When assessing the Marlins 2018 draft class, we are clearly talking about a small sample size. These youngsters’ professional experience only dates back to June, so they have yet to deal with the peaks and valleys of a typical season.
But the Marlins front office is being aggressive. More so than top picks in most other organizations, they’re rising quickly to higher levels of competition until encountering a legitimate challenge.
We will start out by looking at how the players picked in the top five rounds are doing so far.
First Round: Connor Scott
The speedy and tall 18-year-old outfielder from H.B. Plant High School in Tampa was signed away from his commitment to the University of Florida with a signing bonus over $4 million, and is currently rated as the No. 4 prospect in the Miami farm system per MLB Pipeline.
Scott started the season with the GCL (Rookie League) Marlins, and though he only hit .223 in that time span, he has since been called up to single-A Greensboro, and has been up to the challenge, hitting .257 with a homer and five RBI.
Second Round: Osiris Johnson
Johnson, a 17-year-old infielder from northern California, is a former Cal State Fullerton commit defines toolsy. He grades at least a 50 in four out of five tool categories (20-80 scale) at a very young age.
Johnson has also been called up to Greensboro after hitting .301 with a homer and 13 RBI in 25 games with the GCL Marlins (Rookie League). Rather remarkable for someone his age.
4 1/2 years younger than the pitcher he faced right there. Still crazy that he's in full-season ball this soon. https://t.co/R0BFJ6aeKC— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) August 21, 2018
Competitive Balance Round B: Will Banfield
Another prep product, this catcher out of Georgia has also been called up to full-season Greensboro. The former Vanderbilt commit has already flashed significant power by hitting three homers in 34 at bats as one of the youngest players on the team, while showing solid defensive skills.
Catcher Will Banfield (18) of the Greensboro @GSOHoppers holds on to make the putout as Kervin Suarez (36) of the @GreenvilleDrive slams into him in a game on Friday, August 17, 2018, at Fluor Field in Greenville, South Carolina. Greenville won, 4-1. (Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images) pic.twitter.com/Bpea3BiYbW— Tom Priddy (@tpriddy) August 18, 2018
Third Round: Tristan Pompey
Pompey, another University of Kentucky alum in the Marlins system, is another outfield bat with high athletic upside. The Toronto native hit .321 with 24 long balls over three seasons as a Wildcat and his three years of seasoning in the SEC seems to have really paid off. He has already been called up to high-A Jupiter and continues to rake there, hitting .375 in 50 at bats while hitting over .300 in Greensboro. He had been projected as a possible first rounder, but scouts were a little apprehensive after only hitting .230 in the Cape Cod league in 2017. Seems like they had little to worry about.
Fourth Round: Nick Fortes
Another catching prospect and another SEC product, Fortes showed exceptional talent at Ole Miss. Fortes is currently getting experience at Batavia in the New York-Penn League. As the second catcher picked in the first four rounds by the Fish, they have certainly added needed organizational depth behind Realmuto.
Fifth Round: Chris Vallimont
The top pitching prospect chosen by the Marlins in the 2018 draft, Vallimont was interviewed by our own Ely Sussman after the draft.
So far in Batavia, the 6-foot-5 right-hander has struggled with control. He’s issued 22 walks while fanning only 15 in his first 24 innings as a pro. This screams a mechanical issue, so it represents Vallimont’s first challenge after the draft.