The Miami Marlins pulled their offer for the 35th pick in the 2013 draft, Matt Krook, because of a failed physical. Krook was dominating the PAC-12 at the University of Oregon this year before falling to Tommy John surgery, so the Marlins medical staff judged his health correctly. To make up for that pick the Marlins received the 36th pick in the 2014 draft, which they used to select Blake Anderson, a prep catcher from West Lauderdale High School in Collinsville, Mississippi.
Anderson is a tall athletic catcher (6'4", 200 lbs) who already has good defensive skills behind the plate. He traveled with the East Cobb Braves (one of the best traveling AAU teams in the country) and hit the prospect showcase circuit pretty hard this past year. His arm is arguably his best asset as he consistently hit 92 mph from the mound, while leading his high school team to a 4A State Championship in Mississippi. His bat, however, has a lot of question marks.
After adding 15 pounds of muscle to his lanky frame in the offseason, Anderson saw a big jump in offensive production his senior year. He hit .438 with eight home runs and 14 doubles in 105 at-bats, but scouts question his bat speed and his ability to square up the ball against advanced pitching.
The overall consensus among draft analysts is that the Marlins sprung Anderson a bit early. Baseball America had him ranked as the eighth best prospect in the state and the 216th best prospect overall. There were lots of intriguing prospects on the board who had more widely recognized talent, but there's also reports that Anderson really impressed a lot of teams in recent workouts. Clint Longenecker from Baseball America reported that many teams were interested in Anderson in this range.
Although BA had Blake Anderson lower, there were multiple teams on him in that range. e was not a consensus guy but tools outstrip concensus— Clint Longenecker (@Clint_BA) June 6, 2014
In the end, this isn't the most high profile pickup by the Marlins, but there is a lot to like. According to several reports Anderson is a humble talent who loves to play baseball and is willing to work hard at his game. His plus arm and solid defensive instincts can give him a long career in professional baseball, but the improvement of his bat will dictate just how far he can go.
Many would have liked to see the Marlins grab a more well-known player with this pick, but it sounds like the Marlins targeted a talent they really liked, even if he could have been taken later in the draft.