Barry Jackson

What analysts say about Marlins’ top two draft picks, including praise from a Hall of Famer

Reaction from analysts on the Marlins’ first two draft picks in Monday’s amateur draft: Southeastern Conference outfielders JJ Bleday (Vanderbilt) and Kameron Misner (Missouri).

On Bleday, the No. 4 four overall pick who was SEC Player of the Year, leads the nation with 26 home runs and is hitting .353 with 68 RBI in 64 games:

MLB Network analyst and former Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd: “I love the kid. He’s a multitalented athlete. He’s just starting to fill out his body; there’s more actually there. Another guy who has exceptional control of the strike zone. He really recognizes pitches early. He’s a hitter that has power. He’s not a power guy that can’t hit. When he’s really going good, he uses the entire ballpark. Profiles well in either corner position of the outfield. He’s exceptionally instinctive defensively and for me, he will only continue to get better.”

MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds: “We all knew he could hit, and the Marlins need offense. He’s very athletic. If you watch his swing, he’s got a little bit of a hitch. He did a little bit of that to add some power. When he drops his hands, hitches, I’ve watched a lot of guys be able to do that and still get back on top of balls. The power, the size, is everything you look for. This is a guy that’s going to fare well in that ballpark, a big park. I like the pick.”

MLB Network contributor, Hall of Famer and 13-time All Star Ken Griffey Jr., while watching tape of Bleday: “He can swing it…. A whole lot stronger than I was at that age. Don’t do anything different. Hitting the ball to all fields, driving in runs, playing solid right field. Just keep it going.”

ESPN’s Keith Law: “Bleday does it unconventionally — he looks like he’s swinging an axe but doing it uphill — yet he’s produced both at Vanderbilt and on the Cape last summer, including 26 homers so far this spring to lead all Division I hitters. He’s a right fielder with the arm and power to profile as a regular there all the way to the majors, but teams will have to accept the unorthodox swing as part of the risk.”

MLB.com’s Jim Callis: “Bleday entered the year as a likely first-round pick, although more in the middle of the first round. Scouts knew he could hit and play right field, but they wanted to see him show more power. Mission accomplished. Bleday led NCAA Division I with 26 home runs entering the NCAA tournament without losing his ability to still hit for average. He immediately becomes the best offensive prospect in the Marlins system.”

ESPN’s Dan Mullen: ”A polished college bat is a great fit for a franchise in desperate need of offense at the big-league level. Miami has gravitated toward athletic players during Derek Jeter’s short tenure, but betting on a bat-first prospect shows a willingness to break from the mold for the right player.”

On Misner, the 35th overall pick who hit .286 with 10 homers and 32 RBI for Missouri, with 20 stolen bases in 21 attempts and a .440 on-base average, with 54 walks and 58 strikeouts, in 57 games:

MLB.com’s Callis: “I love this value here for the Marlins — Bleday in the first round, Misner with their second pick, two great outfielders. [Misner has] the best college body in the draft [and] best college tools in the draft. His SEC performance was a question mark because he hit .222, 39 strikeouts in 30 conference games. Based on tools, based on the physique, [he’s an] easy big-leaguer.”

Griffey Jr.: “Looking at your video. Not a whole lot I can say other than, ‘Wow!’ Nice swing, nice extension. Like how you keep the bat through the zone. I like him.”

ESPN’s Law rated him 34th among all players in the draft, one spot before he was picked: “Misner came out of the chute strongly but has faltered in SEC play as he’s faced better pitching; he has hit .222/.353/.315 in conference play, with a 29 percent strikeout rate. He’s extremely toolsy, above-average in four of the tools, but you’ve got to hit first for the others to matter.”

The Marlins, incidentally, say they viewed Misner as a second-half of the first round talent.

Miami selected Georgia prep shortstop Nasim Nunez with their second round pick, 46th overall.

Here’s my Monday six pack of Heat nuggets.

Here’s my Monday six pack of Dolphins nuggets.

Here’s my Monday story on UM bringing in a JUCO player at a need position.

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