The Miami Marlins have to hit on this year’s draft class. As teams prepare for the 2017 MLB draft which will be held on Monday, the Marlins’s have to make sure that they hit homeruns with their first three picks in the first 51 selections.
Team appeared to have secured its number one starter of the future when it selected Braxton Garrett last year with the seventh overall selection. But as of last week the pitcher was shelved with an elbow injury that might require Tommy John surgery. He has pitched all of four minor league games.
Per Tim Healey of sun-sentinel.com, Vice President of Scouting Stan Meek and his amateur scouting department have been busy canvassing the country for months — including up to and through college baseball’s national tournament this weekend — to capitalize on that defeat by finding the best player to turn into a first-round millionaire.
“It makes it easier to get up at 3:30 a.m. every morning and get on a plane, knowing you’re going to get to pick somebody in the first round,” Meek said.
Things are different this year. A 79-82 record will do that. Now that the Miami Marlins have the 14th pick, they play a waiting game. It’s not like last season when they grabbed high school pitcher Braxton Garrett at No. 7. Draft order is based on teams’ records the season prior, and they haven’t had to wait this long to make their first pick since 2011, when they took Jose Fernandez at No. 14 overall.
And that is the best pick they have made in the past 15 years.
Per Healey, among the names the Marlins are linked to in various mock drafts from those who are experts in the field (Baseball America, CBS Sports, MLB.com): Shane Baz, a Texas high school right-hander; David Peterson, a University of Oregon lefty; Jordan Adell, a Kentucky high school outfielder; D.L. Hall, a Georgia high school lefty.
All could help this team in the future. How soon they would make the jump to the Majors really depends on development in the minor league system. The Miami Marlins minor league system is void of quality pitchers who could make an impact on the next level. Jarlin Garcia was in the minors, spent time as both a starter and reliever in Jacksonville before an early season call-up. Dillon Peters, who is was impressive in Spring Training, broke his hand while in Jacksonville and there is no timetable when he will resume throwing.
“We’ve always looked for impact pitching,” Meek said. “You can’t be [drafting] for need necessarily. You’re trying to look for the best guy. But if you can find a guy you really, really like as well as [someone] that fits what you want, it’s great.”
The other significant difference for the Marlins this year is the presence of that extra opening-day pick, in competitive balance round A — one of six spots between the first and second rounds, awarded to teams based winning percentage and revenue.