Some Marlins notes on Friday:
▪ With this Marlins ownership clearly more inclined at this point to build through the draft and trades instead of free agency, drafting becomes more important than ever.
The Marlins have the 13th pick in the first round of the amateur draft on Monday and MLB.com identified a top local prospect as a potential target.
In his mock draft, MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo has the Marlins selecting Plantation American Heritage first baseman/third baseman Tristan Casas.
“In a full-fledged youth movement now, the Marlins could go with some upside here,” Mayo wrote. “Casas joins [Arizona prep third baseman Nolan Gorman] as the high school player with the most raw power, and Casas' name has definitely been on the rise of late. Drafting a kid from their own backyard has a nice ring to it as well.”
According to Maxpreps, Casas hit .446 as a junior (33 for 74) and .387 as a senior (29 for 75). His 52 high-school hits included 11 doubles, six triples and 11 homers.
He also threw nine scoreless innings as a senior, with 19 strikeouts.
Sporting News has the Marlins taking right-handed pitcher Mason Denaburg from Merritt Island High, adding: “Derek Jeter and Co. will make this the fifth-straight year in which the Marlins have taken a high schooler with their first-round pick should they take Denaburg at No. 13. Though he was hampered by injury much of this spring, when healthy, he ran his fastball into the upper-90s and showed the makings of above-average secondary pitches. If he can manage to stay out of the trainer’s room as a pro, he could be a solid front-of-the-rotation starter in a few years’ time.”
The Marlins might want to stay away from pitchers with injury issues; three of their last four first-round picks were pitchers who missed considerable time due to injury once they signed with the Marlins.
Others projected for the Marlins’ range: University of South Florida left-hander Shane McClanahan, California-based prep pitcher Cole Winn, University of Mississippi lefty Ryan Rolison, South Alabama outfielder Travis Swaggerty, Wichita State third baseman Alec Bohm, Wisconsin prep outfielder Jared Kelenic, Tennessee-based prep lefty Ryan Weathers, Florida third baseman Jonathan India and Arizona prep third baseman Gorman.
Bohm, India and Swaggerty would seemingly be the most big-league ready of this group, and Brian Anderson’s ability to play right field shouldn’t deter the Marlins from considering Bohm if they like him.
Sporting News calls Bohm “a 6-5, 220-pound behemoth who has hit for average and plenty of power in his three seasons at Wichita State. He was a Cape Cod League All-Star last summer, finishing in the top five in batting average, RBIs and doubles, while also ending tenth in home runs.” Bohm hit .339 with 16 homers and 55 RBI this season.
Swaggerty, meanwhile, is hitting .296 with 13 homers, and 38 RBI. He could be gone before the Marlins pick.
India is hitting .362 with 17 homers and 44 RBI.
▪ The two pitchers dealt by the Marlins in the final trades of the Jeffrey Loria regime have both encountered health problems.
David Phelps is out for the year for Seattle with an elbow injury and AJ Ramos has struggled for the Mets (2-2, 6.41 ERA) and is on the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis.
Merandy Gonzalez — one of two players acquired by the Marlins in the Ramos deal — showed a live arm in two Marlins appearances (11 strikeouts in 13 innings) before being sent to Double A Jacksonville, where a blister has sidelined him. He has a 2.52 ERA in six minor league seasons, with 61 of 80 appearances coming as a starter.
Gonzalez went 8-1 with a 1.55 ERA at Class A Columbia last season before a promotion to Class A Port St. Lucie.
The other prospect acquired in that Mets deal, center fielder Ricardo Cespedes, hasn’t appeared in a game this season because he has been working in the Marlins' instructional league program. Cespedes, 20, hit .220 in the low level minors last year.
Here’s how the four prospects acquired for Phelps have been doing.
▪ Among Marlins official who lost their jobs under new ownership, several have landed on their feet. Former president David Samson is working as an analyst for CBS Sports HQ. Andre Dawson is running a funeral home. Jim Benedict is working as a special assistant for the Cubs.
Jack McKeon, 87, said he has a standing offer to become a scout for an MLB team that he declined to identify. He said he decided “to take a breather this year. I’m not retiring. I’m just between jobs. I’m enjoying the time off.”
Jeff Conine is among those still mulling their next move.
▪ Outfielder Braxton Lee, who made a push to make the Marlins in spring training, has missed substantial time due to injury (including a hamstring) and is hitting .186 in 12 games at Triple A New Orleans.
Lee, 24, was acquired from the Rays as part of the Adeiny Hechavarria trade, and his .309 batting average at Double A Jacksonville last season tied him for the Southern League batting title.
▪ Keep an eye on Lazaro Alonso, a left-handed hitting first baseman and left fielder who was acquired by the Marlins in the 2016 international draft. Once regarded as the eighth-best prospect in Cuba, the 23-year-old is hitting .386 in 31 games at Class A Greensboro, with 13 doubles, three homers and 20 RBI.