Best Marlins Player - 2009
No, Cantu isn't the most talented player, and he's not going to put up the best numbers. He's not showy, and he's damned sure not pretty. Cantu's just clutch. And guts. Last season, Cantu rapped so many big hits in late innings that a lot of Marlins fans started calling him "Can-do." Most of them probably didn't know he'd already earned that nickname in Class A ball. You want that guy in your lineup. He's championship-caliber. But the 27-year-old Cantu, conceived in Mexico and born in Texas, has had an up-and-down career. It went up in his 117-RBI breakout season in 2005 at Tampa Bay when he was voted MVP of the then-Devil Rays. The next year was dismal, though, and the guy was drummed all the way back to the minors. That's where the Marlins — always so brilliant at picking up great players on the cheap — found him. He's in his prime now, hardened by the game, humbled by it, and very well may be ready to help lead a team to the promised land.