Miami Marlins draft spotlight: Demetrius Sims, 14th round

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The Miami Marlins selected an athletic shortstop in the 14th round of the 2017 MLB Draft. And one with ties to Miami sports, to boot.

After stacking up on pitching early in the draft, the Miami Marlins started to stray from the recipe early on the third day of the draft. For the second consecutive selection, Miami chose to select a raw athlete with a lot of upside.

Demetrius Sims was one of the better pure athletes that was available in this years draft. As a multi-sport athlete, he brings a level of dynamism that could allow him to rise quickly through the Miami Marlins farm system.

Demetrius Sims might have seen his stock fall some as a result of playing at a smaller school, Bethune-Cookman. But now that he’s been drafted, that doesn’t matter anymore.

If his name sounds familiar, and if he looks slightly familiar to the Miami sports fans, it’s understandable. His brother was drafted by the Miami Dolphins and appeared in 56 games for them. In an interview with MLB’s Joe Frisario, that’s been a huge influence on him:

"“My brother has had a great influence on me,” Demetrius said. “Just him making the NFL has inspired me to take that role in baseball and be a professional. He’s been a big part of it, and our family is just relieved and excited for the opportunity that the Marlins have given me.”"

Sims had the opportunity to play football as well, but passed on it. Baseball is his love, he says. He so wanted to play baseball that he turned down a number of Division I FBS offers to play baseball at Bethune-Cookman.

It paid off, as Sims’ blazing speed made him a fixture at the top of the Wildcats batting order.

Raw tools to be a star

Sims has a long way to go before he is ready to start making noise in professional baseball. He has everything a coach could ask for, but will require significant amounts of development before he is able to produce the way he did in college.

His plate discipline will have to improve. And he’ll need to focus on hitting the ball on the ground more to utilize his incredible speed. Power isn’t his game, and his four career home runs in college prove as much.

As a leadoff batter, strikeouts will have to decrease, walks will have to increase. He drew only 21 walks in his final season at Bethune-Cookman, compared to 54 strikeouts. However, his .323 batting average is everything you could hope for at the top of a lineup.

His professional career has already started, and it’s going well. In only four games playing in the Gulf Coast League, Sims has managed at least one hit in each game. His first two games were multi-hit games.

Next: Miami Marlins draft spotlight: Jan Mercado, 13th round

Sims has a bright future if he is able to develop the finer points of the game. His athleticism is undeniable, and his blazing fast speed is a rare asset. The Miami Marlins will give him every opportunity to succeed.

He has all the makings of someone who could rise through the ranks quickly and become a top prospect. With Dee Gordon locked into a contract for the next few years, Sims would slot in nicely as his replacement at second base.

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