Will the shortened MLB Draft allow the Miami Marlins to get the players they want and continue the growth of their minor league system?
The Miami Marlins have a major decision to make in MLB Draft on Wednesday night.
The franchise has the third overall selection, a growing farm system, and players who are developing into future stars. Best of all, the front office led by Derek Jeter is going to select another cornerstone player to build around.
Despite finishing last season is the worst team in the National League, this is a baseball team that can afford to pick the best player available when their name is called. There are a few MLB teams who wish they were in this kind of situation.
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Most publications and websites have the Marlins linked to Texas A&M left-handed Asa Lacy. He is projected to be the first pitcher off the board. Most of this depends on what the Detroit Tigers in the Baltimore Orioles to before the Marlins, but if Spencer Torkelson and Austin Martin are the first two players selected, it’s a good bet that Lacy will hear his name called.
Unless… there is a curveball thrown either by the Marlins or the two teams ahead of them.
"“The Miami Marlins have six of the 160 picks — Nos. 3, 40, 61, 75, 104 and 134 — and a $12,016,900 bonus pool to work with if all six players sign to contracts. The club is going in with the mindset that it can still fortify their organizational depth despite a drastically shortened draft,” Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald explains."
Lacy and Emerson Hancock are the top two pitching prospects in the first round, Both could be options for the Marlins front office. Both have the opportunity to become a staff ace. Jeter, president of baseball operations Michael Hill and Marlins director of amateur scouting D.J. Svihlik, the team’s director of amateur scouting should consider both players carefully.
But pitching is not the only direction the team may look at. Don’t count out New Mexico State’s Nick Gonzalez who can play both second base and shortstop and is considered a top-five talent.
"“One thing we talk about is a broader portfolio approach,” Svihlik said via MLB.com. “Everybody wants to talk about the first pick, and I certainly understand that; I’ve done this a long time. But when we look at our Drafts, we want to bring in a group of players that when you sit back and you look at the whole body … it’s not all about just about one player.”"
It cannot be about the one selection if the Marlins are going to become contenders in the next few seasons. The first approach by Jeter was to acquire young arms to develop because the farm system was thinner than paper. He did that in the 2018 MLB Draft and by trading away top MLB star prior to the beginning of Spring Training.
The second wave of draft picks in 2019 are older, more mature, and could hit for power and play multiple positions that were depleted in their minor league system. The plan, although slow and steady, appears to be working.
This draft class, regardless of size, could become the one Miami Marlins fans remember as the group that completes the first part of the growth plan at Marlins Park. This is a Draft that because of timing and limited picks, should get interesting fairly quickly,
"“There’s a lot of moving pieces in the major-league draft,” Svihlik, , said, “and unless you’ve been in a draft room and you’ve watched how dynamic it is and how quickly things change as picks come off the board, it’s hard to even comprehend how difficult and challenging this might be.”"