These days, you never see a team with more than two or three first-round picks. However, in 2005, the Miami Marlins boasted five first-round selections. The inability to turn any of these players into above-average major league starters is amazing. There is a strong argument that has been made saying that the 2005 draft class was the most talented ever. It is hard to believe that with five first-round picks, Miami could not get at least one above-average major leaguer. The Marlins have come a long ways since their drafting ways of 2005 but it's never too late to reflect on the draft that never was.
Pick #16 in the first round: Marlins select Chris Volstad out of Palm Beach Gardens HS in Florida. Chris Volstad, a 6'8'' right-handed pitcher, obviously never met the huge expectations that came with being the Marlins first pick. Volstad has pitched in parts of five seasons in the majors, most recently with the Chicago Cubs in 2012. Somehow, for a 6'8'' menacing presence on the mound, Volstad has never been able to strike enough hitters out enough to be successful. Amazingly, Volstad would go on to become the most valuable player the Marlins drafted that season.
Drafting pitchers that tall always scares me. Sure, it is easy to see why the Marlins would see a physical high school pitcher like Volstad and fall in love, but it is interesting how poorly they projected his arsenal of pitches to perform. Volstad has not pitched out of the bullpen since 2008, but maybe it's time for the Cubs to try something new with him.
Pick #22 in the first round: Marlins select Aaron Thompson out of Second Baptist High School in Texas. Thompson had a very projectable frame and good command for a high school pick. Nonetheless, Thompson never reached his ceiling due to his meatball of a fastball and being way too hittable. Thompson was traded to Washington at the 2009 trade deadline for Nick Johnson.
The Marlins probably drafted Thompson thinking that at worst, he would be a valuable left-handed reliever in the bullpen. Well, in 7 1/3 major league innings, none of them being with the Marlins, Thompson has proven that maybe the LOOGY projection might have been shooting a little too high. This was not a terrible pick because everyone expected Thompson to be something more, but it is important to remember that Jacoby Ellsbury and Matt Garza were both drafted just a few picks after Thompson.
Pick #29 in the first round: Marlins select Jacob Marceaux, a senior out of McNeese State University in Louisiana. This was the Marlins first pick that really surprised others. Marceaux, the Marlins' third pitcher selected, only lasted three years in the Marlins' system, never advancing past Double-A. Marceaux always struggled with his control and never showed a ceiling worthy of a first-round pick. Not only was this pick a bust, but the Marlins should have known better than to draft a pitcher like Marceaux.
Pick #34 in the first round (supplemental): Marlins select Ryan Tucker, a high school righty from California. Tucker, who has a 8.14 ERA in 42 innings, was portrayed by MLB.com as having an effortless delivery with a fastball that could touch 95 mph. Well, the delivery might still be effortless but it did not prevent him from being injured for a lot of his time in the Marlins' system. Another thing they failed to list is how straight his fastball was and still is today. The 95 mph velocity is not as impressive when the ball has close to no movement. Tucker was viewed as a two-pitch guy with a shot at becoming a reliever. However, there are not many relievers in the majors these days who have only two pitches, and both of them are below-average.
Pick #44 in the first round (supplemental): Marlins select Sean West, another high school left-handed pitcher, this time from Louisiana. West, who did not pitch in the 2012 season, started twenty shaky games for the 2009 Marlins. As the fifth pitcher selected by the Marlins, West managed to actually play almost an entire season in the majors. Nonetheless, his rough season in 2009 symbolized more of what was to come for West in the next few years. Still on the board by the time the Marlins selected West were Jed Lowrie, Yunel Esobar, and Chase Headley. This just goes to show another missed opportunity by the Marlins in the ridiculously talented 2005 draft.
The Marlins failed to capitalize on one of the deepest drafts in recent history when the club had five first-round picks at their disposal. None of the Marlins' selections succeeded in the majors in any way or even became average contributors. The 2005 draft should be seen as a major failure of the organization's already shaky draft and development history under Larry Beinfest.