The Miami Marlins used the three days of the MLB Draft to load up on left-handed power hitters for their minor league system.
The one thing the Miami Marlins did over the course of the three-day MLB Draft this week is added a plethora of left-handed bats to its minor league system.
There I go again using the word plethora in a baseball story.
It bears repeating that that Marlins had what could be argued is one of the best Major League drafts in team history, adding college hitters and young high school players who could develop into future stars. The blueprint continues to work for the Marlins front office in the second year of the Derek Jeter era.
Miami continues to remain one of the hottest teams in the Majors and have found a groove with their hitters after a dismal start to 2019, do these moves change the narrative of how soon this organization can compete for a .500 record or even better, challenge for a playoff berth?
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"“According to the numbers, if Marlins Park plays more favorable for anyone, it’s left-handed hitters — in terms of power,” writes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com.“Take slugging percentage: Miami’s left-handed hitters are slugging .395 at Marlins Park, and right-handed hitters are .318. On the road, the team’s lefties have a .412 slugging percentage, while right-handers are at .358.“With that in mind, the Marlins targeted their share of high-impact left-handed hitters in the 2019 MLB Draft, which wrapped up on Wednesday.”"
You can never have too many left-handed pitchers in on your pitching staff and for the team, added lefties in the lineup down the line could mean a shift in the power of a team that has relied on moving runners around the bases more than winning games with one swing of the bat.
The Marlins knew what they were doing with their first round draft picks on Monday and Tuesday. It started with J.J. Bleday of Vanderbilt, who swatted 26 home runners this past season. Kameron Misner of Missouri is another solid contact hitter out of Missouri. Wright State outfielder Peyton Burdick was the third-round pick, and baseman Evan Edwards was taken from North Carolina State University in the fourth round.
Burdick is the only one who swings for the fences from the right side of the plate.
Their progress in the minors, and how the Marlins work to develop them at a steady pace, will determine if the makeup of the 25-man roster changes as soon as 2021.
"“I think anybody would acknowledge that left-handed power is at a premium, especially in our park,” Marlins director of amateur scouting DJ Svihlik said."
The lack of a left-handed power hitter has burdened the front office in recent seasons. Christian Yelich was still developing as a hitter before the team sent him to Milwaukee in a trade last offseason. We saw him win the National League MVP in 2018 and is a candidate to repeat the performance in 2019.
Isan Diaz appears to be the next man up in terms of a minor leaguer ready to make the jump to the Major Leagues. The second baseman who is in line to replace Starlin Castro next season has swatted 12 home runs at Triple-A New Orleans.
There is also Connor Scott, who is currently in Clinton, the team’s new Single-A affiliate. Scott is not a power hitter and should play on the MLB level while batting at the top of the order. Because of past draft classes and the abundance of lefties in this draft, the front office may have hit a grand slam in how they approached their player board this past week.