With the 43rd overall pick in the 2014 MLB draft the Miami Marlins opted for high school shortstop Justin Twine. Twine is a TCU commit, and attended Falls City High School in Texas where he also pitched and played football. His draft stock began to rise in the last few weeks, and Wednesday he entered Keith Law's (ESPN) top 100 draft prospect rankings for the first time at number 81. He has the perfect body type for a middle infielder (5'10", 195 lbs) with smooth impressive athleticism.
While he is a fantastic athlete, he also excelled as a quarterback in high school, he is still very raw. Most scouting reports rave about his bat speed, running speed, and athleticism, but are concerned about his average throwing arm, long swing and pitch recognition. It is difficult for me to comment much more on his hitting ability without having seen him in person, but from the video it appears the scouting report is correct, and that his swing could use some refining. His athleticism suggests that he might have the ability to stay at shortstop, which would significantly increase his value, but his average throwing arm may mean that his future is at second base. Of course with his speed and athleticism there is also the chance he will make the move to the outfield. Twine will obviously need time to develop if he is ever going to help the Marlins at the big league level. This is a high risk, but high reward pick that is based purely on Twine's potential to develop baseball skills around his tremendous athletic ability. If he develops those skills to match his impressive raw tools Miami may have found their shortstop or second basemen of the future.
The middle infield situation in Miami is anything but consistent, with Adeiny Hechavarria, Derek Dietrich, Ed Lucas, Donovan Solano, and eventually Rafael Furcal filling out the current depth chart. The organization obviously wants long term options up the middle, and Twine provides just that. Other than his development, and the chance he cannot stay at shortstop, the only thing I would worry about is the possibility that he chooses to attend college. TCU is an elite program, so Twine could decide to develop his skills there hoping to become a more complete baseball player, and improve his draft stock.
It is clear the Marlins had specific strategy on Day One of this year's draft. That strategy being to target young, high upside prospects they can develop themselves. Twine joins Tyler Kolek, and Blake Anderson as Day One picks who are extremely talented, but will take time to develop. The organization obviously believes in its minor league system, and hopes that they will be able to extract the immense potential this trio possesses.