Six members of the extended Miami / Florida Marlins’ family are enjoying a birthday on January 14th. This continuing series will focus on some players that you may have forgotten about or simply never heard of.
Alan Walania (47)
Walania was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 56th round in 1989, but instead decided to go to college, where he held down a slot in the Fighting Irish rotation for four seasons ending with the class of 1993. He racked up a 29-12 record with a 3.73 ERA, a 1.24 WHIP, and 230 strikeouts in 314 innings pitched. He didn’t get drafted again, and joined the Elmira Pioneers in 1993, going 3-3 over 22 relief appearances, with a 3.07 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP, striking out 47 in 44 frames. Promoted to the higher level Kane County Cougars in 1994, he was less impressive, going 1-3 with a 7.02 ERA, a 1.41 WHIP, and 33 K’s in 33 1⁄3 innings. He didn’t appear in affiliated ball after that.
Raul Franco (42)
Franco is an infielder from the Dominican Republic. He started his professional career in 1995 with the GCL Marlins, and over two seasons in the league, slashed .278/.329/.348 in 109 contests. Over the next few seasons, he made his way up through Florida’s system with stops in Utica (72 games, .352/.385/.447), Kane County (132 games, .287/.315/.341), Brevard County (196 games, .239/.275/.289) and Calgary (16 games, .273/.298/.273). His 2000 campaign with the Manatees was his final in organized baseball.
Philip Henderson (42)
Henderson, a right-handed pitcher from Ringgold, Georgia, was chosen by the Marlins in the 58th round of the 1994 draft. He didn’t sign, and never appeared at any level with any MLB affiliated team.
Ketnold Noel (30)
Noel joined the Marlins’ organization in 2007 with the GCL club, and played 36 games as a third baseman. He slashed just .176/.252/.306, with one home run and 17 RBI. In 2008, he was taken a different way and pitched in 18 games for GCL, going 2-3 with a 3.57 ERA, 18 strikeouts in 22 2⁄3 innings, and a 1.24 WHIP.
Miguel Pena (20)
Pena is a 6’, 175 lb. catcher from Cartagena, Columbia. He played the 2017 with the DSL Marlins, appearing in 56 games and slashing .293/.348/.314 with 36 RBI at the rookie level. His stats are good enough to consider that he may start 2018 either with the GCL Marlins or whatever team is replacing the Batavia Muckdogs in Miami’s organization.
Andres Villalobos (20)
Villalobos spent 2015 and 2016 with the DSL Marlins, playing shortstop for the rookie outfit. The native of Maracaibo, Venezuela appeared in 63 games and hit .217/.308/.232 over the two seasons.