The Miami Marlins had two selections on the first night of the 2015 MLB Draft, and each prospect that the Marlins picked ended up being a surprise in their own way. The Marlins selected Josh Naylor with the 12th overall pick in the first round. Naylor is a high-school prospect from Ontario, Canada and, while he is currently is committed to Texas Tech, he will only attend there if he is unable to work out a contract with the Marlins
Miami's selection of Naylor came as a surprise for a few reasons, with the first being that Naylor was ranked as the 59th best prospect in MLB.com's top-200 prospects. In final mock drafts, MLB.com had him going 25th and 36th, while Sports Illustrated and Baseball America did not even have him going in the first round. The selection of Naylor also came as a surprise because most mock drafts had the Marlins targeting pitching. Even Josh Naylor himself said that he was surprised to be selected so high.
But, regardless if it was a reach, the Marlins got their 'guy' and VP of Scouting Stan Meek explained why Naylor was Miami's 'guy', via Craig Davis of the Sun-Sentinel:
"This kind of power is really unaffected by the size of this park. He'll hit balls in the upper deck in this park," Meek said. "He is the exception to the rule, and we don't have many of those guys on the circuit. When we find one we try to get involved with him."
"The body's not great. But this guy is a good athlete in that body. He moves around well; he actually runs pretty well for his size," Meek said. "He's exceptional around the bag at first and he's got a plus arm throwing. He's just a guy that jumped out at us and we're happy to have him on our side."
Naylor was considered to be one of the best power bats in this draft, drawing comparisons to Prince Fielder because of his frame and power. When Naylor was 15 years old, he hit a 440-foot home run at Marlins Park en route to winning the International Power Showcase in the High School Home Run Derby. Naylor has played a lot of international ball, sometimes while using a wooden bat, and has had success against pitching above high school level. His exceptional power at the plate led to his stock rising as the draft approached.
What Marlins fans want to know most about Naylor is how fast the club expects him to move through the system. Meek expects Naylor to move faster than a typical high school prospect, via Christina De Nicola of Fox Sports:
"He's advanced," Meek said. "Again, like all of them, as they hit they move. Even though he's 17 -- he's not 18 until later this month -- he is young, but he's really well past his years in terms of experience. I would say he'll move as fast as his bat lets him. I don't think we will any way hold him back as he goes. If he performs I think he'll move pretty quick. I would say he's a guy we would hope would move a little quicker than the average high school guy.
With the 50th overall pick in the second round of the draft the Marlins selected Brett Lilek, a left-handed junior out of Arizona State University. In his career at ASU, Lilek finished 10-8 with a 3.05 ERA and 162 strikeouts in 182.2 total innings.In his junior season, he was 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 78.2 innings of work. Lilek also held batters to a .213 batting average which was the fourth lowest in the Pac-12.
Lilek was a surprise pick because he was considered by many as a first-round talent. Although, past injury history and some struggles he endured this past season were the main reasons why he slipped. After selecting a high-school arm in Tyler Kolek with their first-round pick last year, the Marlins wanted to get a further advanced arm heading into this draft. Stan Meek and the Marlins were very excited to have Lilek fall in their laps, via Joe Frisaro of MLB.com:
"The college starting-type pitcher that's advanced and with a good delivery, we needed that," Meek said. "We tend to go with a lot of high school kids. This guy, just for us, really fit. We thought college pitching was something that we needed to address. This guy really fit for us here."
"He sure has stuff," Meek said. "His arm action and delivery are in place. If he throws the ball where he wants to enough, his stuff will work in the big leagues pretty quickly, hopefully."
The Marlins project Lilek as a middle of the rotation arm. As Meek noted above, his command will be the biggest factor in determining how fast he moves through Miami's system.