Three South Florida catchers — Jake Anchia, JJ Schwarz and Elih Marrero — were selected Tuesday before the MLB Draft took a pause after reaching 10 rounds. The draft concludes Wednesdaywith the final 30 rounds.
Anchia, a 6-1, 210-pounder who broke major-league star JD Martinez’s school home run records at Nova Southeastern University, was selected in the seventh round, No. 208 overall, by the Seattle Mariners.
As a junior this season, Anchia hit .340 with 12 doubles, 22 homers, 64 RBI and an .1115 OPS. He hit 47 homers in three years, earning attention from scouts, including some calls on Tuesday.
“I had heard that I might go by the end of the fourth round or into the fifth,” said Anchia, who played his high school ball at Archbishop McCarthy. “But when other catchers started to get drafted ahead of me, I got worried.”
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Pretty soon, however, Anchia’s fortunes improved as the Mariners and Phillies expressed heavy interest. The Mariners got there first, calling with a bonus offer that was acceptable to Anchia and his family. Anchia declined to divulge that figure, but the slot for his selection is $208,400.
Once the financials were settled, Anchia became the first NCAA Division II catcher (and third overall player) selected in this draft. As for NSU history, only pitcher Miles Mikolas, who was picked No. 204 in 2009, has ever been selected at a higher slot.
“It makes me feel good that I was one of the best draft-eligible players in ‘D2’ this year,” Anchia said. “It makes me realize all my hard work is paying off.”
Schwarz, who played at Palm Beach Gardens High and is now set to play in the super regionals this weekend with the Florida Gators, was picked in the eighth round (No. 233) by the A’s.
He is hitting .325 with 16 doubles, two triples, 12 homers, 46 RBIs and a .1003 OPS. He won a national title in 2017 and has 49 homers during his Gators career.
Marrero, who was drafted in the eighth round (No. 250) by the Boston Red Sox, led St. Thomas University to the 2018 NAIA World Series, batting .370 with 24 doubles, two triples, nine homers, 80 RBIs and a .1031 OPS.
The 5-7, 190-pounder went to Coral Gables High and Mississippi State before transferring to STU. His father, Eli Marrero, played 10 years of major-league ball as a catcher and has been a minor-league coach.
In addition, two of Elih’s cousins were first-round picks who have played in the majors: outfielder / first baseman Chris Marrero (Monsignor Pace) and infielder Deven Marrero (Plantation American Heritage).
Among other local players drafted on Tuesday:
= Doral Academy third baseman Yency Delgado was picked in the fourth round (No. 108) by the White Sox. The 6-3, 210-pounder hit .480 with three doubles, two triples, 13 homers and 33 RBIs in just 98 at-bats.
= Calvary Christian switch-hitting third baseman Raynel Delgado (no relation to Yency) was picked in the sixth round (No. 193) by the Indians. The 6-2, 190-pounder hit .351 with seven doubles, two triples, two homers, 26 RBIs and a .956 OPS in 77 at-bats.
Both Yency and Raynel played shortstop in high school but are projected as pro third basemen. Also, both signed with FIU but are likely to skip college and sign a pro contract.
= Former St. Thomas Aquinas center fielder Jawuan Harris, a 5-9, 190-pounder now at Rutgers, was picked in the seventh round (No. 22) by the Padres. He hit .246 this year as a junior, but he had a .375 on-base percentage and 22 steals in 27 attempts.
A wide receiver/safety for the Rutgers football team, Harris is the highest-selected Rutgers baseball player in six years. He ranks third in school history with 82 steals, and one of his career highlights was a three-homer performace in 2017 at USC Upstate.
“I’m ready to get started,” Harris told Rutgers’ official website.” I grateful to the Padres for the opportunity.”