As we saw last year with the Houston Astros and Brady Aiken, drafting a player in the first round is just a step towards adding a drafted player to your roster. The usually more difficult thing is coming to terms with the pick and getting them to sign a contract.
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Luckily for the Miami Marlins, they are close to signing their first round pick, this according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
"The Marlins are close to signing prep power hitter Josh Naylor, from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, the No. 12 overall pick … Marlins execs Jeff McAvoy and Brett West deserve kudos for finding big first baseman Justin Bour in the minor-league Rule 5 draft, where it’s rare to find such a gem … Steve Cishek looks like an early non-tender candidate after the season."
Despite being ranked as the 59th-best prospect by MLB.com, 61st by Baseball-America, and 49th by ESPN’s Keith Law, the Miami Marlins went ahead and selected Josh Naylor with the 12th overall selection. In a draft lacking a ton of power hitters, the Marlins took a gamble on the guy with the best upside in that department.
Part of the reason the Marlins probably went with Naylor has to be that he should be a pretty easy sign, likely coming well under the Marlins allotted draft slot of 3,051,800. Savings on the Naylor pick could give the team more money to sign the guys that were seen as harder signs before the draft that tumbled.
This is what ESPN’s Keith Law had to say about the Marlins selecting Naylor with the 12th pick (ESPN Insider required).
"Josh Naylor, Miami (12th overall): Naylor can hit and has power, with comparisons to Prince Fielder … in body as well as in bat. He’s listed at 225 pounds and may be heavier, with a body type that seems likely to get heavier; he’s a first baseman who might end up a DH. It’s first-round power for sure, and scouting director Stan Meek has always preferred players with size, but between the possible lack of a position and the work Naylor will have to do to stay in shape, there’s a lot of risk here."
While Naylor’s power profiles well, his hit tool and defensive position are going to be major question marks moving forward.
Naylor does not profile as a guy that can play either of the corner positions in the outfield and there are already questions about his defense at first. If he has difficulties playing first base, his future may very well be at the DH position, something the National League does not have the luxury of having.
Who knows, Naylor could turn out to be a great player and prove the Miami Marlins right for drafting him. The sooner he signs, which looks to be close, the sooner he can prove that.
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