With the 2016 MLB Draft now complete, it’s time to assess and critique the decisions made by the Miami Marlins organization. A quick overview— well done. The Marlins have a young and talented core of position players at the big league level. They have hung their hat on those players by placing their draft focuses away from offense and heavily on pitching. The Miami starting staff ranks seventh in the NL with a 4.07 ERA. That statistic is lowered heavily by Jose Fernandez (2.57 ERA) as only he and Adam Conley have sub-four ERAs among the Marlins staff. No pitcher aside from Fernandez looks to have a very high ceiling, therefore Miami knows they need to stack their farm system with arm talent. The Marlins also have one of the oldest bullpens in the MLB, hence they’ll need to work towards a bullpen transcendence soon.
Miami drafted seven pitchers within their first ten picks in 2015. They followed suit in 2016 by drafting three pitchers in their top five picks, including their first round selection and #7 overall pick, Braxton Garrett. Garrett is a 6’3’’ left-handed pitcher drafted out of Florence High School in Alabama. He’s only 18-years-old and is projected to be a #2 starter-type in the MLB. Garrett’s fastball velocity consistently hits in the high 80s, and he can reach up to 94 with the fireball. He has a developing changeup that looks to be a nice compliment to his repertoire down the road. Garrett’s curveball is the showstopper. He was credited to have the most advanced curveball in the draft. The sweeper ranges from 76-80 mph and is commanded well by the young lefty. The Marlins will work to up his velocity by further filling his 6’3’’ frame. An additional mph or two could work wonders in making Garrett's changeup and curveball that much more of a weapon.
The Marlins spent their 5th and 6th round picks on a couple of dominant college relievers. 5th round selection Sam Perez overpowered the Missouri Valley Conference, going 8-0 with a 2.86 ERA in 36 appearances for Missouri State University. 6th round pick out of Oklahoma State University, Remey Reed also displayed nice success in his Junior year with the Cowboys. Reed went 4-1 with a 3.82 ERA in 23 appearances in the regular season, and is still alive in the postseason as Oklahoma State secured a spot in the 2016 College World Series. Both pitchers project as big league relievers.
Maybe the most exciting and anticipated pick for the Marlins is 3rd round pick Thomas Jones. Jones was a two-sport star athlete in high school. He had offers to play college football at the safety position, however opted to stay true to baseball. As a verbal commit to the University of Vanderbilt, one of the country’s top college baseball programs, Jones has his pick at luxury. A likely star outfielder for one of the SEC’s finest, or a nice signing bonus into the big leagues as a Miami Marlin. They both sound fantastic, but one likely triumphs the other. Jones’ greatest asset is his speed. Considered to have “plus plus” speed, Jones will wreak havoc on the basepaths, especially once better learning the art of the stolen base. He already notedly has great bat speed, and his 6’4’’, 195 lb. build projects eventual great power. Jones’ build could compare to Jason Heyward, and his abilities, if maxed out, could pin him as a future Starling Marte.
Time will tell what lies ahead for these young men. The Marlins put together a nice draft. Their top pick, Braxton Garrett, looks to be as sure-handed as a team will get from a high school graduate. Thomas Jones is the extremely high ceiling pick every team needs from a draft. The organization also added a number of power arms that could hit the majors as starting pitchers, or maybe takeover the aging Miami bullpen. Boston College draftee and right-handed hurler Mike King showed off his dominance in the NCAA Super Regionals, and Texas Tech first baseman Eric Guterriez could pose as a late round surprise down the road. The future is bright for the Miami Marlins, their system is filled to the depths with promising young talent.