Nearly seven weeks after being selected atop the 2019 Marlins MLB Draft class, outfielders JJ Bleday (No. 4 overall pick) and Kameron Misner (No. 35) are ready to make their professional debuts. Bleday is expected to join the High-A Jupiter Hammerheads for Saturday night’s game at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium, while Misner will play Sunday morning for the Gulf Coast League Marlins, Fish Stripes has learned.
Bleday shattered school records at baseball powerhouse Vanderbilt University during his junior season, slashing .350/.464/.717 with 26 home runs en route to winning a national championship. Before even stepping into the batter’s box for the first time as a pro, he’s widely regarded as the top position player prospect in the Marlins organization. Moreover, Baseball America placed the 21-year-old at No. 60 on their latest MLB Top 100 prospects list (subscription required).
Misner, meanwhile, might possess an even higher ceiling on the field. He racked up 21 homers and 50 stolen bases in 149 career games at the University of Missouri. Missing a chunk of his sophomore season due to injury, then falling short of lofty expectations in 2019—slashing .286/.440/.481 with 21.8 K%—may have contributed to him falling to the Fish at No. 35. That, in turn, limited Misner’s earning potential on his signing bonus, but those negotiations were completed with a few minutes to spare prior to the July 11 deadline.
After a brief tune-up in the GCL, the toolsy Misner is likely to join a full-season affiliate (either Clinton or Jupiter).
Altogether, Bleday and Misner received $8.79 million from the Marlins (both slightly over their draft slot value). That accounts for more than half of the franchise’s total draft spending. Their 2019 class was lauded across the talent evaluation industry for its depth, but these two are the crown jewels, projected to be legitimate impact major leaguers should their development go as planned.
That all begins this weekend.