A catching whiz with a cannon for an arm, Marrero was a classic example of the dictum "all field, no hit." After watching him gun down 60% of base stealers in his rookie year in 1998, St. Louis Cardinals
Manager Tony LaRussa
declared him the catcher of the future and handed him the starting job in 1999.
But regular playing time exposed the flaws in Marrero's huge, sweeping swing, and he only managed a depressing .192 average that season. Sidelined by thyroid cancer surgery and then a series of injuries the following year, Marrero spent his time reconstructing his swing, making it shorter and more compact. In 2001 he backed up Mike Matheny and displayed some improvement with his bat, upping his average to a respectable .269 while throwing out 30% of would-be base-thieves. (EPW)