February 4th is a birthday for five former members of the Florida / Miami Marlins’ minor league system, but no major leaguers. They’re listed here in descending order of their last proximal time with the Marlins.
Justin Hepner (26)
Justin Matthew Hepner was a 6’3”, 190 lb. right-handed pitcher from San Diego, California. After four seasons with San Diego State University, the Marlins chose him in the 36th round of the 2014 draft, with the 1,067th overall pick.
After going 6-5 with a 4.05 ERA in over 100 innings of collegiate ball, Hepner made his debut with the GCL Marlins and allowed five earned runs in 3 2⁄3 innings on two wild pitches, eight hits and two walks. He also struck out two, but didn’t again see action in affiliated ball.
Jordan Smith (32)
Jordan Smith is a 6’4”, 210 lb. right-handed pitcher from American Fork, Utah. In 2006, the Cincinnati Reds picked him in the sixth round of the draft with the 174th choice off the board out of the University of Southern Nevada.
Smith spent most of his time in the Reds organization as a pitcher, climbing his way through the ranks. He was 3-2 with a 3.86 for the parent club in 2010, but in 2011 went back to low-A Mahoning Valley to try his hand as a hitter. As a third baseman that year, he slashed .300/.403/.391. He also made 17 more appearances that season with the Reds as a pitcher, earning a 7.20 ERA in 20 innings.
The Marlins signed Smith to a minor league deal in November of 2012. He played the 2013 campaign as a New Orleans Zephyr, going 3-1 with a 5.28 ERA and a 1.67 WHIP, striking out 25 in 44 1⁄3 innings. The Marlins released him in July, and he hasn’t appeared in affiliated ball since.
Tom Mastny (37)
Thomas Raymond Mastny Jr. was a 6’5”, 220 lb. right-handed pitcher from East Bontang, Indonesia. In 2003, the Toronto Blue Jays chose him in the 11th round of the draft, with the 320th pick out of Furman University.
Prior to making his way to the Marlins, Mastny appeared for the Blue Jays with the Auburn Doubledays and the Charleston AlleyCats, and for the Cleveland Indians between the Kinston Indians, the Akron Aeros, the Buffalo Bisons, and for three seasons with the parent club.
In 2009, Mastny played a season in Japan with the Yokohama BayStars, then came back to the states and played for the Somerset Patriots in the independent Atlantic League. Midseason, he joined the New Orleans Zephyrs rotation, and made 14 starts and four trips out of the bullpen. He was 4-5 with a 4.27 ERA, with 60 whiffs in 86 1⁄3 innings.
Brooks Martin (30)
Brooks Martin was a 6’, 170 lb. right-handed pitcher from Streator, Illinois. The Marlins picked him in the 47th round of the draft in 2006, with the 1,408th pick out of Streator Township HS. He didn’t sign with the Marlins, but later played a season of undefeated ball for the University of Central Missouri. He was 12-0 with a 2.08 ERA in 14 starts for the Division II outfit, with 107 whiffs in 86 1⁄3 innings.
Chris Sheff (47)
Christopher William Sheff was a 6’3”, 215 lb. outfielder from Laguna Beach, California. In 1992, the Marlins picked him in the 10th round of the draft, with the 292nd selection out of Pepperdine University. He slashed .295/.368/.479 in 175 collegiate contests.
Sheff played for six years in Florida’s system, peaking in 1996 and 97 with the Charlotte Knights. He later played in the systems of the Oakland Athletics, the New York Mets, and the Cincinnati Reds. In total, he appeared in 1,140 minor league games before retiring after his age-30 season in 2001, with 92 home runs and 534 RBI, and a .274/.358/.429 slashline.
Thanks for reading a little bit about the guys who make up Marlins’ history, such that it is. Join us tomorrow for more, including a Marlin on the Rise article on Marlins Minor League Pitcher of the Year Trevor Richards.