Scouting Director Stan Meek certainly made his feelings clear about the weaknesses in the Miami farm system, selecting eight consecutive position players yesterday. The Marlins largely avoided outfield prospects, where the team owns a surplus of talent. Instead, they loaded up on infield players.
3. Ben Deluzio, SS
After targeting a polished college hitter and three pitchers on Thursday, Meek finally went for the toolsy prep bat that he loves to draft so much.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound high school football star stands as by far the best athlete drafted by the Marlins. He boasts plus speed and a fair amount of raw power. Deluzio committed to Florida State solely to play baseball, so I expect that he will sign with Miami.
Meek said that he doesn't envision Deluzio as a shortstop in professional baseball, indicating a move to second base or center field may be in order.
4. K.J. Woods, 1B/OF
Now that Marcell Ozuna has lost his prospect status, the Marlins actually have a shortage of power bats in the minor leagues. K.J. Woods will help alleviate this drought, bringing a potent power tool to the system. Should he sign, he will immediately become the top first base prospect in the system.
I like the Woods pick a lot, and part of that is his age. Whereas Ben Deluzio is one of the oldest players in his high school draft class, Woods is one of the youngest. He won't turn 18 years old for another month. I'm a member of the camp that believes relative age serves as a principal measure of prospect evaluation.
The Marlins will need to work with Woods to help eliminate his tendency to swing-and-miss, but he should be able to adjust. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound body and enormous power potential are too enticing to pass up on.
5. Chad Wallach, C
Perhaps the least inspiring pick of the day, Chad Wallach doesn't offer much upside for the Marlins. He hit well for Cal State Fullerton, and plays well behind the plate. Unfortunately, none of his tools grade as above-average. I envision him as a future back-up.
I'm pleased that Wallach should sign easily, but I can't help but feel that the Marlins could have drafted a much better player here.
Chad is the son of All-Star third basemen Tim Wallach, who hit .257/.316/.416 during a 17-year career.
6. Ryan Aper, CF
The first of three junior college picks yesterday, Ryan Aper crushed the Division II junior college ranks this year, batting .462/.540/.904 with 17 home runs and 53 stolen bases.
Aper possesses legitimate tools to go along with his statistical performance. His solid bat speed, plus speed, and good arm strength should enable him to transition well to minor league baseball.
Despite a commitment to Middle Tennessee State, Ryan Aper agreed to terms with the Miami Marlins today, signing after less than 24 hours.
7. Justin Bohn, SS
Justin Bohn is tough to evaluate properly because of the lack of information available on him. Playing for Feather River College up in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, it's unlikely that many teams scouted Bohn. He did bat .314/.482/.645 against junior college competition this year.
8. Iramis Olivencia, 2B
The Marlins took a local kid in Iramis Olivencia out of Arlington Country Day School. He's small at 5-foot-9, 170 pounds, but he's an athletic high school bat. The Fish have a good track record at developing these type of players, and I imagine they have seen him play quite a lot, so I'll trust their judgment here.
Listed as a second basemen, the Marlins probably like his bat a lot, as amateur shortstops tend to get the most attention.9. Aaron Blanton, SS
I view Aaron Blanton mostly as a money saving pick for the Marlins. By signing the Richland Junior College product cheaply, the team's overall bonus pool remains intact, and they can work to sign more exciting high school players after the 10th round.
I don't mean to suggest that Blanton is completely void of talent. According to scouting reports, he plays shortstop well and has plus speed on the base-paths. He just probably won't hit enough against tougher competition to survive.
10. Carlos Lopez, 1B
Carlos Lopez represents another signability pick for the Marlins. At nearly 24 years old, Lopez would be old even for Triple-A baseball.
Like Chad Wallach, Lopez was a solid performer for Cal State Fullerton. He bat .338/.415/.463 for the Titans this year.
On the one hand, I was glad to see the Marlins target players with some exciting tools. I am hopeful that the team can mold some of them into major league baseball players. On the other hand, I believe the front office reached on some of these picks.
The Marlins likely could have drafted Ben Deluzio in the fourth round and K.J. Woods in the fifth round without trouble. This would have enabled them to take another college pitcher in the third round - perhaps someone like Andrew Mitchell out of TCU.
Yesterday was just a small slice of the draft, however, and not worth rushing to judgment over. When we learn who signs and who doesn't, then we'll have a fuller picture to look at.