The Marlins entered the draft seeking a college bat with their sixth overall pick. They came away yesterday with one of the best, in addition to three solid pitching prospects. Their four-player haul ranks among the strongest of any team.
The front office could have have botched their picks in innumerable ways, perhaps by cutting a deal with a lower ranked player in order to save money. They took the more sensible approach, drafting a good variety of players at or near their expected position.
1. Colin Moran, 3B
Detractors will label this selection as a safe, low-upside pick. There may be a grain of truth to that notion, but I firmly believe that Colin Moran was the best player available on the board. It is merely incidental that Moran projects to reach the majors quickly, and fills a strong organizational need for corner infielders.
If Moran realizes his potential, the Marlins will have an All-Star caliber third basemen on their roster. Excellent pitch recognition and patience bolster fantastic bat speed, creating an extremely desirable offensive package.
I don't buy into any of the talk that Moran will have to move off third base, either. His footwork needs some improvement so that he can reach ground-balls more quickly, but this fault is easily correctable with instruction. His arm strength and hands both rate well for the position.
Moran likely fits in as the second or third best prospect in the farm system, depending on your opinion of Jake Marisnick.
1s. Matt Krook, LHP
Every mock draft I read in the last two weeks predicted that the San Francisco Giants would draft Matt Krook in the first round. They didn't, allowing him to fall ten picks to the Marlins. Krook complements Moran well as a high upside power left-hander. He's the type of player the Marlins might have taken with their first pick in a different year.
I'm extremely pleased with this selection. Left-handed pitchers with mid-90s fastballs and biting curve-balls are valuable commodities. The Marlins will have to help refine his command, but that comes with the territory when drafting high school pitchers.
Krook has a classic tall pitcher's frame, standing at 6-foot-4, and weighing in at 195 pounds. This means he could fill in, and even add a tick or two of velocity to his arsenal of pitches.
Krook has a commitment to play for University of Oregon, so he won't come cheaply. I don't expect the Marlins will have too much difficulty signing him, however.
2. Trevor Williams, RHP
Trevor Williams offers the plus control of four pitches that can only be found in the college ranks. He looks like a solid inning-eater starter that can reach the majors in a reasonable time-frame.
His glaring weakness has been a lack of strikeouts in his college career. This fact doesn't condemn Williams as a prospect. A mid-rotation starter ceiling is fine if he has a strong probability of reaching it.
Perhaps Williams is not the sexiest pick in the draft, but I think the Marlins struck a nice risk-reward balance by taking him here. They went for the high-ceiling pitcher with Krook, and then chose more conservatively in the second round.
I would have preferred San Francisco right-hander Alex Balog with this selection, although I will freely admit that the difference between Balog and Williams is insubstantial. The Rockies ultimately stole Balog away with the 70th overall pick -- just three selections before the Marlins drafted their next player, Colby Suggs.
2s. Colby Suggs, RHP
I generally advise drafting starting pitchers over relievers in the first five or six rounds, as starters can always covert to relievers if they don't pan out. Thus, Arkansas closer Colby Suggs grades as my least favorite pick of the day.
It's not all doom and gloom though. I see a very fine bullpen arm in Suggs, thanks to his animated mid-90s fastball and power curve-ball. He already eclipses the relatively scarce relief options in the farm system.
Suggs should also sign for under-slot value, allowing the Marlins to redirect money to signing Krook.
The draft will continue tomorrow at 1:00 PM EST with an additional eight rounds. There are still four players left on the board that were projected as first round talents, including high school catcher Jonathan Denney, high school right-hander Connor Jones, and Mississippi right-hander Bobby Wahl. I doubt the the Marlins have the financial flexibility to sign Denney or Jones, so I would like to see them take a stab at Wahl.