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 draft-eligible players from the FGCU Eagles who could hear their names get called by the Marlins.
1. 3B Richie Garcia
Richie Garcia is the top MLB draft prospect out of Florida Gulf Coast University. He is one of the top third basemen in the country and, accordingly, one of the best hitters in the ASUN. In his freshman season at FGCU, Garcia became the fifth Freshman All-American in program history and the second ASUN Freshman of the Year. The West Broward High graduate finished the 2017 season with a .279 batting average, six home runs, and an .814 OPS. In his sophomore season, Garcia made First Team All-Conference. The now 21-year-old followed that up with a very strong 2018 season by batting .328 with seventeen doubles, seven home runs, and a .944 OPS.
Over the summer, the star third baseman played for the Wilmar Stingers of the Northwoods League, one of the most competitive summer collegiate leagues in the nation. The FGCU third baseman batted .252 with six doubles and 14 RBIs in 131 at-bats. He also drew 22 walks.
Richie Garcia would be an interesting draft prospect for the Miami Marlins. He is a hometown kid that has lived in South Florida his entire life. Garcia is very sound at the plate and does a good job of driving the ball to all fields. Out of high school, Garcia was the 337th ranked prospect in Florida and 14th-ranked third baseman in the state.
Garcia could selected on the second day of the draft if he hits with more power this season. Otherwise, he’ll likely get drafted early on the third day, leaving him with a difficult decision to go pro or stay for his senior season.
2. C/OF Alex Brait
Alex Brait is another interesting prospect to keep an eye on out of Florida Gulf Coast University. He is one of the Eagles’ top hitters and is also very reliable defensively. The Viera native found immediate success and started half the games his freshman season. That same year, he hit .296 with five doubles, two home runs, and an .803 OPS and made the 2017 ASUN All-Freshman Team. As a sophomore, Brait led the team in batting average, hitting .335 with five doubles, five home runs, and an .871 OPS, earning First Team All-Conference for the Eagles.
Over the summer, Alex Brait played in the Valley League for the Waynesboro Generals. The FGCU catcher had a great summer and was named to the league’s All-Star team at the end. Brait finished with a .307 batting average, six doubles, two home runs, and 13 RBIs.
The 20-year-old has a lot of potential and could make a name for himself in the draft. FGCU competes against some of the top colleges in Florida like the Gators. Brait will get a lot more looks by pro scouts as he is now draft eligible. Out of Viera High School, Brait was a top-100 Florida prospect and top-10 catcher in the state. Adding more power could make him an early third day draft pick. He projects more as a catcher than an outfielder.
3. RHP Evan Lumbert
The last Florida Gulf Coast player on the list is their senior right-handed pitcher, Evan Lumbert. The Orlando native started his collegiate baseball career at South Florida State College, but transferred to FGCU and became one of their top starters prior to his junior year. The Boone High School alum went 6-3 with a 3.11 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 63 2⁄3 innings pitched across 14 games, 10 of them starts. He earned ASUN Pitcher of the Week accolades as he pitched eight innings of two-hit ball while striking out 12 against Miami on March 28.
The hurler played for the Morehead City Marlins in the Coastal Plain League during the summer and helped lead them to the league title. He appeared in 14 games, starting four of them, and had a 2-1 record with a 2.49 ERA, 26 strikeouts, and a save.
Since he is a senior, 2019 will be his last chance to get drafted by an MLB organization. The righty projects as a long-relief pitcher at the professional level as his fastball sits in the upper 80s and tops out around 90-91 mph. Lumbert relies more on his off-speed pitches than his fastball, but he fills up the strike zone with good command on all of his pitches. The 22-year-old is expected to get drafted on the third day of the 2019 MLB Draft and start his professional career at Low Class-A.