FUTURE FISH: The Draft Will Start The Process Rolling

Larry Blustein
May 24, 2018 - 12:27 pm

Larry Blustein

• FIRST IN A TWO-PART SERIES

When new ownership took over the Miami Marlins in the offseason, the battle cry began for rebuilding the farm system.

Even though there were a number of prospects brought in with the trades that were made, and the farm system started to energize, the true rebuilding of this franchise will begin June 4-6.

When the Major League Draft is held, the Marlins will try and right some wrongs that have taken place over the past decade. Two first round pitchers who had to go through Tommy John surgery before they were 20 is truly not a way to keep up with better teams in the game.

The Marlins have not drafted well. Oh sure, they came up with a number of solid prospects, but they were either traded away or never lived up to the scouting.

Like any sport, you can say that you are going to do this or that, but until you actually start making good on the selections you choose, your team will stay near the bottom and that is a fact.

Good scouting and knowledge of the game is everything - in any sport - but baseball is certainly something that you need to see prospects over and over again. Whether it be college or high school, you need to project and have a sense of what a player is capable of doing.

Since 1992, when they selected catcher Charles Johnson out of the University of Miami, the franchise has gone with 12 pitchers in the first round. 

Pitchers are always good first round investments - although getting a Jose Fernandez (2011) and Josh Beckett (1999) are not something that happened enough.

As the Marlins and the new ownership will pick 13th in the opening round this year, choosing a player who will be successful from rookie ball to the big leagues is always the objective, but the one thing that this franchise needs to do is concentrate on the entire draft - and not just the one who may or may not be that “superstar” that many are searching for.

The amazing part of the total draft the past five years is that it didn’t even take long to play out. Trades and injuries took care of some athletes who were highly respected.

For every Kyle Skipworth (catcher, 2008) and Jeffrey Allison (pitcher, 2003), there were selections deeper in the drafts those years that worked out better than those two. But that happens all the time.

WHO DO THE FISH START OUT WITH?

Over the next two weeks, we will take a look at this year’s draft - and see what prospects that the Marlins may have a chance of landing with the first few picks.

Even though Derek Jeter and his new team of experienced baseball people have been hard at work - getting ready for this draft - some of baseball’s best minor league franchises (Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Atlanta and Pittsburgh) all select before Miami - and they are stacked for the long run.  

While getting Florida’s Brady Singer (RHP), South Florida’s Shane McClanahan (LHP) or Oregon State shortstop Nick Madrigal will be impossible, there are 5 players the Marlins certainly should be able draft.

Let’s look at these gifted prospects:

L/R - Griffin Conine, OF, 6-1, 200, Duke: The son of “Mr. Marlin” Jeff Conine - he has been tearing it up since leaving Pine Crest High School. By his sophomore year, this impressive talent showed he was certainly big league material. His 26 career homers is among the best in ACC history. Had 56 extra base hits in three years. A solid defensive player who would be a huge opening round selection.

R/R - Mason Denaburg, P/C, 6-4, 195, Merritt Island, Fl.: Easily one of the best athletes in this year’s draft, many who have watched him play feel that no matter what he does - either pitch or catch - or even play quarterback on the football field, which he did the past three seasons for the Mustangs, he will be a major success. He is a University of Florida commit, but his 97 mph fastball and skill level, will make him too valuable to pass up!

R/R - Jeremy Eirman, SS, 6-0, 190, Missouri State: This is one of those true talents who gave the Bears a major lift the past three years. Was a two-time All-American, but got off to a slow start this season - rebounding and showcasing his skills as a hitter and as a defensive player in the field. Many have him rated higher than others, but as a prospect, he has everything you are looking for. Another talented player who should climb the ladder quickly.

L/L - Jared Kalenic, OF, 6-1, 195, Waukesha, Wisc.: There are many layers of this quality talent who combines power, speed and a solid throwing arm with the ability to play this game at a high level. While he is going to be 19 in July, which makes him one of the older players in the draft, he is definitely a mature player who could accelerate quickly through mostly any farm system - maybe giving him a late 2020, early 2021 arrival in a big league city. He is a Louisville commit.

R/R - Kumar Rocker, P, 6-5, 250, North Oconee Bogart, Ga.: If this were the old Marlins’ regime, a player like this may conjur memories of Tyler Kolak, another 6-foot-5 first rounder who has been coming back from arm surgery. But this is a different kid, here. Yes, they both throw in the high 90’s, but Kumar has three solid pitches - as he works on developing more. Nothing not to like about the son of former NFL standout Tracy Rocker.

NEXT WEEK: We bring you more possible first round draft selections, provide the draft order - and maybe sneak in a few other players to keep an eye on.

CATCH THE FISH ALL SUMMER

Here is a look at the past blogs we have done - to showcase the Miami Marlins Minor League players:

The ‘Hot Corner’ Still Needs Quality Prospects. https://wqam.radio.com/articles/future-fish-hot-corner-still-needs-quali...

Searching For Stability Up The Middle. https://wqam.radio.com/blogs/larry-blustein/future-fish-searching-stabil...

First Base Always Has Someone To Step In. https://wqam.radio.com/articles/future-fish-first-base-always-has-someon...

Revamping The Outfield Is A Must - Soon! https://wqam.radio.com/articles/future-fish-revamping-outfield-must-soon

Prospects Catching On Behind The Plate. https://wqam.radio.com/articles/feature-article/future-fish-prospects-ca...

Strong Pitching Will Be Essential. https://wqam.radio.com/articles/feature-article/future-fish-strong-pitch...

Can Trades Turn The Farm System Around? https://wqam.radio.com/blogs/larry-blustein/future-fish-can-trades-turn-...

Larry Blustein has followed, covered and worked in minor league baseball for over 50 years, tracing careers from the draft to major league rosters - and beyond. This look into the Marlins’ farm system will be a regular blog - throughout the summer. In addition, we will be breaking down the first June Free Agent for this new ownership.