Before the Marlins drafted Opening Day starter Jose Fernandez, the team went through a dry spell when it came to drafting pitchers in the first round. The Marlins released the last of those struggling pitching prospects last week, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America.
Chad James was released just five years after being the 18th overall pick for the Marlins in the 2009 draft. James, who the Marlins saw as the next Jon Lester, never found his footing in professional baseball, as he peaked at high Class A Florida State League the past two seasons.
James posted a 5.74 ERA and a 4.55 FIP in 53 1/3 innings in Low-A last season. While he did strikeout 9.62 hitters per nine innings, his walk rate and hits allowed hurt him a lot. This was concerning as he struggled after a demotion from High-A the two years before.
Chad James joins fellow first round pitching busts Brett Sinkbeil (19th overall, 2006), Chris Volstad (16th, 2005), Taylor Tankersley (27th, 2004) and Jeff Allison (16th, 2003 as major reasons why the Marlins were never able to make the next step, despite having young and talented teams between the 2006 and 2010 seasons.
At just 23-years old, it will be interesting to see if another team gives James another shot to find the arsenal that made him a prized first round pick. Even if they do, it’s unlikely at this point that we ever see what the Marlins and many scouts thought they saw in James when he was drafted in the first round.