The Marlins spent most of the second day of the Major League Baseball draft loading up on pitching — college pitching in particular.
But before they got to that, they started Tuesday by taking a speedy high school center fielder in 18-year-old Isaiah White (6-0, 170 pounds) of the Greenfield School in North Carolina.
“The kid we liked outside of [Josh Naylor, whom] we took in the first round, is the guy that went next, which was [Garrett] Whitley, [who went 13th to the Rays],” said Stan Meek, the Marlins’ vice president of scouting. “[White] reminds us a lot of [Whitley].
“He’s a top-of-the-charts speed player. He came and worked out for us late, hit the ball out of this ballpark in [batting practice], which you know is a big ballpark. So we really think he’s a true center fielder.”
The Marlins then loaded up on pitching on six of their next seven picks, taking UCLA right-hander Cody Poteet (6-1, 2.65 ERA in 2015) in the fourth round and 6-6, 230 pound left-hander Justin Jacome (7-5, 2.70 ERA) of UC-Santa Barbara in the fifth round before taking Sarasota Riverview High catcher Justin Cohen, a Florida State signee, with their sixth-round pick.
“He’s indicated to us that he didn’t want to go [to college] if we made it work for him,” Meek said. “He’s an athletic kid, worked out for us late and we liked everything we saw. Plus arm, solid receiver and we think there’s some bat there. So, we think we’re getting an athlete behind the plate. We really like that one if we can get him signed.”
Meek said he doesn’t think any of the college pitchers the Marlins drafted — and they picked six in all — will be on the fast track to the big leagues. “Probably the normal path for those guys,” Meek said.
The Marlins took right-handed pitchers with their final four picks Tuesday: Travis Neubeck (6-2, 180) of Indian Hills Community College (Iowa); Texas A&M signee Chris Paddack (6-4, 195) of Cedar Park, Texas; Reilly Hovis (6-3, 195) from the University of North Carolina and 6-4, 250-pound Kelvin Rivas of Oklahoma Baptist University.
Paddack hits 94 to 95 mph on the radar gun and is “a really nice projection guy,” Meek said. Hovis had Tommy John surgery in March, but he’s a player the Marlins had rated as a third-round pick. And Meek said Rivas “is a big boy, but for his size he has pretty good body control. We’re comfortable with him.”
▪ Wednesday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (4-3, 3.72 ERA) at Blue Jays RHP Aaron Sanchez (5-4, 3.55), 12:37 p.m.
▪ Thursday: Marlins RHP David Phelps (2-3, 4.68) vs. Rockies TBA, 7:10 p.m. at Marlins Park.