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Marlins Draft Redux: 2003

Ramp

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With the draft quickly approaching, I figured I would take the time to look at the Marlins first 5 rounds of each draft since 2000. We will focus on what the Marlins saw in these kids, what they have done, and where they are currently. We will also look at which players were taken after them who are currently in the major leagues.

Draft Redux 2000

Draft Redux 2001

Draft Redux 2002

After finishing the 2002 season in 4th place with a 79-83 record, the Marlins traded away Preston Wilson and Charles Johnson for Juan Pierre. They also acquired some guy named Pudge Rodriguez, among other great moves. Then came the draft. Because of the Marlins record, they had the 16th overall pick in the 2003 draft. They decided on the righthanded Jeffrey Allison from Veterans Memorial HS, in Peabody, Massachusetts. In his senior season at VMHS, Allison went 9-0, 0,00era with 142 strikeouts in 64 innings, giving up just 13 hits, nine walked and 1 unearned run. He only fell to the Marlins at 16 because of bonus demands, but that didn't scare the Marlins away as they gave him a $1.85mil signing bonus. Right away he was compared to Marlins pitcher Josh Beckett and some believed he would be on the same kind of fast track that Josh was on. Allison had the best fastball (92-97mph) and curveball (80-86mph with nasty break) of any pitcher in the draft. In his first 9 major league innings, Allison didn?t allow a run. He was slated to debut for the low-A Greensboro Grasshoppers in 2004, but he took a major detour. Jeff nearly died after overdosing on the drugs oxycontin and heroine. After what looked he got his act together, Jeff made his Greensboro debut in 2005. Because of the layoff Allison?s stuff wasn?t nearly as good, but there were flashes of brilliance. His fastball was down to the high 80s-low 90s, but the big curveball was still there. He improved start by start and by the end of the year, he was going 6-7 innings in each start. Again it looked like his career was getting back on track. And then in August of 2006 he overdosed again. Medford, Mass., police found Allison unconscious in an apartment building. Rescue workers revived Allison at the scene, and he was hospitalized in Winchester, Mass., and later released. Then in October of 2006, Jeff was arrested after an officer found him driving what was reportedly a stolen Dodge Ram. Inside the truck were heroin and drug paraphernalia, specifically syringes. He was facing 3 felony charges. His baseball career is over and he is lucky to be alive. I have no clue where he is these days, but hopefully he is clean, even though I doubt it. No one saw this coming, so you can't blame the Marlins much for this pick. It happened to be a pretty good first round, with the following players available after the Marlins pick at 16: Diamondbacks 1b Conor Jackson, Nationals rp Chad Cordero, Angels ss Brandon Wood, Braves c Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Diamondbacks rf Carlos Quentin.

In round 2, the Marlins went with another pitcher, this time Logan Kensing out of Texas A&M. He was signed for $675,000. Primarily a reliever at Texas A&M, Logan Kensing has been a starter most of the time in the big leagues. He didn?t throw all that much at A&M, so the Marlins figured he would have a fresh arm. His first minor league season was anything but impressive, going 2-4 with a 5.11era in just over 50 innings. In 2004, he dominated the Florida State League with a 2.96era but the real craziness began in September. The Marlins were scheduled for a double header against the Cubs, and with no pitchers ready to go (Trevor Hutchinson would have gotten the call from Double-A- if not for an injury), Kensing was called up from Jupiter to make his major league debut in Wrigley Field. He got shelled, giving up 5 runs on 8 hits in a little over 2 innings. He obviously wasn?t ready, and his nerves were shot, as shown by his eratticness (that?s not even a word, but it works for anyone who watched this game) on the mound. A year later, Logan got hit hard again with the Marlins after doing very well in AA Carolina. When on his game, Kensing throws a heavy 90-94mph sinker with lots of movement. He also shows a plus slider but tends to hang them more than he would like to. His stuff has been compared to Matt Clement, because of his lack of command at times. There was a rumor that Logan would need Tommy John Surgery at the end of the 2005 system but it turned out he was fine. In 2006, Logan threw 37.2 innings and had a 4.54era. He struck out 45 to go with a 1.30whip. He was turning into a fine setup man when the injury bug hit. This time he was going to need TJ Surrgey and would miss most of 2007. Still, a pretty good pick at this point as he was turning into a reliable setup man. Depending on how he returns from injury will tell alot about this pick and even this entire draft. Dodgers cf Andre Ethier and Diamondbacks 3b Jamie D'Antona were 2 players available when it was our turn to pick.

The Marlins took a positional player in the 3rd round. A shortstop out of George Washington HS in Danville, VA by the name of Jonathan Fulton. The Marlins were drawn to his good frame even though he lacked strength due to a poor diet in high school. He received a bonus of $440,000. He has strong hands and had projectable power to where a few in the organization were comparing him to young Scott Rolen as Fulton would eventually have to move to third base once his body matured. In his first season of pro ball, he hit .196/.247/.268 with just 1 homerun in 168 at bats. Apparently he needed glasses he showed much improvement in year two. He hit .254/.312/.472 with 11 homers in his second season, this time in Jamestown. He hasn't done much since then, spending 2005 and 2006 in Greensboro, hitting a combined .247/.304/.420 with 23 homeruns in 652 at bats. These days, Fulton is in Jupiter and there are no signs of Scott Rolen anywhere. He's still struggling to hit .275 and the power just isn't there. Braves pitcher Matt Harrison is one of the better prospects chosen after Fulton.

The Marlins went for pure 5 tool potential in round 4 with the signing of Selma HS outfielder Jai Miller. He was the first 3 sport all-state athlete in Alabama prep history and was all set to go to Stanford to play football and basketball when the Marlins ponied up $250,000 for him to sign. He fell a bit because teams believed he really wanted to play the other two sports in college. Area scout Dave Dangler had a strong relationship with Jai's father, and this allowed the Marlins to sign him for $250,000. Jai has had alot to deal with, as his mother and grandmother were tragically killed in a car accident, but he decided to continue on his dream to play professionally. Based on size alone, the 6′4 right hander drew many comparisons to former Marlins outfielder, Preston Wilson. Blessed with a quick pair of hands this has translated into fantastic bat speed with Jai. There isn?t a fastball that can be thrown by him. Unfortunately, opposing pitchers knew this, so they throw him a steady diet of breaking balls. Miller was rated as having a 70 speed (20/80 scale). He has been timed as fast as 4.05 from home to first base. Even though he has that tremendous speed, this had not translated into a great stolen base success rate. His problem is that he doesn?t get good enough jumps from first base, and I?m sure he has been working on it. Always one who was a strikeout machine, he decided to not a hit a homerun every at bat and just put the ball in play. On the one hand, his strikeouts went down for the third straight year (163-139-115) but on the flipside, he hit zero homeruns. We all know the Florida State League isn?t exactly a hitter?s paradise, but it?s shocking to think he wouldn?t ?luck? into a homerun last season. While he does strikeout too much still, he does walk alot, and that is definitely a promising sign. Over the past two seasons, Jai?s walk rate(OBP-AVG) has been .098 and .099 which are both awesome. The bad part is that he can seem to hit a high enough average where his walk rate looks that much better. Never projected to win a batting title, he needs to find a way to hit atleast .260. If he can get his average around that level, he becomes a much more valuable prospect because he can take a walk. Jai came into 2007 with alot to prove and so far his prospect status as been reborn. Right now he is playing well in AA Carolina and if he can keep that up, he may get a chance to earn a spot with the big team in 2008 or 2009. Red Sox closer Jon Papelbon was taken one pick after Jai.

The 5th round came and the Marlins selected 2b Cole Seifrig out of Lincoln City, Indiana. He was actually scheduled to go to Purdue and play WR for the football team but he took a $200,000 signing bonus instead. He had a short, quick swing that drew comparisons to Ryne Sandberg. With his size, a move to 3b or the outfield wouldn't be ruled out but the main concern with Cole was his plate judgement. As for early on in his career he got by based on his hand-eye coordination. Unfortunately for him, the pitchers exploited him for his lack of plate judgement. His first 3 seasons as a pro, he went .224/.267/.388 with 16 homeruns. He then retire to go try and play football again. Luckily for the Marlins, the 5th round was pretty bad so losing Seifrig doesn't hurt as much.

The Marlins may have gotten a steal in the 10th round with the selection of OF/1B JT Restko.
 

TSwift25

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Results sucked, but you can't fault the process.
 

The Fan

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If I had it to do over again, I'd still take Allison, except I'd hire Dog the Bounty Hunter to be his full time roommate.. His failures definitely weren't for a lack of talent, as he can still be argued as the most talented player in that draft. He should be dominating big leaguers right now. What a waste of talent. :confused
 

TSwift25

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Yup, I throw my hands up at this draft, but I really regret nothing.
 

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Matt Kemp and Kevin Kouzmanoff as well as Sean Marshall went in the 6th round that year, the 6th was definantly better than the 5th in 2003.

We took Lee Mitchell in the 6th that year, and I think he will be pretty good coming off the bench some day with the big club.
 

fanofthefish

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Mitchell pretty much hit or miss. if he hits he hits it a ton, but misses far too much. As for Restko I remember watching him right after he got drafted and he was by far the best player the Marlins had in the GCL. He seems to be improving in his second year at Jupiter and wouldn't be surprised to see him in Carolina by seasons end. By far not one of the better drafts in Marlins history.
 

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