MLB Draft 2014: Miami Marlins select Ben Wetzler in ninth round

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

In the 9th round of the MLB Draft, the Miami Marlins took a chance on embattled starting pitcher Ben Wetzler.

One of the more interesting names taken in the middle rounds of the draft by the Miami Marlins is Ben Wetzler, the left-handed starting pitcher from Oregon State. The Marlins snagged Wetzler (6'1", 195 lbs) in the 9th round with the 257th overall pick.  The accomplished senior starting pitcher features a fastball that lives in the low 90s, a decent slider, and a fantastic changeup that could be a very good "out pitch" at the major league level. He does not possess elite "stuff" that scouts drool over, but his fastball and slider are at least average, and that changeup is very effective. While over his last two seasons Wetzler has put up great numbers and proven he can get good hitters out, he has had an interesting year to say the least. His unusual senior season was marred by a bizarre suspension, and an arrest.

During his junior season, in 2013, he pitched extremely well, resulting in a 10-1 record, a 2.25 ERA, and a rise in Wetzler's draft stock. He was taken in the 5th round of the 2013 MLB draft by the Philadelphia Phillies, but opted not to sign to finish out his senior season at Oregon State. In what appears to be a cowardly, spiteful, and vindictive move, the Phillies reported Wetzler to the NCAA after he decided against signing with them, saying he violated the rules by using an agent during contract negotiations. The rule is said to be broken on a regular basis but usually teams do not feel the need to tattle on kids just trying to be fairly represented during an extremely important moment in their professional lives. The Phillies were severely criticized by baseball media members during this process but it did not deter them in their quest to smear Wetzler's name and take away part of his senior season.

Regardless of whether or not it was the right decision by the Phillies, Wetzler did in fact break the rule and was suspended for 20 percent of his senior season at Oregon State. That resulted in Wetzler missing 11 games to start the year. When he completed his suspension Wetzler proved he did not forget how to pitch. In 104 innings he posted a 0.78 ERA with 83 strikeouts and a .143 opponents' batting average.

In the midst of all this on field success, Wetzler hit another stumbling block. In May he was arrested for criminal trespassing, and criminal mischief after he drunkenly tried to enter a house he thought was his own. After the incident Oregon State head coach Pat Casey suspended him for 5 games as punishment.

His fall all the way to the 9th round could indicate that some organizations may have seen these issues as something to be wary of, but it just sounds like a college kid who did something stupid one evening. Having a player drunkenly wander around town is not ideal, but I would not worry about it dictating whether or not Wetzler can get hitters out.

If Wetzler can get his minor off the field problems straightened out, he could be an intriguing prospect. He may not have as high a ceiling as some of the other Miami picks during this year's draft, but currently Wetzler projects as a back of the rotation starter who could stay in the major leagues for several years if he continues to develop command of all three pitches.

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