeah, AJ is much better than Laroche based not only on position but defense and longevity. I just thought it sorta interesting that Laroche is even that close in raw stats.

  27. Got you Ryan, except I don’t think we are counting today what they are going to do (or are reasonablly likely to do), but what they have done. In other words, Andruw steps in front of the train tomorrow, where does he rank? Basically, from there up, everybody else has either already booked a ticket to Cooperstown, or is within a very short (Smoltz may need next year, Chipper needs 2 to 3 good ones) distance of doing so. Chipper now is probably the third greatest third baseman of all time and 11 are in the Hall and the third best switch hitter and the other two are in the Hall. Nobody above there doesn’t make the trip.

    Horner probably will be a little lower (possibly at 11), but, I saw Lopez, Justice and Horner play and I never was overwhelmed by Justice and Lopez. Horner was, as a hitter, (for too brief of a time probably heavily because of his conditioning problems) an awesome monster. He had the shortest swing (and therefore an extraordinary contact rate for a power hitter) to make the ball fly out of anywhere that I have ever seen.

    And offensively Andruw is no where over second place (to Mays) and probably no better than Mays in the field. Thus, the greatest centerfielder? I don’t think so.

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