Miami Marlins draft spotlight: Matt Givin, 20th round

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MIAMI, FL - JULY 11: A detail of the MLB logo on a pair of pants during batting practice for the 88th MLB All-Star Game at Marlins Park on July 11, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JULY 11: A detail of the MLB logo on a pair of pants during batting practice for the 88th MLB All-Star Game at Marlins Park on July 11, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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The Miami Marlins rolled the dice and pulled out their wallet with their 20th round selection in the 2017 MLB Draft. It’s paying off early.

If his first year of professional baseball is any indication, Matt Givin will be worth every penny. Givin is a right-handed pitcher out of Rock Canyon High School in Colorado with all the raw tools you could hope for.

As a prep righty, he faces a long road to before arriving in the Major Leagues. But when he does, he could be as good as anyone in the league. Barely 18-years old when he made his first professional appearance, Givin posted some gaudy numbers in limited appearances.

He figures to start 2018 in the Gulf Coast League again; rookie ball. But if he has similar success he won’t stay there long.

Givin slipped all the way to the 20th round because of strong commitment to Xavier University. His older brother Chris is entering his senior season there, and it was all but a given that he’d be following in his footsteps.

Many scouts felt there was no way he’d sign and didn’t want to waste a pick. In the 20th round, Miami decided to take a flyer on enticing the youngster and it paid dividends. Givin signed for a whopping $458,000, the fifth highest of any player in the Miami Marlins 2017 draft.

His total signing bonus was worth $378k more than the Micah Brown, taken one round ahead of him. It was enough to convince him, and he officially signed with the Marlins on July 6th.

The Miami Marlins are in no rush with Givin, and they slow played his transition into professional baseball. Working out of the GCL Marlins rotation, he made his first start July 28th.

Performing well in limited action

To be sure, he’ll need to be developed further and work on a third pitch. But having a 90’s fastball and plus curveball out of high school is a good starting point. He’s already further along than many collegiate prospects.

He proved it right away.

By design, Givin threw only one inning in his first professional start. The Miami Marlins intended to stretch him out over time. He made seven starts, and pitched as many as five innings only once. It’s worth noting he was never pulled from the game due to effectiveness.

Givin threw a total of 23.1 innings in his first professional season, allowing only one earned run and limiting opponents to a .253 OBP. His ERA was an astronomically low 0.38, and he averaged a game score of 56.

His 0.943 WHIP looks more like a typo than an 18-year olds stat line.

Givin was an average 2.4 years younger than his competition in the Gulf Coast League. He’s still growing into his body and could gain a few ticks on the radar gun over the next couple of years. The ceiling is unbelievably high for Matt Givin

Next: Marlins draft spotlight: Micah Brown, 19th round

Committing such a large sum to prep right hander is always a gamble. It’s not always clear how raw skills will develop, and the jump from high school to professional baseball humungous. But Givin proved the Marlins made a good decision his first year of professional ball.

Keep an eye on him, he could rise quickly.

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