The Marlins’ goal was to bring in players that could bring athleticism to their organization at important positions and eventually their big-league roster.
This was accomplished quickly on the first day of the draft with its selections of outfielder Connor Scott, shortstop Osiris Johnson and catcher Will Banfield.
The Marlins spent the rest of the three days stocking up on more young talent at those positions and a boatload of mostly college pitchers that if signed could provide a major influx to its farm system in the near future.
“Our intention going into this was to get athletes,” Marlins vice president of player development and scouting Gary Denbo said. “In terms of position players, but with pitchers as well, we want them both to be athletic. We wanted guys that played in the middle of the field, in terms of position players. I think about 80 or 90 percent of the guys that we drafted are either center fielders, shortstops or catchers. Those are the types of players that we targeted. I felt like we did a really good job of identifying those players. Our amateur scouts and our analytics department did a great job getting those guys in the right spots so we could draft them.”
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The exact breakdown went as follows.
Of the 41 picks the Marlins had in the draft, they selected 25 pitchers (22 of which were from college, seven outfielders (including Scott and University of Kentucky standout Tristan Pompey, four catchers, four shortstops and one third baseman.
The Marlins wrapped up their first draft under their new ownership group on Wednesday selecting pitchers with 20 of their final 30 picks with 18 of them being college pitchers.
“We value strike throwers, guys that miss bats and guys that create weak contact and are athletic on the mound with quality repeatable deliveries, guys that can split a breaking ball and have pitch ability,” Denbo said. “We feel like we have a good group we can send to our player development people and we feel like they have an excellent chance to contribute at the major league level.”
Banfield, whom the Marlins took with their Competitive Balance Round B pick between the second and third rounds, comes highly regarded for his defense. Despite being signed by Vanderbilt, the Marlins are confident they can sign him. Denbo spoke about his value and the three other catchers the team chose.
“We value catching,” Denbo said. “It's a very difficult position to find. Teams do not give up catching when they’re trying to do deals at the trade deadline or in the offseason. If you have a catcher who has a chance to produce on offense and is an excellent receiver, it’s just very difficult to acquire those types of players.”
The Marlins next challenge is to sign as many of those players as they can. The club already reached an agreement pending a physical with Scott, their first-round pick.
The Marlins will then begin the process of layering their drafted talent at different levels of their farm system.
Denbo said Jeter, the Marlins’ CEO who called Scott personally to welcome him to the club on Monday night after he was drafted, had plenty of input during the team’s draft proceedings over the past three days.
“Derek was in the room and had a lot to say,” Denbo said. “He believes, as I do, that it’s very important to put good athletes on the field. Above-average players are the types of players that win championships. I know he believes that. He wants players who know how to play the game, not only athletes, but athletes with baseball skills and guys who play the game right.”
GETTING A CHANCE
Ben Meyer knows what it’s like to wait until the final day of the draft to hear your name called. It happened to him in 2015 when the Marlins chose him in the 29th round out of the University of Minnesota.
On Wednesday, Meyer made it to the big leagues for the first time when he was called up from Triple-A New Orleans.
“I think it’s not always a bad thing to go late in the draft,” Meyer said. “It gives guys a little more of an edge, wanting to prove people wrong. That’s kind of what worked for me, put a little chip on my shoulder.”
Meyer, a 25-year old lefty, is 3-4 with a 4.09 ERA in 10 starts (50 2/3 innings) at New Orleans with 39 strikeouts and 14 walks. Meyer would make his major-league debut when he first gets into a game.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly said Meyer will pitch out of the bullpen, but could also make spot starts. He has a 2.97 career ERA in 294 minor-league innings with 297 strikeouts and 72 walks.
“We saw him in Spring Training, and he's a guy who has good stuff,” Mattingly said.
With Meyer’s call-up, the Marlins optioned Odrisamer Despaigne to Triple A, and recalled right-handed starter Trevor Richards officially on Thursday so he could start against the Cardinals in the finale of their three-game series. The Marlins will then move right-hander Elieser Hernandez from the rotation to the bullpen. The Marlins also optioned right-hander Tyler Cloyd, who has an 8.66 ERA in seven appearances, to New Orleans.
Richards, ranked No. 19 in the Marlins’ farm system by MLBPipeline.com, made five starts earlier this season during his first stint with the major-league club going 0-2 with a 4.94 ERA with 24 strikeouts and 14 walks in 23 2/3 innings.
Hernandez’s move was expected as the Marlins are planning to manage his innings this season. Hernandez is 0-3 with a 4.29 ERA in four starts and six overall appearances and gave up five earned runs in three innings his last start Friday in Arizona.
MARLINS DRAFT PICKS
Round, Pick, Pos., Name, School, B/T, Ht., Wt.
1 (13) OF Connor Scott, Tampa Plant, L/L 6-4, 180
2 (53) SS Osiris Johnson, Encinal (CA), R/R 6-0, 181
CB2 (69) C Will Banfield, Brookwood (GA), R/R, 6-0, 200
3 (89) OF Tristan Pompey, Kentucky, S/R 6-3, 215
4 (117) C Nick Fortes, Ole Miss, R/R 6-0, 210
5 (147) RHP Chris Vallimont, Mercyhurst, R/R 6-5, 220
6 (177) C Cameron Barstad, Junipero Serra (CA), L/R, 6-0, 160
7 (207) RHP Cason Sherrod, Texas A&M R/R, 6-4, 215
8 (237) RHP Peyton Culbertson, Arkansas State, R/R, 6-1, 180
9 (267) RHP Jake Walters, Alabama, R/R, 6-0, 190
10 (297) RHP Tanner Andrews, Purdue, R/R, 6-3, 220
11 (327) CF Davis Bradshaw, Meridian CC (MS) L/R 6-3, 175
12 (357) RHP Zack Leban, Univ. of Kansas R/R 6-3, 245
13 (387) C Keegan Fish, Lakota West High (OH) S/R 5-11, 190
14 (417) RHP Eli Villalobos, Long Beach State R/R 6-4, 195
15 (447) RHP Zach Greene, South Alabama R/R 6-1, 210
16 (477) RHP Sam Bordner, Louisville, R/R, 6-5, 228
17 (507) LHP Alex Vesia, Cal State East Bay, L/L, 6-2, 195
18 (537) RHP Zach Wolf, Seattle U., R/R, 5-8, 175
19 (567) RHP Justin Evans, Columbus State U., R/R, 6-0, 175
20 (597) RHP Cam Baird, Texas State, R/R, 6-2, 195
21 (627) RF Connor Grant, North Greenville U., R/R, 6-3, 195
22 (657) CF Milton Smith, Jr., Meridian CC, L/L, 5-10, 165
23 (687) RHP Giovanni Lopez, U. Missouri Columbia, R/R, 6-1, 204
24 (717) RHP Nathan Alexander, UT San Antonio, R/R, 6-4, 185
25 (747) SS Luke Jarvis, Auburn, R/R, 5-10, 191
26 (777) RHP Tyler Jones, Wichita State, R/R, 6-3, 200
27 (807) LF Harrison Dinicola, Texas A&M Corpus Christi, L/R, 6-0, 195
28 (837) SS Gunnar Schubert, Gonzaga, R/R, 5-11, 205
29 (867) RHP C.J. Carter, Troy, R/R, 6-0, 165
30 (897) LHP Garrett McDaniels, Pee Dee Academy (SC), L/L, 6-2, 170
31 (927) OF Steve Scott, Vanderbilt, L/R, 5-11, 200
32 (957) RHP Jake Norton, Stephen F. Austin, R/R, 6-4, 190
33 (987) SS Andrew Martinez, UC Santa Barbara, R/R, 5-11, 175
34 (1017) RHP Joe Strzelecki, Nova Southeastern, R/R, 6-4, 220
35 (1047) RHP Jackson Rose, Minnesota, R/R, 6-2, 185
36 (1077) RHP Riley Egloff, Heritage HS (CO), R/R, 6-4, 200
37 (1107) RHP Robby Martin, Tampa Jefferson, L/R, 6-3, 185
38 (1137) RHP Bryce Miller, Blinn College, R/R, 6-3, 180
39 (1167) 3B Andrew Turner, Long Island U., R/R, 6-2, 190
40 (1197) LHP Andrew Miller, Kentucky, L/L, 6-3, 195