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What if the Marlins had selected these 1st-round talents in recent MLB Draft classes?

Revisiting the first round of every draft since 2010, who the Marlins picked...and who they skipped.

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Miami Marlins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Obviously, you can’t go back in time. But especially when baseball season has been delayed for over two months, it’s nice to revisit what the Marlins have done in all areas over the years.

Every year, the MLB Amateur Draft is when our pastime’s future stars make the jump into pro baseball. Organizations combine analysis, odds, knowledge, and instincts to decide on the most appropriate picks. In the end, they might be picking the next Derek Jeter or the next big bust.

When it comes to the Marlins and their track record of first-round selections, how have they performed? Who have they skipped? Did they miss any obvious opportunities that could’ve propelled them to another World Series?

Let’s take a look at every first-rounder for the Fish since 2010 and other key prospects who were also on the board at the time.


2010

Marlins’ pick: OF Christian Yelich, 23rd overall

Notables selected later

RHP Aaron Sánchez, RHP Noah Syndergaard, 3B Nicholas Castellanos

The Marlins couldn’t have done much better than this. Beyond Bryce Harper (1st), Manny Machado (3rd), and Chris Sale (13th), Yelich was still available by the time Miami had its first selection (23rd). Based on what he’s achieved through his career, the 2018 NL MVP and 2019 runner-up was the best of the best.

Below him, for example, the Blue Jays picked RHP Noah Syndergaard and the Tigers brought Nicholas Castellanos aboard. Both have had productive careers, but nothing similar to Yelich’s.

2011

Marlins’ pick: RHP José Fernández, 14th overall

Notable selected later:

RHP Sonny Gray, 2B Kolten Wong, OF Jackie Bradley Jr., SS Trevor Story, LHP Blake Snell

St. Petersburg Times

At his best, José’s production was as good as Gerrit Cole’s (1st), Trevor Bauer’s (3rd), Anthony Rendón’s (6th), or Francisco Lindor’s (8th). Unfortunately, that accident in 2016 didn’t allow the baseball world to see the Cuban righthander’s whole potential since he passed away at the age of 24.

The Fish might’ve done well enough selecting Trevor Story (45th) or Blake Snell (52nd), but Fernández was a jewel that they couldn’t pass.

2012

Marlins’ pick: LHP Andrew Heaney, 9th overall

Notables selected later

SS Addison Russell, RHP Lucas Giolito, SS Corey Seager, RHP Marcus Stroman, RHP José Berríos, 1B Matt Olson

Yes! Now looking back and knowing what happened eventually, here’s where everything took the wrong path for the Marlins. The team picked LHP Andrew Heaney as the 9th selection overall, but you won’t believe who they let pass.

Two picks later, Addison Russell went to the Athletics’ side, Lucas Giolito put the Nationals hat on (16th), Corey Seager (18th) was named by the Dodgers, and Marcus Stroman was picked by the Blue Jays (22nd). Even José Berríos (32nd), Joey Gallo (39th), and Matt Olson (47th) were selected later.

Heaney barely pitched for Miami. The lefty appeared in seven games in the 2014 season before being traded to the Dodgers along with Austin Barnes, Chris Hatcher, and Kiké Hernández in exchange for beloved Dee Gordon, Dan Haren, and eventual captain Miguel Rojas.

2013

Marlins’ pick: 3B Colin Moran, 6th overall

Notables selected later

OF Austin Meadows, SS Tim Anderson, LHP Marco Gonzáles, RF Aaron Judge, LHP Sean Manaea

Oh, man. This one hurts. Can you imagine what the Marlins lineup would look like with Austin Meadows’ or Aaron Judge’s name in it? The Fish ended up picking third baseman Colin Moran, who didn’t play a single game in Marlins Park, as he was traded to the Astros in 2014.

That first round featured men such as Meadows, Judge, Tim Anderson, Marco Gonzáles, Sean Manaea, and even Corey Knebel, chosen by the Tigers as the last pick.

2014

Marlins’ pick: RHP Tyler Kolek, 2nd overall

Notables selected later

OF Kyle Schwarber, RHP Aaron Nola, OF Michael Conforto, SS Trea Turner, 3B Matt Chapman, RHP Jack Flaherty

This year presented a great chance for the Marlins to strengthen their rebuilding process, as they caught the second slot in the draft. They selected righty Tyler Kolek right after the Astros picked lefty Brady Aiken.

Although he’s still young, Kolek is doubtful to make a turnaround. He has not pitched above Class A, his numbers are not pretty and the blazing fastball that once made him intriguing is far less intimidating following several injury setbacks. By choosing him, Miami saw other teams sign Aaron Nola, Michael Conforto, Trea Turner, Jack Flaherty, and Matt Chapman, for example.

2015

Marlins’ pick: 1B Josh Naylor, 12th overall

Notables selected later

OF Trent Grisham, RHP Walker Buehler, RHP Mike Soroka, 3B Austin Riley

Same as Moran. Naylor never wore Marlins uniform. In 2016, he was included in a trade with the Padres for Andrew Cashner, Tayron Guerrero, and Colin Rea. Now at age 22 and adjusting to the outfield, he made his MLB debut with San Diego in 2019 and recorded a .249/.315/.403 slash line.

Miami preferred Naylor over standout young pitchers Walker Buehler, Mike Soroka, who are both frontline starters today for the Dodgers and the Braves, respectively. The Braves also selected 3B Austin Riley.

2016

Marlins’ pick: LHP Braxton Garrett, 7th overall

Notables selected later

RHP Matt Manning, RHP Forrest Whitley, IF Gavin Lux, C Will Smith, OF Dylan Carlson, RHP Dakota Hudson

As the seventh overall pick, Miami chose the prep left-hander with a filthy curveball. He’s promising and is only 22 years old, but took a big blow in 2017 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. That’s why he’s not pitched above Double-A. In fact, the young man spent the biggest part of 2019 in Class A+ and threw only 1 23 innings in AA.

By taking Garrett, they lost a chance on Matt Manning, Gavin Lux, or Dylan Carlson. Each of those men is among the 25 best prospects of the game, according to MLB Pipeline.

2017

Marlins’ pick: LHP Trevor Rogers, 13th overall

Notables selected later

RHP Nate Pearson, LHP DL Hall, SS Jeter Downs

Trevor Rogers was the prospect chosen by Miami. He had a great 2019 season between A+ and AA with 150 strikeouts and a 2.90 ERA across 136 13 episodes. Another southpaw, who’s also 22, had a quality jump from 2018 to 2019, and hopefully he’ll keep developing whenever the minor league season begins.

After the Marlins picked Rogers, there were some great options left. To name a few, flamethrower Nate Pearson joined the Blue Jays, DL Hall headed to the Orioles, and Jeter Downs went to the Reds.

2018

Marlins’ pick: OF Connor Scott, 13th overall

Notables selected later

RHP Logan Gilbert, LHP Matthew Liberatore, 3B Nolan Gorman, LHP Kris Bubic

Scott has appeared in only 172 games as a minor-leaguer for the Marlins. He keeps developing, but has already shown his running abilities along with his line-drive approach at home plate.

But beyond Scott, there were promising pitching prospects Logan Gilbert, Matthew Liberatore, and Kris Bubic. Cubs’ shortstop Nico Hoerner and Cardinals’ third baseman Nolan Gorman were available as well.

2019

Marlins’ pick: OF JJ Bleday, 4th overall

Notables selected later

LHP Nick Lodolo, SS CJ Abrams, 3B Josh Jung, 3B Brett Baty

Bleday seems to be a jewel from Vanderbilt, but had a rough 2019 season, his first in the Marlins organization. Obviously, at 22 years old, JJ has room for improvement and the Fish will be very happy to see whether he can provide similar production to the one he sustained at the NCAA.

Fish Stripes original GIF

Right after the Marlins drafted Bleday in the first round, the Reds took precious lefty Nick Lodolo, the Rangers chose third baseman Josh Jung, and the Mets picked also 3B Brett Baty.


It’s just an exercise of pure imagination. As I said before, you can’t go back in time to pick the right pieces or the guys who later turned into the most valuable prospects. At this time, it’s a matter of hoping that guys like Scott, Bleday, Rogers, and company develop well enough to eventually help the Marlins win.