While the majority of the Florida Marlins' first round draft disasters were before the Jeffrey Loria/Larry Beinfest/David Samson era and their pair of World Series victories (1997 and 2003) make no mistake the Marlins could have been a great team out of the gates. They had only one winning season between 1993 and 2002 which yielded the one World Series.
Yet we can't help but look back on what the Marlins lost out on with players who were taken shortly thereafter. Of course many teams have missed out on great players in later rounds but we won't go that deep, we will only go on the players the Marlins could have drafted based on how good their were pre-draft hype.
In the Marlins' third draft in franchise history, they had the fifth pick in the 1994 draft. All the teams who drafted in the top ten that year didn't draft future all-stars so the Marlins weren't alone. Considering they drafted shortstop Josh Booty out of Evangel Christian High School (Shreveport, LA), they could have gone the same route with another player.
The Career: Booty 13 major league games between 1996-1998 with a career .269 batting average, 4 RBIs and nine strikeouts. He would try his luck at quarterback in the NFL later on.
Who They Could've Had: Nomar Garciaparra (12th overall)
In the first draft since the Major League Baseball strike of 1994 the Marlins had the sixth pick in the draft in the first round of the 1995 draft. The Marlins struck out with Jaime Jones considering they could have had quite the player(s) if they had a better scouting team.
The Career: Jaime Jones never made it to the Major Leagues. The career minor league outfielder hit .265, 70 HRs, and 375 RBIs in 764 career games.
Who They Could've Had: Todd Helton (8th overall); Roy Halladay (17th overall); Carlos Beltran (49th overall)
In the season they won the World Series this hardly seems like a disaster but there was a big bat they could have had and didn't get. One of the reasons the Marlins had such a dropoff between 1998-2001 can be linked to the lack of a great first round and this one made the cut.
The Career: After being drafted 12th overall, Aaron Akin was a disaster, going 9-27 in the minor leagues and independent league with a 4.74 ERA. Akin never made the major leagues and the Marlins let him go after 2000.
Who They Could've Had: Lance Berkman (16th overall)
The Marlins had one of the lowest picks in the first round when it came their turn to draft an amateur player. The name they selected was Chip Ambres (28th overall) out of West Brook High School in Texas. Yet again the Marlins stuck out but there wasn't much they can do because there wasn't a wow player they really could have had their hands on.
The Career: Ambres never came up for the Marlins despite playing in the minor leagues for the Marlins to 2004. Ambres got off to a great start in 1999 hitting .316 with six HRs, nine triples, 33 stolen bases in 65 games between the Gulf Coast Marlins and Utica in the New York-Penn league. Yet Ambres dropped off afterwards and the Marlins let him go a few years later. Major league wise, Ambres had a .233 average, four HRs, and 10 RBIs in 80 games between the Royals, Mets, and Padres.
Who They Could've Had: Aaron Rowand or Mark Prior (compensatory rounds)
The Marlins were bound for the World Series in 2003 yet they had to draft first. They took Allison in the first round of the 2003 Draft, No. 16 overall. The Peabody native was a high school phenom that had many teams target him if the Marlins were to let him pass by. What a mistake for the Marlins to have drafted the wrong guy. Allison has been slowed in the minor leagues by drug troubles and has let to prove he is worthy of the major leagues.
The Career: After a stellar start in 2003 with a 1.00 ERA in three starts, Allison didn't pitch at all in 2004 because of drug related issues. He came back to make 17 starts in 2005, with a 5-4 record, 4.18 ERA in low class A Greensboro. He turned a corner and used drugs yet again (heroin) and left baseball for two full seasons (2006 and 2007). He has since comeback to mixed results in 2008 but bottomline it was a bust.
Who They Could've Had: Chad Billingsley (24th overall)
Being a competitive team, the Marlins decided to go the college route in 2004 by drafting Taylor Tankersley out of the University of Alabama (27th overall). The Marlins' M.O. is to draft high schoolers in the first round. While Tankersley has been good at times he hasn't turned out to be the pitcher the Marlins coveted in the draft.
The Career: Tankersley had two pretty good seasons in 2006 and 2007 with a 8-2 record and one of the Marlins great bullpen lefties but he has struggled since then. Tankersley is 0-1 with an 7.83 ERA in 52 games between 2008 and 2010.
Who They Could've Had: Huston Street (compensatory round), Dustin Pedroia (2nd round)
Continuing a trend of drafting pitchers in the first round, the Marlins drafted Brett Sinkbeil (19th overall) out of the Missouri State University. The Marlins were in the mist of a rebuilding mode and needed to reload with a college arm to get to the major leagues faster. The verdict is it hasn't worked for either side thus far.
The Career: Sinkbeil has yet to make the major leagues and is currently pitching in triple A (New Orleans). Sinkbeil has amassed a 19-25 record, 4.83 ERA in 158 games. He has been converted in to a reliever from a starter and this season Sinkbeil is doing nothing to warrant a call-up with a 5.71 ERA in 58 games.
Who They Could've Had: Ian Kennedy (21st overall); Joba Chamberlain (compensatory round)
You might be thinking two things here. One, how is Matt Dominguez a disaster? And two, aren't I noticing a trend in disaster first rounds in back to back years? While the latter is true ('93 and '94, '97 and '98, '03 and '04, and '06 and now '07), Dominguez still has time to be up with the Marlins and as such isn't a disaster by his play but rather who they could already have in the starting lineup right now.
The Career: Dominguez was drafted 12th overall in 2007 as many saw this as Miguel Cabrera's probable replacement due to the impending trade of him because of rising salary. Dominguez might not be up for another few years, the issue with him is he isn't sound offensively and has committed 17 errors at third base in Double A Jacksonville. He has only hit 46 home runs, 219 RBIs in 375 games which isn't the kind of offensive you want from a hot corner.
Who They Could've Had: Jason Heyward (14th overall)