We are less than one week away from the 2014 MLB Draft and, after much speculation, no one knows what is going to happen with the first few picks of the draft. Here at Fish Stripes, we reviewed the prospects of Alex Jackson and Carlos Rodon already, and you can expect more coverage over the weekend of some of the other second-pick talents the Miami Marlins might pursue. But with the draft looming closer and closer, it seems no sources are fully in line with exactly whom the Marlins will select with the second overall pick of the draft.
The reason for this is that no one knows what the Houston Astros might do with the first choice, and that discussion has major implications in Miami. As of this past month, the situation has boiled down to two names: top lefty prep pitcher Brady Aiken and North Carolina State lefty Rodon. But the Astros are traditionally concerned about taking a pitcher, particularly a prep option, with the first selection, as they are wary of the risk of injury. That did not stop them from taking local product and Stanford alum Mark Appel last season, but it may prevent them from going after AIken or Rodon in 2014.
The latest rumors with regards to that is that Houston may opt for a cheaper option at a position player spot, and their eyes may be set on finding a good deal in prep shortstop Nick Gordon, brother of Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Dee Gordon and son of former Major League reliever Tom Gordon. CBSSports's Jon Heyman has the story:
Gordon's decision to skip the Florida high school all-star game triggered speculation he may already have a deal. Although, according to a source close to Gordon (think brother Dee of the Dodgers with more power and a better arm) he only passed on that game for a more mundane reason; he has nothing more to gain by playing, which is most certainly true. If he doesn't go No. 1, he most likely will be gone by No. 5 (Twins), or at the latest No. 7 (Phillies).
One agent predicted the Astros could do the same again, perhaps picking the top player who's willing to do the right deal, which would allow them to spend more later.
"The Astros are all about the deal," another agent said.
For what it's worth, ESPN's Keith Law denied the likelihood of such a move, which would be seen as a huge deviation from expectation.
I wrote about the Houston/Nick Gordon rumor on Tuesday but said I didn't buy it, and I still don't: http://t.co/BIFs0H5Y88— keithlaw (@keithlaw) May 29, 2014
It seems like most sources would find the move extremely unconventional and possibly a poor decision given the talent at the top, but the Astros may want to make waves by avoiding prep pitching talent and may be concerned about Rodon's negotiations as a Scott Boras client.
The decision the Astros make would have implications on Miami's choices. The Marlins have been tied to any number of the top three pitchers along with prep catcher and consensus top position player Alex Jackson. But in the latest mock drafts, all shown updated here by DC Pro Sports, the Marlins have little to no consensus in their selections.
Since updates from May 19, the Astros have been tied to essentially Rodon or Aiken, with no other names listed. But Miami has been listed with all three pitchers and Jackson in almost equal numbers. If you include Keith Law's second mock draft (which we covered here) along with the 12 drafts listed above and the sites SB Nation's consensus draft considered, you can see the evenness in which each name appears:
No other player is in serious consideration at this point. The most pointed-out selection is Jackson, and that pick has been mocked three times when Aiken is selected first and twice when Rodon is picked. All instances of Aiken being mocked are when Rodon is picked and vice versa. Kolek appears three times and has some connection to the Marlins' history of drafting prep pitchers.
While Jackson appears most often recently, his name is the one tied second-most in terms of insider consensus ("word has it" and such) behind Rodon. There have been mixed signals regarding owner Jeffrey Loria's involvement in insisting Rodon is picked if available. But even if that is an absolute truth, his selection would still depend most on what the Astros do, while there is no indication that the Astros will select Jackson that early. If you had to pick an "industry consensus" most likely choice right now, the most logical one would be Alex Jackson because of the lack of dependence on the Astros' actions at the top.
What do you Fish Stripers think? Which one of these top players would you like to see, and do you think the industry is right to expect Jackson?