Over the past 10 years, the Florida then Miami Marlins have taken 430 players in the annual MLB Amateur Entry Draft.
Over the next month or so, we’re breaking down each round in turn. We’ve already taken a look at round 40 and round 39. Keep in mind, this low in the draft the Marlins, and really most teams, usually take a swing at a player who is not as likely to sign. Its a low-risk, high-reward move in today’s baseball economy, and once in a while it pays off.
Out of all the Marlins 38th round picks over their 28-year draft history, only one has made it as far as the major leagues. Infielder Super-utility infielder Dave Berg played four seasons for the Marlins after getting drafted with the 1,079th overall choice back in 1993.
Forrest Moore was a six-foot-two lefty pitcher from Memphis, TN, first chosen by the Detroit Tigers in the 32nd round back in 2007. Instead of signing, Moore played two seasons Division I ball with the Mississippi State Bulldogs, going 3-3 with a 7.17 ERA over 80 innings. Although control was a big issue, with 63 walks issued, Moore also struck out 87 for a robust 9.75 K/9.
In 2010, the Marlins spent their 38th round choice on Moore, 1,157th off the board. He signed with them a week later, but never appeared in the minor league system. In 2015, he went 0-2 for the Old Orchard Beach Surge in the independent North County League, with a 5.09 ERA and 21 K’s in 25 1/3 innings.
Joe Ceja was a six-foot-five righty from Peru, IL. In 2011, the Marlins took him off the board with the 1,153rd overall choice. He did not sign, instead matriculating to the University of Louisville, where he pitched relief in six games for the Cardinals.
Ceja never appeared in professional ball, eventually going 1-7 with a 7.32 ERA over 29 collegiate contests.
Chipper Smith was a six-foot-two lefty from Santa Clarita, CA. In 2011, he went 7-7 with a 2.90 ERA over 16 games, including 15 starts. He struck out 94 over 93 innings for the Southern Nevada Coyotes. A year later, Miami took him 1,157th off the board in their 38th round.
After pitching to middling results to close out the 2012 campaign between the Rookie-level GCL Marlins in the Gulf Coast League and the Short-season-A Jamestown Jammers in the New York-Penn League (NYPL), Smith seemed to hit a nice groove in 2013. As part of the Greensboro Grasshoppers, in the Single-A South Atlantic League (SAL), Smith went 8-3 with a 2.74 ERA over 34 games, including six starts. He struck out 98 in 88 2/3 innings with a healthy 1.16 WHIP to his credit.
In 2014, Smith got through two new levels, pitching at High-A with the Jupiter Hammerheads in the Florida State League and at Double-A with the Jacksonville Suns in the Southern League. As part of the Suns rotation, Smith went 3-4 with a 4.27 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP over 14 starts, with 57 K’s in 65 innings.
Smith also split 2015 between the two levels, going a collective 5-7 with a 4.39 ERA, a 1.49 WHIP, and 96 whiffs in 108 2/3 innings. During the Winter Meetings, the Baltimore Orioles selected Smith during the minor-league phase of the rule 5 draft.
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Smith pitched in two games for the High-A Frederick Keys, in the Carolina League. He was then returned to the Marlins organization, where he coughed up 17 runs in 16 2/3 innings of work. He was released by Miami in mid-June.
Six-foot-one right-hander Tyler Kane posted a 10-6 record with a 4.13 ERA over 77 games in three seasons for the Washington Huskies. In 2013, Miami spent their 38th pick on him, 1,132nd overall.
After the conclusion of the collegiate season, Kane split the rest of the year between GCL and the Batavia Muckdogs, in the NYPL. 2-1 with a 1.65 ERA in 11 relief appearances, with a 1.04 WHIP over 15 innings, Kane seemed ready for the next step.
2014 would see Kane play with the Muckdogs, the Grasshoppers, and the Hammerheads, going a collective 2-1 with a 4.63 ERA in 44 2/3 innings, with a 1.46 WHIP and 27 whiffs.
Over the first three months of 2015, Kane came in to relieve 17 times with Greensboro, earning a 7.36 ERA with a 1.82 WHIP. The Marlins released him in July.
Starting in 2016, Kane joined the Wichita Wingnuts in the American Association, going 21-5 with a 3.66 ERA mostly as a starter. He didn’t appear professionally in 2019.
Parker Ray was a six-foot-one righty out of Houston, TX. Starting in 2012, he began pitching with the Texas A&M Aggies. He played three seasons of Division I ball there, going 8-5 with a 2.54 as both a starter and reliever, with 158 K’s in 208 innings.
Ray was Miami’s 38th round selection in 2014, 1,127th overall, but never signed or appeared in competitive ball afterward.
CF C.J. Newsome was chosen out of Columbia HS in Columbia, MS in the 38th round by Miami in 2015, 1,136th off the board. Declining to sign with the Marlins, Newsome played two seasons of Division I ball with the Jackson State Tigers. He hit .346/.421/.480, with 45 stolen bases in 52 attempts. He hasn’t appeared competitively since 2017, and has never played professionally.
Dustin Demeter is a six-foot-one left-handed third baseman. Drafted 1,136th overall by the Marlins in 2016 out of Dos Pueblos HS in Goleta, CA, he instead matriculated to the University of Hawaii, where he played two seasons of Division I ball.
In 93 games for the Rainbows starting in 2017, Demeter hit .283/.345/.382 with five homers and 45 RBI. He didn’t appear in competitive ball in 2019.
Catcher Cody Roberts is a six-foot right-hander from Johns Creek, GA. He played three seasons with the University of North Carolina, hitting .268/.357/368 over 174 contests. After two of those years, the Marlins spent their 38th round pick on him, 1,139th off the board.
The Baltimore Orioles were more successful at convincing Roberts to sign, spending their 11th round choice on him the following year, then signing him for $125,000. In 99 games between the NYPL’s Aberdeen IronBirds and the SAL’s Delmarva Shorebirds, he has a line of .248/.317/.304. Roberts is still listed active in the Orioles system.
RHP Bryce Miller went 7-1 with a 4.08 ERA for Blinn College in 2018, striking out 34 in 28 2/3 innings. When the draft came around, the Marlins chose him in the 38th round, 1,137th overall.
Instead of signing, Miller transferred to Texas A&M, where he went 4-2 with a 3.77 ERA over 33 relief appearances in 2019.
SS Tyresse Turner was taken in the 38th round by Miami six months ago out of Gahr HS in Cerritos, CA, 1,131st overall. Unsigned, Turner has committed to the University of Southern California, where he’ll play for the Trojans.