First-round selections haven’t always been a slam dunk for the Marlins.
In the last 18 seasons, only two of 25 first round choices have resulted in a big positive impact for the Miami Marlins. Aside from Christian Yelich and Jose Fernandez, you’d need to dig deep to find real solid contributions from the Marlins top picks.
Recent Hit or Miss (Mostly Miss)
Over the past five years, the Marlins haven’t seen much return on their investment – not yet, anyway. It’s too early to evaluate any impact from Connor Scott (2018), Trevor Rogers (2017), Brian Miller (2017), or Braxton Garrett (2016). Those players are still marinading at various levels of the minor leagues. Their 2015 selection, first baseman Josh Naylor, was traded to the San Diego Padres at the 2016 trading deadline. He made his major league debut just last week, and has gone four-for-21 in a small sample size.
The Marlins have never owned the number four overall pick, but have drafted above that position three times, including in 2014. That’s when they chose Tyler Kolek with the second choice off the board. Kolek was initially highly-regarded, ranked as high as 52nd in Baseball America’s 2015 Top 100 and first for the Miami Marlins in 2015.
But Kolek has not found a lot of success since turning professional. Now in his sixth pro season, Kolek has yet to play this season, and has never appeared above the middle-A level, with the Greensboro Grasshoppers in 2015. Officially, he’s still rostered with the short-season-A Batavia Muckdogs in the New York-Penn League.
Through their 27-season history, the Marlins have chosen six players who have totaled more than three wins above replacement. Their first first-round pick was catcher Charles Johnson, who eventually appeared in 587 games for the Florida Marlins from 1994-1998 and from 2001 through 2002. He appeared on the National League All Star team in 1997 and in 2001 for them, and helped the team earn their first World Series title. Johnson slashed .241/.324/.418 in his seven Marlins’ seasons, won Gold Gloves in every season from 1995 through 1998, and finished in the top three in the NL in each of those seasons with a combined CS rate of 44.9 percent.
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OF Mark Kotsay was Miami’s first round pick in 1996, ninth overall. In the four seasons starting in 1997, he appeared in 468 games for the Marlins, slashing .280/.322/.411. RHP Josh Beckett was taken second overall in 1999, and went on to win 138 major league games, including 41 and a World Series title with Miami. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez was the first choice overall in 2000, and had a very successful major league career after spending three seasons in the Marlins minor league system. Miami sent him to the Texas Rangers for Ugueth Urbina in 2003.
Yelich and Fernandez had well documented success with the Miami Marlins as well, but the franchises historical first round yield has been more miss than hit. Hopefully, they can break that trend with a solid pick on Monday night.
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