Miami Marlins draft spotlight: Taylor Braley, RHP, Southern Miss, 6th round

Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /

For the third consecutive round, the Miami Marlins selected a right-handed pitcher. This one provides the team versatility in a number of ways.

The Miami Marlins did a good job balancing their draft. The farm system needs new players all over, and the Fish were conscious of that entering the event. They selected a stud left-handed starter with their first selection, their biggest need.

On the second day, they started by selecting second baseman Riley Mahan in the third round. They selected three straight right-handed pitchers in the succeeding rounds. Of all of them, Braley’s numbers are the most eye-catching; both on the mound and at the hot corner.

With their sixth round selection, the Fish grabbed a potential rotation starter, or third baseman.

Braley mystified batters nearly every time he stepped on the mound. Pitching to a 7-2 record and a 3.40 ERA, Braley managed 78 K’s in 82 innings of work. For his impressive performance, he received plenty of accolades and acknowledgements.

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In addition to being named to the 2017 first-team All-Conference USA team, he was also acknowledged by Baseball America as a second-team All-American. And that was only while toeing the rubber.

The Miami Marlins drafted Braley as a pitcher, but he is more than capable at the dish. In his junior year, the Golden Eagle standout batted his way to an impressive .313/.461/.587 slash line. Along the way, he collected 17 home runs and 61 RBI’s.

The Marlins drafted him as a pitcher, because that’s where there is a need. But if he fails to establish himself as a legitimate arm in the rotation, he has the ability to rebrand himself as a slugger.

That is of course, if decides to sign at all. Initial reports indicate that the talented righty might return to Southern Miss for another season.

Pick in limbo?

According to comments made to the Hattiesburg American, Braley isn’t a lock to sign with the club. He’s yet to get down to brass tax with the Miami Marlins dealmakers. When he does, we’ll hopefully be welcoming him to an organization through which he can rise quickly.

"“I haven’t decided anything yet because I haven’t really talked to the Marlins about the money yet,” Braley said. “(The money’s) got to be on up there, but I really haven’t had time to talk to them about. So I don’t know much yet.”"

If the Marlins can convince him, they’ll gain a fastball that can touch the mid-90’s, and a player that has stayed injury free through is collegiate career. After seeing limited time on the mound through his first two seasons, his transition is ultimately what drew the scouts attention.

His secondary pitches will need further development before they’re ready to break out in front of professional competition. But if/when they do develop, Braley’s fastball is undoubtedly Major League quality.

Next: Miami Marlins draft spotlight: Ryan Lillie, RHP, 5th round

Drafting a college heavy class in 2017 has hedged the Marlins bets against losing out on signing a number of their picks. By drafting less fickle college players, they side-stepped a lot of the prep school indecision that can decimate the level of incoming talent.

The Miami Marlins hope that Taylor Braley will sign. A sixth round selection is still a player with a considerable chance to reach the Major Leagues if they apply themselves.