Bour could be Marlins' latest Rule 5 hidden gem

After years in Cubs' farm system, first baseman showing what he can do at big league level

Bour could be Marlins' latest Rule 5 hidden gem

MIAMI -- A surplus of prospects in the Cubs' system allowed the Marlins to nab Justin Bour in the Triple-A Phase of the Rule 5 Draft last December. Now, the 26-year-old first baseman is being given a chance to show whether he fits into Miami's plans for the future.

A left-handed hitter with power, Bour connected on his first big league homer on Friday in Miami's 3-2 loss to Washington at Marlins Park.

At Triple-A New Orleans this season, Bour belted 18 homers and drove in 72 runs in 103 games.

Adding Bour to their organization was a low-risk, potentially high-reward pickup for the Marlins. A 25th-round pick by the Cubs in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Bour envisioned making his mark in the Majors in Chicago. Instead, it is coming in Miami.

"I believed that I was going to make it with the Cubs," Bour said. "But this has been a blessing in disguise, getting picked up by the Marlins and being given the opportunity. I'm continuing to take it all in stride."

Garrett Jones has been the Marlins' primary first baseman this season. But with Giancarlo Stanton out, Jones is seeing some time in right field. That is giving Bour a chance to start at first against right-handed pitching.

Occasionally a team will find a gem in the Rule 5 Draft. The Marlins in 2005 struck it big in the MLB phase of the Rule 5 Draft, selecting Dan Uggla from the D-backs' system.

Uggla and Stanton share the franchise home run record at 154.

"I remember in our meetings seeing some video of him," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "All I knew was he was a power hitter -- a big, strong first baseman and a guy who had a ton of power."

Unlike the MLB phase, players taken in the Triple-A Phase didn't have to make the Opening Day roster. Bour was able to spend most of the season at New Orleans while getting some big league at-bats as early as June. He was a September callup, giving Miami a chance to help evaluate him for next year.

"It's big for me to showcase what I have and how I can play at this level," Bour said. "Just enjoy every opportunity I get, whether it is pinch-hitting or playing at first."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.