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Marlins 2019 MLB Draft Targets: Florida International Panthers

The Fish Stripes series on local draft prospects continues with FIU.

Third baseman Austin Shenton
Photo courtesy of FIU Athletics

The 2019 MLB Draft will be the Miami Marlins’ second draft under the Derek Jeter regime. In the first draft, the Fish focused up the middle by drafting outfielder Connor Scott, middle infielder Osiris Johnson and catcher Will Banfield during the early rounds.

In order to acquire even more impact talent this time around, the Marlins should put a special emphasis on scouting their own backyard. They are surrounded by some of the top high school prospects and colleges in the country. The state of Florida is a hot bed for baseball and has produced some of the best players in the game at all levels.

Here are three 2019 MLB draft eligible players from the FIU Panthers who could hear their names get called by the Marlins.

1. 3B Austin Shenton

The top MLB Draft prospect from the Florida International University is their junior third baseman Austin Shenton. The Washington native transferred to FIU last season and instantly became an impact player for the Panthers. Shenton started off his college career at Bellevue College where he hit .395 with seven home runs, 56 RBIs and had a 1.094 OPS. He was also First Team All-NWC. In his first season at FIU, he batted .344 with eleven doubles, nine home runs and had a .941 OPS, also earning a All-Conference USA Second Team selection.

Over the summer, Shenton played in the Cape Cod League and led the Wareham Gateman to a league championship. The FIU third baseman was even named the MVP of the 2018 Cape Cod Baseball League championship series. Shenton batted .522 with three home runs and 12 RBIs in the postseason. In the regular season, Shenton was one of league’s best hitters. He finished third in Cape Cod in batting average with a .349 batting average and was also second in RBIs with 30. Shenton was also named to the West Division All-Star team.

Austin Shenton is not only one of the top collegiate hitters in the state, but one of best pure hitters in the country. He possesses a lot of nice hitting tools and drives the ball to all fields. Presently an above-average runner for a third baseman, he might change position at the pro level to left field or first base. Shenton will likely get drafted on the second day of the 2019 MLB Draft.

2. OF Lorenzo Hampton Jr.

Another position player for the FIU Panthers who could see themselves getting drafted the Marlins is Lorenzo Hampton. The Monsignor Pace graduate spent his first two college baseball seasons at California. As a Golden Bear, Hampton didn’t get the opportunity for a lot of time but found a home at FIU. In his junior season at FIU, Hampton played in 51 games and had a .278 batting average with nine home runs, .835 OPS and a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.

Over the summer, Hampton played for Keene Swamp Bats in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. He finished the summer with a .258 batting average with seven doubles, five home runs and 19 RBIs. Hampton played in the NWCBL All-Star Game and was also the Home Run Derby champion.

Lorenzo Hampton Jr. was a very highly recruited high school prospect in Miami. He is 6’5” and weighs around 225 pounds with a lot of room to grow. His father, Lorenzo Sr., was a running back at the University of Florida. He was a first-round pick of Miami Dolphins and spent four years in the NFL.

Hampton is a power hitting outfielder and is also very solid defensively, likely a right fielder in the pros. He has a strong arm and does a good job of being accurate with his throws. He really needs to work on his strikeouts. Hampton projects to get drafted on the third day of the 2019 MLB Draft.

3. RHP Nick MacDonald

The junior right-handed pitcher Nick MacDonald is one of the weekend starters for the Panthers and is also one of FIU’s top prospects. The South Floridian pitcher has had a success two seasons at Florida International University. In his freshman season, MacDonald appeared in fourteen games with a 7-2 and a 3.84 ERA. He threw 65 23 innings with 63 strikes in the 2017 season and was named to Conference USA All-Freshman team. As a sophomore, MacDonald finished with a 3-4 record with a 4.26 ERA and struck out 69 in 67 23 innings pitched.

Over the summer, MacDonald pitched for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks in Cape Cod, posting a 2-1 record with 4.59 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 33 13 innings pitched. His best outing in the Cape Cod League was against the Cotuit Kettleers. MacDonald threw five innings allowing five hits, no runs, no walks and seven strikeouts.

Nick MacDonald is a solid pitching prospect with some tools that can get him to the next level. His fastball tops out at 91 mph, but sits in the high 80s. MacDonald does a good job of mixing his pitches and can locate all of his pitches well. He has good command of the strike zone and pitches with a lot of confidence in himself. If MacDonald does get drafted in the 2019 MLB Draft, it will likely be in the middle to late rounds.