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2016 MLB Draft: Marlins' options at prep hitters

The Marlins have a small number of options in terms of high school hitters in the draft

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The Miami Marlins are likely to take a prep pitcher in the 2016 MLB Draft, but you cannot rule out the Fish going early for a position player as well. The team has mixed up high school pitchers and position players in the last few seasons; since 2005, of the seven high schoolers Miami has selected in the first round, three of them have been hitters. Of the three, of course, only one (Christian Yelich from 2011) was a success, and he was drafted the lowest among the three. Neither Matt Dominguez nor Kyle Skipworth have done much in their careers, but that does not mean that a high school position player, particularly someone up the middle with defensive skill, would not be a bad option.

Delvin Perez, SS, International Baseball Academy (Puerto Rico)

If you are looking for raw athleticism, Perez has got it. He is athletic and speedy enough to stay at shortstop, combining a 60-strong arm and tools enough to develop strong range and instincts at the position. He profiles to be an above-average shortstop at the big-league level, and the Marlins know all about talented athletic specimen there with Adeiny Hechavarria currently manning the position. At 6'3" and 165 pounds, he has a good body to retain the mobility and nimbleness for the position.

Perez has two things going against him. While he has the speed to be utilized on the bases, he has yet to develop the plate approach to make enough contact to get on board. He is an above-average runner but that batting eye has yet to be able to discern ball from strike, making him a long-term development project at the plate. He is lanky and could get bigger to develop more power, and the comparisons to another Puerto Rican shortstop in Carlos Correa are there, but unlike Correa, it seems Perez is far behind in the hitting department. The good glove only sets a high floor for his development.

The second problem, most prominently noted yesterday, is that he has been rumored to have failed a drug test. It is unknown what kind of drug, but the news got out today and it was said it was not marijuana. The most recent Baseball America mock draft released yesterday took Perez entirely out of the first round. The concern might be that, if it is some performance-enhancing substance, that at the very least, it would be negative publicity to support a player testing positive for a banned substance. The Marlins may want to avoid such a thing with Dee Gordon's recent suspension.

Perez is a true shortstop and capable of working that position, but he is not only a long-term project but also now one with several question marks regarding his failed drug test. If Miami does opt for him, signing should be a relative breeze, and that might appeal to them.

Mickey Moniak, OF, La Costa Canyon HS (CA)

Moniak is in the running for the top pick in the draft, with Baseball America still saying the Phillies will prefer him to the general consensus of University of Florida starting pitcher A.J. Puk. Moniak is a high-level hitting talent lacking currently in power. Standing at 6'2" and 190 pounds, he has a decent amount of room to grow into his frame and build up strength, but he would work out well if he continued his development in its current track. Moniak has a strong swing with good mechanics and has decent plate discipline and command of the strike zone. He has well above average running speed, putting him among the best prospects in the draft. Perhaps more importantly, defensively he fits the profile of a great center fielder, with the speed and throwing arm to handle the middle and the defensive prowess and instincts to lead the outfield. He should be able to stick up the middle long term.

Oddly enough, with the complaints about power but the excellent swing, he fits a profile akin to that of the Marlins' own Christian Yelich. Yelich too is a left-handed hitter who had the potential to stay in the outfield, which he eventually did. Yelich also was praised for a fantastic swing and great mechanics, but he too had trouble generating power early in his career. Yelich also is from California, though he did have a commitment to play for the University of Miami. Moniak is committed to UCLA as of right now.

Given that Moniak is getting so much press, there is a very strong likelihood he will be selected within the top four picks, with Colorado having kept tabs on him. Still, ESPN's Keith Law's latest mock draft had Moniak dropping all the way to 12th. Miami should seriously consider a selection if he even comes close to them, though signability may ultimately be the issue.

The Marlins could look at a few other names in and around this area, including Blake Rutherford, another outfielder from southern California who has more left-handed power but less defensive upside as compared to Moniak. Rutherford has an average selection from the consensus mock draft similar to that of Zack Collins and Braxton Garrett, meaning Miami should have a decent chance of selecting him if they wanted to.

With the potential drug issue looming for Delvin Perez, the Marlins may opt for the high school pitcher route again and try for someone safer like Garrett, but they should have some options at least available in the outfield if they still want to go young and high school.