The championship year. We already took a look at the 1995 and 1996 drafts, now let’s take a look at the 1997 draft. Did the Miami Marlins (then known as the Florida Marlins, but who I’ll call by our old name for convenience) have a good draft? Did we do badly? We’re there any missed?
The 1997 draft didn’t go so well for the Miami Marlins.
Hindsight can be a nuisance when looking at these drafts. You see so many missed opportunities that weren’t there before, that you wonder what could’ve been. The first pick of this draft went to the Philadelphia Phillies and they went with RF J.D. Drew. Drew ended up not signing with the team, and waiting until 1998 to sign with the St. Louis Cardinals, who were the next team to draft him.
Drew had a productive career with St. Louis, the Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers and finally the Boston Red Sox, ending up with 44.9 WAR. The Detroit Tigers had the first pick and picked pitching prospect Matt Anderson, who was a bust with -0.6 WAR for his career.
The Miami Marlins picked twelfth and went with pitching prospect Aaron Akin. Akin was a really big bust, never even making it to the Majors. This was a pretty sad development considering who was still available in the draft.
The Houston Astros can be seen as winning the whole draft, when they picked 1B Lance Berkman with the 16’th pick. Berkman had a great career with Houston and also the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals, ending his career with 51.9 WAR. The Miami Marlins could’ve picked him instead and you can easily see how much better it would’ve been for The Fish.
Missing out on Lance Berkman was a huge blow for the Miami Marlins and is definitely something to take out of the first round of this draft. SP Tim Hudson went to the Oakland Athletics in the sixth round, and pitching for Oakland, the Atlanta Braves and the San Francisco Giants, he finished his career with 57.9 WAR. He was another key player that the Miami Marlins could’ve drafted.
The 1997 draft was really bad for the Miami Marlins. Our first round pick never even reached the Majors, and we didn’t get anyone noteable to make up for that. We could’ve had Tim Hudson and Lance Berkman. Just think about that!