Fish Bytes

Marlins’ first-round pick has ties to team

Baseball America ranked Trevor Rogers, right, a lefty pitcher out of Carlsbad, New Mexico, as the publication’s 30th-best overall prospect in its pre-draft issue.
Baseball America ranked Trevor Rogers, right, a lefty pitcher out of Carlsbad, New Mexico, as the publication’s 30th-best overall prospect in its pre-draft issue. AP

Cody Ross was a fan favorite when he was a Marlin.

Now the Marlins are hoping his cousin, left-hander Trevor Rogers out of Carlsbad (N.M.) High School develops his own following in South Florida at some point down the road.

The Marlins made Rogers their top pick — 13th overall —— in Monday’s draft.

Marlins scouting director Stan Meek described Rogers as a cross between former Major League pitchers Mark Mulder and Randy Johnson in terms of look.

“He’s kind of in the loose, lanky mold,” Meek said. “We just liked how the body worked, the way the arm looked. We liked his delivery. He’s 6-6, loose, and a strike-thrower.”

Rogers throws a fastball, slider, curve and change-up.

A couple of college hurlers were still available to the Marlins when it came turn for them to pick. North Carolina’s J.B. Bukauskas was still available, as was Florida’s Alex Faedo, both right-handers. But they opted for a high school lefty for the second straight year after taking Braxton Garrett with their top pick in 2016.

“We just felt like he had more upside than any of the college guys we were looking at,” Meek said.

None of the past four first-round picks for the Marlins ever played a game for them. Two (Colin Moran and Josh Naylor) were traded. And two (Tyler Kolek and Garrett) sustained arm injuries that has stalled their progress.

The last first-rounder for the Marlins to play for them was left-hander Andrew Heaney, who was eventually traded. The last first-rounder to make an impact was the late Jose Fernandez, who was selected with the 14th overall pick in 2011.

There’s no quick path being laid out with the 19-year-old Rogers, who threw two no-hitters, including a perfect game, in high school.

“I had to show my best stuff every single time,” Rogers said of trying to impress scouts. “I knew the competition (in New Mexico) wasn’t that great.”

New Mexico hasn’t exactly been a baseball hotbed over the years. The all-time Major League record for wins by a pitcher born in New Mexico belongs to Wade Blasingame, who went 46-51.

Rogers has a college commitment to Texas Tech. But the Marlins are confident they can sign him at or near the slot value of $3.9 million for the 13th overall pick.

Baseball America ranked Rogers as the publication’s 30th-best overall prospect in its pre-draft issue, noting that the southpaw “has been inconsistent against inferior competition with a fastball around 88-90 mph.”

But Meek said Marlins scouts had him throwing 90-93 while topping out at 97.

“He’s been healthy,” Meek said. “We got everything we looked for. It’s all tied in to strikes. He’s a little old for the class -- 19. But (J.T.) Realmuto was 19 at the draft.”

Rogers said he is prepared to begin his minor-league journey, predicting it would take him three to four years to make it to the top.

“I know it’s not going to be easy,” he said. “It’s going to be a lot of ups and down times. I know I can make it, but it’s up to me.”

The Marlins selected University of North Carolina outfielder Brian Miller with their competitive balance pick, No. 36 overall. Miller was a freshman walk-on at UNC but developed into a base stealer and defensive stalwart.

Miller hit .343 for the Tar Heels this season while making good on 24 of his 30 stolen base attempts.

The Marlins took North Carolina State shortstop Joe Dunand, nephew of Alex Rodriguez, with their second-round pick.

Dunand set a national high school record at Miami’s Gulliver Prep when he hit home runs in eight straight at bats. Dunand hit .289 with 18 home runs this season at N.C. State.

In an interview with the New York Post, Rodriguez said he used to throw batting practice to Dunand.

“It feels like just yesterday he was down in Tampa or at Yankee Stadium, and I was throwing him batting practice when he was 10, 11, 12 years old,” Rodriguez said in a phone interview with the Post. “And here he is now right on the steps of hopefully what is a long career for him.”

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