Miami Marlins draft spotlight: Brady Puckett, 15th round

DENVER - MAY 31: Starting pitcher Jorge De La Rosa
DENVER - MAY 31: Starting pitcher Jorge De La Rosa /

With their 15th round selection, the Miami Marlins returned to the pitching well in the MLB Draft. This time, they went with a power-pitching right hander.

The Miami Marlins chose to go with a player that fits their mold in the 15th round. Brady Puckett is a Chris Volstad type pitcher who has shown improvement at each level throughout his career. Puckett was drafted as a junior out of Lipscomb University.

This wasn’t the first time that Puckett was selected in the Major League Baseball draft. Following a dominant senior year in high school, the Mets made him their 33rd round selection in 2014. He passed, and instead improved his draft stock by nearly 20 rounds in three short years.

Puckett has a lot of upside, and could become a viable arm for the Miami Marlins as he gets comfortable against the higher level of competition.

That’s been his pattern throughout his career. After playing high school ball through his first three seasons, Puckett was a wizard on the mound for Riverdale Warriors as a senior. His 6-1 record and 1.51 ERA were best on the team.

After passing on the Mets’ offer and joining Lipscomb in the Atlantic Sun Conference, he had an average season as a freshman. Puckett went 7-3, with a 4.54 ERA in 79.1 innings. Those numbers included 15 appearances, 11 of which were starts. He threw two complete games as a freshman.

Things only got better from there, though his sophomore year might have been his best. He went 9-2 that season, compiling a 2.93 ERA and throwing three complete games over 107.2 innings.

Puckett regressed slightly as a junior, though not enough to consider his sophomore season an abiration. The Marlins selected him in good faith that he’ll one day learn to utilize his tremendous height and ramp up his velocity.

Fitting the mold

Puckett is a big guy. He stands at 6-foot-8, and weighs in a 220-pounds. His height creates a downward angle that makes it difficult for batters to pick up the ball coming out of his hand. He’ll need to learn how to locate and mix his pitches better now that he is playing agains professional hitters, though.

In his first season in the Gulf Coast League, the Miami Marlins have him coming out of the pen. He’s appeared in two games, throwing 2.2 innings and allowing 4 hits, and one earned run. He’s walked two batters, but also struck-out two batters en route to a 3.37 ERA.

Next: Miami Marlins draft spotlight: Demetrius Sims, 14th round

The potential for Puckett is high, and it was certainly recognized while he pitched in college. The accolades he received include an Atlantic Sun Pitcher of the Year award in 2016, as well as five Pitcher of the Week awards.

Puckett could be a player who rises through the ranks in the Minor Leagues after a few years of seasoning. Don’t expect to hear his name right away, though. His track record is that of a player who needs to adjust to the level of competition before he comes to dominate it.