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 University of South Florida who could hear their names called by the Marlins.
1. 1B Joe Genord
The top MLB Draft prospect for the USF Bulls is their first baseman Joe Genord. The junior out of Lake Worth, Florida is coming off a breakout junior season. Genord is a three-year starter for the Bulls and will be a key hitter in their lineup. As a freshman, he batted .270 with six home runs and 21 RBI. As a sophomore, Genord finished with a .259 batting average with nine home runs and a .439 slugging percentage. The breakout came last season: .306 batting average with a team-high 16 home runs and a 1.072 OPS. He was also named to the All-American Athletic Conference Second Team.
Over the summer, Genord played for the Amsterdam Mohawks of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. He had a great summer for the Mohawks as he batted .297 with eight home runs and 41 RBI in 38 games. The USF slugger carried that through the postseason as well (.320 BA, 4 HR and 7 RBI), including two multi-home run games against the Watertown Rapids and Oneonta Outlaws.
Genord is a very solid collegiate prospect capable of rising on the Marlins’ draft board if he can duplicate what he did last season. He has a ton of raw power and can be a middle of the order hitter at the next level. He’s a sound defensive first baseman with a high school background at catcher. Joe Genord has an opportunity to hear his name called on the second day of the draft. Otherwise, he’d make for a nice steal early on Day 3.
2. RHP Carson Ragsdale
The USF Bulls have a big right-handed pitcher in Carson Ragsdale who will be counted on out of the bullpen. The 6’8”, 221-pound right-handed pitcher has a lot of potential. As a freshman, Ragsdale made nine appearances and pitched 10 innings, striking out 16. He began to make a bigger impact last season, ranking fifth on the team in ERA. Ragsdale finished his sophomore season with 16 relief appearances (3.38 ERA, 21.1 IP, 11 BB, 24 K).
The junior out of Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School took his talents to the Northwoods Leagues over the summer and pitched for the Madison Mallards. During his 17 games with the Mallards, Ragsdale had a 3.41 ERA with 26 1⁄3 innings pitched, 18 walks and 40 strikeouts. He represented the South Division in the 2018 Northwoods League All-Star Game.
Carson Ragsdale has a fastball that tops out around 92 mph and sits 88-91 mph. His best off-speed pitch is his 12-to-6 curveball that has a tight spin and keeps arm speed up. Ragsdale still has a lot of room to fill in to increase his velocity, and that size should draw the attention of pro scouts. He will likely get drafted in the middle rounds, making him a candidate to return to USF for his senior season.
3. LHP Connor Eason
Like Ragsdale, left-handed pitcher Connor Eason is another candidate for the USF Bulls closer role and among their top draft prospects. Eason started his collegiate career at Seminole State College and played one season for the Raiders. He started 12 games and pitched in 54 1⁄3 innings allowing 23 walks and striking out 71. During his first season at USF, he appeared in 15 games (all out of the bullpen). Eason had 20 innings pitched with a 2.70 ERA allowing six earned runs and struck out 15 batters.
Eason’s summer campaign with the Peninsula Pilots in the Coastal Plains League went solidly. He had a 3.48 ERA with 10 1⁄3 innings pitched and struck out 17 batters.
Appreciate them always supporting me in every thing i do even coming out to summer ball games! ⚾️ pic.twitter.com/5v3pEeitXb— Connor Eason (@Connor_Eason) July 23, 2018
Eason’s best pitch is his fastball that sits in the low 90s and tops out around 94 mph. He also throws a rare changeup and decent breaking pitch that still needs some work. He has good command on his pitches and can fill up both sides of the strike zone. The redshirt-junior could get drafted on the third day of the draft and take a professional contract depending on contract negotiations. Eason projects to be a middle relief pitcher at the next level, adding depth to the Marlins farm system.