We recently looked at the 1995 draft, so let’s look at the 1996 draft next. What happened the year after a disastrous 1995 version? Did the Miami Marlins do better or worse? Were there any players that The Fish missed out on?
The 1996 draft was an interesting one for the Miami Marlins.
The Pittsburgh Pirates had the first pick and took pitching prospect Kris Benson. Benson didn’t live up to his top draft pick billing, ending up with 12.9 WAR during his entire career. Pitching prospects are often volatile, so this wasn’t that much unusual, though it was pretty bad for the first draft pick.
The Minnesota Twins picked second and went with 1B Travis Lee. Lee wasn’t much better, ending his career with 7.3 WAR. The St. Louis Cardinals picked third and went with pitching prospect Braden Looper. Looper was another player who never really lived up to his draft spot, at least not as a starting pitcher… at first. He ended up with the Miami Marlins (then Florida Marlins) and accumulated 3.6 WAR with The Fish, strangely he became a starting pitcher in a return to St. Louis at the end of his career.
The Miami Marlins (easier to say then the “Florida Marlins”) picked ninth and went with out field prospect Mark Kotsay. Kotsay ended up being the best out of the top nine draft picks, accumulating 21.3 WAR for his career. He accumulated 6.8 WAR from 1997 to 2000 for The Fish. Kotsay was decent but there was someone better…
3B Eric Chavez went tenth to the Oakland Athletics and accumulated 38.3 WAR before back problems ended his career. Chavez would’ve been better than Kotsay, though I’m not sure that it really would make much of a difference.
The most notable player came in the second season: SS Jimmy Rollins, who accumulated 47.6 WAR mostly with our division rivals the Philadelphia Phillies. Can you imagine him in a Miami Marlins jersey?!
The Miami Marlins did better in the 1996 draft than in the 1995 one, but the draft was ultimately weak and didn’t have any players that The Fish really missed, though Rollins would’ve helped The Fish, and hurt the Philadelphia Phillies divisional dynasty in seasons when we could’ve made the playoffs such as 2009.