Larry Blustein

MIAMI MARLINS: Heading Back To College With J.J. Bleday

Larry Blustein
June 06, 2019 - 2:06 pm

Having been around the Major League Baseball Draft since it began, you learn that nothing is for sure.

What you also learn is that everyone has an opinion – and trusting your own judgement on players is something that we found out 40 years ago.

Through the year – things have changed when it comes to evaluating prospects – with more exposure events, opening the way for more eyes to be on so many players.

Having watched many of these prospects live – at showcase events, video and via televised games, you tend to know a little bit more than the average person, who picks this up in late May, trying to play catch up – and if you know this game, it’s easy to see through the people who do that.

Our pick in this draft for the Miami Marlins was Georgia high school shortstop C.J. Abrams, who had everything that you want to develop. We still believe that the Padres landed the player who has a chance to be special. But so did the Marlins.

Picking at No. 4, there were many directions that this franchise could have moved in – and while signals out of this camp pointed to Vanderbilt right fielder J.J. Bleday all along, Abrams was also someone you hated to pass up.

The former Panama City area (Lynn Haven) Mosley High standout, Bleday has been compared to everyone from Ken Griffey Jr. to any power-hitting left-hander who is athletic and talented.

What Bleday brings to this organization is a solid defensive player who hit an NCAA-leading 26 homers and drove in an eye-popping 68 runs to go along with a .354 batting average as Southeastern Conference Player of the Year.

Watching his progress over the past two seasons – after watching him in high school – his maturity and ability to climb the ladder quickly is what sent the Marlins back to college in the first round – the first time since they selected current Pittsburgh Pirates’ third baseman Colin Moran out of North Carolina.

While he walked more than he struck-out in college this past season, it is something we have seen before. The true measure of Bleday and many others is how they will translate to this next level where they play 150 games and not 50. Pro ball also offers elite pitchers at every turn, so that adjustment is still a major hurdle.

Miami struck gold with University of Missouri outfielder Kameron Misner with the No. 35 pick. Many who have watched him the past two years believe that he could be a steal, playing at a high level in a very competitive conference.

With no big league caliber shortstop in the organization, the Marlins turned to Impressive Nasim Nunez from Collins Hill High School in Suwanee, Ga., in the second round (No. 46 overall).

Nunez, who was watched by several scouts at many showcase events as well as during his high school season, is nowhere near Abrams, but with development and coaching, could mature into someone that has a chance to be much better than anyone they currently have at any of the teams -  and that is a major plus.


The one thing that has been evident over the past year is the Marlins have made a serious upgrade to their scouting department.

In the past, many of their selections were mind-boggling at best, and even though there were some questionable selections this time around, you can see the work that was put in when scouting this year’s group.

Day 2 certainly showed why this organization is on the way up - with potential steals in Round 5 (No. 141)—RHP Evan Fitterer, UCLA and Wright State center fielder J.D. Orr, who was chosen in Round 10 (No. 291). 

Other draft choices, who have a chance to pull some surprises include former West Palm Beach high school standout RHP Anthony Maldonado, an 11th Round selection from Bethune-Cookman, catchers Dustin Skelton (Round 18, No. 531) from Mississippi State and 

(Round 27, No. 801) East Texas Baptist product Casey Combs.

There are a number of others, but as it has been since the draft began, nothing is certain at all.


In addition to those prospects that we highlighted, here is a list of those selected this year - as we await to see which players sign - and how they develop over the next year:

Round 3 (No. 82)—OF Peyton Burdick, Wright State

Round 4 (No. 111)—1B Evan Edwards, North Carolina 

Round 6 (No. 171)—RHP MD Johnson, Dallas Baptist

Round 7 (No. 201)—RHP Bryan Hoeing, Louisville

Round 8 (No. 231)—RF Tevin Mitchell, UC Santa Barbara

Round 9 (No. 261)—RHP Evan Brabrand, Liberty

Round 12 (No. 351)—RHP Chris Mokma, Holland HS (MI)

Round 13 (No. 381)—LHP Zach King, Vanderbilt

Round 14 (No. 411)—LHP Easton Lucas, Pepperdine

Round 15 (No. 441)—CF Javeon Cody, Alvin CC

Round 16 (No. 471)—LHP Andrew Nardi, Arizona

Round 17 (No. 501)—RF Troy Johnston, Gonzaga

Round 19 (No. 561)—C Nate Rombach, Legacy HS (TX)

Round 20 (No. 591)—C Thomas Rowan, UC Santa Barbara

Round 21 (No. 621)—RHP Jhonny Felix, Western Oklahoma State

Round 22 (No. 651)—RHP Codie Paiva, Loyola Marymount

Round 23 (No. 681)—3B Nic Ready, Air Force

Round 24 (No. 711)—RHP Jeff Lindgren, Illinois State

Round 25 (No. 741)—SS Jack Strunc, Creighton

Round 26 (No. 771)—OF Brandon McIlwain, California

Round 28 (No. 831)—RF Lorenzo Hampton, Florida International

Round 29 (No. 861)—RHP John Baker, Ball State

Round 30 (No. 891)—RHP Joey Steele, University of San Francisco

Round 31 (No. 921)—3B Parker Noland, Farragut HS (TN)

Round 32 (No. 951)—LHP Josh Simpson, Columbia

Round 33 (No. 981)—1B Zachary Owings, Eastern Michigan

Round 34 (No. 1,011)—RHP Brock Love, Alabama

Round 35 (No. 1,041)—1B Torin Montgomery, Lake Washington Sr HS (WA)

Round 36 (No. 1,071)—1B Julian Infante, Vanderbilt

Round 37 (No. 1,101)—SS Tyler Causey, Nation Ford HS (SC)

Round 38 (No. 1,131)—SS Tyresse Turner, Gahr HS (CA)

Round 39 (No. 1,161)—LHP Evan Justice, North Carolina State

Round 40 (No. 1,191)—RHP Kade Mechals, Grand Canyon


Throughout the year, we will continue to bring you a look at the talent the Marlins have throughout their farm system.

We hope you will follow the coverage throughout the season:

It’s All About The Farm System & Future.

Building A Contender.

Catching Will Not Be A Problem.

Anderson Is The Future & Present At 3B.

Shortstop Position Is A Work In Progress.

Isan Diaz Is Certainly The Future at 2B.

Young Outfield Talent Is Among The Best Around.

Breaking Down The June Draft - Round 1.

Going For Quality Depth In The Draft.

Larry Blustein has around baseball for nearly 6 decades. From working spring training for the Baltimore Orioles to a 28 year association with Miami Stadium, he has watched some of the best baseball players who played the game during that time. You can reach him at