The Marlins drafted very poorly in 2009, but they turned things around in 2010, drafting two of their current everyday players. Here’s how it all went down.
First Round: OF Christian Yelich (Pick #23) - Westlake HS (CA)
Stats with Marlins: 535 Games, 2329 PA, .290 AVG, .793 OPS, 47 HR, 234 RBI
After back to back years in which the Marlins picked a player in the first round that never made any noise in the major leagues, the franchise got it right in 2010 when it selected Christian Yelich.
MLB.com called Yelich an “under the radar guy” when the Marlins drafted him, and that’s what he’s been his entire career. Since being called up in 2013 and then becoming a full-time starter in 2014, Yelich’s accomplishments with the Marlins have gone largely unnoticed. However, the outfielder finally got his name in the spotlight after winning a Silver Slugger Award last season and dazzling at the 2017 World Baseball Classic for Team USA.
Yelich is now known as one of the better outfielders in the game and has proved to be arguably Miami’s best first-round pick in recent memory.
Who they could have drafted: RHP Noah Syndergaard (Pick #38)
Second Round: LHP Rob Rasmussen (Pick #73) - UCLA
After going with a bat in the first round, the Marlins decided on pitching in the second round and chose a polished left-handed college arm in Rob Rasmussen. The lefty posted a 3.64 ERA in his only full season with the Marlins in the minors in 2011.
Then, in July of 2012, Rasmussen was traded to the Houston Astros along with 2008 first-round pick Matt Dominguez for veteran first baseman Carlos Lee. Rasmussen finished out a less successful minor league season with the Astros and then was traded again in December, this time to the Los Angeles Dodgers for RHP John Ely.
Rasmussen tossed over 130 innings in Double-A and Triple-A in 2013 before being traded again in August to the Philadelphia Phillies for Michael Young. But the Dodgers didn’t have him for long, as they sent him to the Toronto Blue Jays along with catcher Erik Kratz in December for RHP Brad Lincoln.
Rasmussen would finally make it to the majors with the Blue Jays in 2014, but he was then again traded to the Seattle Mariners at the 2015 trade deadline. The former first round pick accumulated 26.2 major league innings with the Blue Jays and Mariners, but he retired before the 2016 season started. He moved around a lot, but never really stuck in the big leagues, and the trade for Lee really didn’t give the Marlins much.
Who they should have drafted: RHP Chad Bettis (Pick #76)
Third Round: C J.T. Realmuto (Pick #104) - Carl Albert HS (OK)
Stats with Marlins: 318 Games, 1222 PA, .283 AVG, .741 OPS, 25 HR, 123 RBI
After failing to find a starting catcher the last couple drafts, the Marlins finally got their guy in 2010. J.T. Realmuto rose through the minor league ranks with his bat, and got a cup of coffee with the Marlins in 2014 before sticking with the team in 2015.
Realmuto was quickly given the reigns as the starting catcher, and he hit over .300 in 2016. He has backed that up so far in 2017 with a productive offensive season and has proven that he is the catcher of the future for the Marlins.
With his age and success at the plate, Realmuto, along with Yelich, will probably be safe even if the Marlins go into fire sale mode this July. He is still a piece that the team can rebuild off of in the future.
Who they could have drafted: LHP James Paxton (Pick #132)
Best Value Pick: RHP Austin Brice (Round 9, Pick #287) - Northwood HS (NC)
Stats with Marlins: 15 Appearances, 14.0 IP, 7.07 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 14 K, 5 BB
Austin Brice was drafted at age 18 and went very slowly through the Marlins’ system. He finally got his shot in the majors last season, but didn’t have much success in the bullpen, allowing 11 earned runs in 14 innings.
Brice was set to compete for a spot on Miami’s 2017 Opening Day roster, but in January he was packaged in a trade to the Cincinnati Reds for RHP Dan Straily. Despite Brice’s struggles with the Marlins, the reason he is the best value pick from 2010 is because he helped bring Straily to Miami.
Brice has struck out 11 and walked only one in eight appearances with the Reds this season, but Straily has been much more valuable for the Marlins. In 10 starts he has posted a 3.83 ERA and his 5.7 hits allowed per nine innings is the lowest of his career.