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Miami Marlins should feel pressure of draft

After several first round draft picks who struggled to have success at the Major League level, Miami’s front office should be hopeful that the organization’s 2013 draft picks will be successful.

Giancarlo Stanton was selected in the second round of the 2007 draft.
Giancarlo Stanton was selected in the second round of the 2007 draft.
Sarah Glenn

After two months of losing baseball, it isn't the lack of wins that Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and Miami's front office should be concerned with.

Following a season during which the squad struggled with names such as Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes on the roster, Miami's focus should shift to a successful draft in an attempt to build around a young core that is expected to thrive in the coming years.

"We tried the free agent thing," said Stan Meek, the Marlins director of scouting in an interview with the Miami Herald. "It didn't seem to fly, so we're back doing what we've always done, which is scout the best [amateur] players and try to find impact there."

Miami has one of the best in Assistant General Manager Dan Jennings, whose name appeared in any news related to the possible dismissal of current President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest.

However, Beinfest, Jennings, and Meek have had a difficult time drafting athletes in the first round of the draft who are able to prove they belong in the major leagues.

Over the first nine Marlins drafts, during which the players taken were selected by different scouts, notable names include Mark Kotsay, Josh Beckett, and current Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. In the subsequent years, many of which were under Loria, none of the players chosen are currently with the organization.

In the 2002 draft, the then Florida Marlins selected outfielder Jeremy Hermida, who is a career .257 hitter. Left-handed pitcher Taylor Tankersley, chosen the following year, has a 4.58 career earned run average, and Chris Volstad, taken in '03, is a starter with the Colorado Rockies and has posted an 8.53 ERA.

Brett Sinkbeil, chosen in '06 but is now in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, has a career ERA over 13 (13.52), and Matt Dominguez was traded to Houston in the Carlos Lee deal and despite being solid defensively has been consistently challenged at the plate.

Of late, Miami's scouting has arguably improved. Catcher Kyle Skipworth made his major league debut earlier this season, 2010 first round selection Christian Yelich, despite a minor setback, was batting .262 with a .342 OBP in the minor leagues before getting injured, and 2011 pick Jose Fernandez has been impressive but has received nominal run support.

To Miami's credit, the squad's scouting team has been able to find quality talent in the later rounds of the draft.

Giancarlo Stanton was taken in the second round of the 2007 draft, and Logan Morrison was selected in the 22nd round of the 2005 amateur draft. Steve Cishek, with a career ERA below 3 (2.88), was also chosen in the fifth round in '07.

By selecting Colin Moran in the first round on Thursday, Miami is hopeful that they found their third baseman of the future. Moran has a good reputation as a solid defender and efficient left handed hitter.

It isn't necessarily the trades or free agent signings that will determine the front office's fate. It will be the draft picks that are either successful or busts.