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MLB draft 2018: Baseball America projects Marlins will select Jarred Kelenic

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Only a few days after the regular season, Baseball America has already dropped their first predictions for next year’s draft

Dan Napper, Chicago Scouts Association

In the first mock draft since the regular season standings became final, Baseball America predicted that Waukesha, Wisconsin-native outfielder Jarred Kelenic would be the Marlins' selection with the 13th overall pick. The article written by editor John Manuel stated:

With all the turnover going on with new ownership and Derek Jeter as head of baseball operations, it's anyone's guess who will make this pick. Scouting director Stan Meek has served in that post since 2002, tied with Oakland's Eric Kubota for the longest active tenure in the game. According to an industry source, Meek's contract expires at the end of this month.

No matter who makes the pick for Jeter, with Jeff Conine one of the first advisors let go, don't look for his son, Griffin Conine, to cut the Marlins a deal. Instead, we're getting the top prep bat remaining off the board.

Side note: Griffin Conine was drafted by the Marlins back in 2015 in the 31st round, but he elected to enroll and play at Duke University instead.

While I hope that we’ll see the majority of this year’s Marlins group back, it isn’t realistic to think that will happen. After Jeter’s vague statements on returning players at his news conference, we can almost definitely know that it won’t happen. We really have no idea what the 2018 Miami Marlins will look like, from the front office to the players. In the case that the front office decides to dismantle one of the best outfields in baseball, then I can see the case to draft Jarred Kelenic or someone of his ilk.

Obviously, the biggest need for the Marlins is arms of any variety. With a strong crop of amateur pitchers, I was surprised to see Kelenic’s name at the top of the Marlins mock board. However, Kelenic is easily one of the best pure hitters in the draft. He’s got a slew of awards and recognition from being a part of the 18U National Team, pretty much every Perfect Game event out there, the 2017 Under Armour Game, and even the High School Home Run Derby at Marlins Park. He missed the finals of the Miami derby by one home run.

Kelenic is fast and runs with authority. He clocked his 60-yard dash in at 6.57 seconds. At the plate, he is a lefty with a wide stance and lightning bat speed. Defensively, he is as good as they come.

But what stands out most about the 6-foot-1, 196 pounds Kelenic is his intense work ethic. Coming out of Wisconsin, there isn’t much of a legacy of solid players being developed straight out of high school. In several ways, he resembles J.J. Watt, another Waukesha native, they’ve even trained in some of the same facilities there. Baseball America interviewed Kelenic on his approach to becoming the best player on the field:

For Kelenic, that approach begins off the field, at home, every morning at 4:45. He'll wake up, report to his personal trainer at 5:15, work out until 7:30, shower, go to school, go home, eat a quick meal, hit for two hours in a batting cage, go home again, do homework, sleep, rinse, wash, repeat.

Since we are basically light years away from next year’s draft, there is a good chance Kelenic won’t be getting a phone call from Derek Jeter. He might not fill the biggest need for the organization, but who really has any clue at this point what the Marlins will look like? The Marlins have selected pitchers in six out of the last nine first rounds, but their decision making at the deadline could look very different this upcoming year. With a new director of player development and amateur scouting in Gary Denbo, the entire organizational structure and culture of the Marlins league-worst farm system is about to shift. It will be hard to pass on a young man that seemingly has every necessary skill to succeed on the highest stage. Regardless, we’ll keep you up to date with any and all offseason roster moves that will impact the Marlins choice on draft day!