The Book of Mike

"This is no junior college. This is the notorious University of Miami.” -- Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis, after getting knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Canes.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Marlins Release Wayne

It's not the attention grabbing topic that you might have speculated that it would be a few years back. It just hasn't worked out that way for Justin Wayne in pro baseball.

As a collegian though, he was all-everything. He holds numerous Stanford pitching records (which is no small feat, when your school plays in a tough conference and has been staffed by legions of future major leaguers over the years - including Mike Mussina and Jack McDowell). He was all-everything as a high schooler in Hawaii too (what a life for this guy!).

But after the Expos made him the fifth overall pick in the first round of the 2000 draft, things didn't go quite as expected. Sure, he'd run up a 31 - 5 record as a collegian, but that didn't make him ready for the majors. He spent a few years in the minors, eventually making his first appearance with the Marlins in September of 2002.

How did he end up with the Marlins, you ask? He was drafted by the Expos, right? Well, when Loria and Co. moved from Montreal to Miami one of the prospects they were saddest to leave behind was Wayne. So when the time came for deadline deals in 2002 the Marlins made sure to have Wayne included in the deal that sent Cliff Floyd north of the border.

Wayne was still highly regarded then. Back in late 2002 most folks probably saw him as an integral part of the Marlins rotation by this point in 2005. But for whatever reason he's not. Injuries, like they do to so many, got in the way. So too did a lack of overwhelming minor league stats, which usually help push a prospect to the big leagues.

That's all in the past now for Wayne. The Marlins have released him, so if he makes it back to the major leagues, it will be with another club.

It will be interesting to see what becomes of Wayne now. He's still young (not quite 26 yet) and he does have that first round arm that teams used to be enamored with. His major league strike to walk ratio isn't that impressive (about 1-to-1), but his minor league rate was a much more respectable 2-to-1.

This has Braves reclamation project written all over it.


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