Next up, a look at the Marlins' spending on amateur players…
- Josh Beckett, $3.625MM (1999)
- Adrian Gonzalez, $3MM (2000)
- Livan Hernandez, $2.5MM (1996)
- Kyle Skipworth, $2.3MM (2008)
- Jason Stokes, $2.027MM (2000)
Touted as the best high school pitching prospect ever, Beckett received the largest contract ever given to a prep pitcher when he agreed to a big league contract guaranteeing him at least $7MM as the second overall pick. He made quick work of the minors, debuting for Florida in 2001. Two years later he was the World Series MVP, and two years after that he was traded to the Red Sox in the blockbuster that brought Hanley Ramirez to the Marlins. Beckett's career with the Marlins consisted of a 3.46 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 609 innings.
Gonzalez was the first overall pick in what is considered one of the worst draft classes in recent memory. He performed well as he steadily climbed the minor league ladder, at least until the Fish traded him and another minor leaguer to the Rangers for Ugueth Urbina to help bolster their bullpen during their 2003 title run. Gonzalez never played a game for the Marlins, and of course has since gone on to star with the Padres.
The Marlins signed Hernandez shortly after he defected from Cuba as a 21-year-old, and less than a year later he was named the 1997 World Series MVP. He remained with the Marlins until the 1999 trade deadline, when he was shipped to the Giants for two players. Livan finished his Marlins' career with a 4.39 ERA in 469.2 innings.
Stokes was selected with the 41st overall pick in 2000 after setting the Texas single-season high school record with 25 homers, but injuries (most notably to his hand and groin) derailed his career. He was pretty much through with baseball by 2007, after a minor league career that saw him hit .275/.349/.507 in 1,904 plate appearances. The Marlins dealt him to Oakland before the 2007 season for John Baker.
Florida took Skipworth with the sixth overall pick in 2008, and he is slowly making his way through the farm system. A career .226/.285/.381 hitter, the 20-year-old had the best season of his career in 2010, hitting .245/.309/.418. It's also worth noting that Miguel Cabrera's $1.9MM bonus (1999) was the largest ever given to a Venezuelan-born player, and stood as the record for close to a decade.