The 2020 MLB Draft will be the Miami Marlins’ third draft under the Derek Jeter regime. In the first two drafts, the Fish focused on getting hitters like JJ Bleday, Connor Scott, Kameron Misner, Nasim Nuñez and Osiris Johnson 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 2020 MLB draft eligible players from the Florida Gators who could hear their names get called by the Marlins.
1. RHP Tommy Mace
One of the top junior pitchers in the SEC is Florida Gators right-hander Tommy Mace. The Tampa native started the season off on a high note. He ended up having a rough season and many believed that he wasn’t ready for the Friday pitcher role, but he was Florida’s best option. As a freshman, Mace made 26 appearances and six starts. He had a 5-0 record with a 4.16 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 62 2⁄3 innings pitched. As a sophomore, Mace appeared in 16 games (all starts). He finished with an 8-5 record with a 5.32 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 89 2⁄3 innings pitched.
Over the summer, the Gators ace had the opportunity to represent his country and tried out for the USA Collegiate National Team. Mace made it all the way to the final cuts but just fell short of making the final roster. Mace spent the rest of the summer working out and preparing for his junior season.
Tommy Mace will be a collegiate prospect a lot of MLB teams will keep an eye on. He has the size and tools to be a top pitching prospect in the 2020 MLB Draft, but hasn’t put it all together. At 6’6”, 200 pounds, Mace has a four-pitch mix that continues to improve as he fills out his large frame. His fastball is his best pitch as he has good command of it and it tops out at 96 mph. He throws a good cutter that forces a lot of weak contact and a curveball that keeps batters off balance. Mace also has a changeup but he’s still developing it.
Check out this plus-plus slider from @GatorsBB Tommy Mace, he’s sitting 92-93 & the SL has been consistently plus as a weapon @ 86-88. 3 scoreless thus far w/ a firm CH @ 86-88 & CB for strikes at 77-81. High follow for 2020 Draft. pic.twitter.com/wgoSh9BD5k— Vinnie Cervino (@vcervinoPG) April 12, 2019
On MLB Pipeline, Tommy Mace is the 47th-ranked prospect in his draft class. If the Marlins want to add more pitchers to their farm system, Mace could be an option with their second-round pick.
2. RHP Jack Leftwich
Jack Leftwich is another junior from the University of Florida that’s drawing people’s attention. Leftwich is a 6’3”, 215-pound right-handed pitcher that was a top-50 high school player in the Class of 2017. As a freshman, he made 24 appearances including 12 starts. He had 5-5 record with a 4.20 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 81 1⁄3 innings pitched.
Gators freshman righty Jack Leftwich is 93-96 in the early going here at UCF. Sure looks like a first rounder in 2020 (this pitch was 96) pic.twitter.com/MxlAiTMJAC— Kiley McDaniel (@kileymcd) March 6, 2018
As a sophomore, Leftwich became the #2 starter but also struggled. He made 13 appearances and started in all of them. He had a 6-5 record with a 5.31 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 62 2⁄3 innings pitched.
Over the summer, Jack Leftwich played for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox in the Cape Cod League. It was a very good summer for him playing in the most challenging amateur summer league in the country. Leftwich made six appearances and started in all of them. He had a 3-1 record with a 3.64 ERA, 28 strikeouts in 29 2⁄3 innings pitched.
The University of Florida has been known has one of the best pitching factories in college baseball. Florida is expected to make another run for their second national championship, but that depends on Mace and Leftwich pitching like they’re capable of. Jack Leftwich has more upside than Mace due to his power fastball that sits around 94 mph and tops out at 96. He’s has a very good changeup and a slider that has come a long way since arriving on campus. He shows flashes of being an elite pitcher but needs to be more consistent with it. MLB Pipeline considers Leftwich the 92nd-ranked prospect in the draft.
3. 3B/C Brady Smith
In the 2018 season, the Gators had one of the youngest lineups in the country. Brady Smith was only a sophomore, but he was still one of the most experienced bats in their lineup. As a freshman, Smith finished with a .264 batting average, four doubles, two home runs and 10 walks. As a sophomore, Smith became a full-time starter and had a .270 batting average with seven doubles, five home runs and a .820 OPS. In SEC play, Smith batted .291 with four home runs and 13 RBIs.
Over the summer, Smith played with Kendrick Calilao on the Chatham Anglers in the Cape Cod League. After a great start to his summer with the Anglers, he struggled towards the end. Smith batted .233 with four doubles and two home runs in 28 games. Smith also made the 2019 Cape Cod All-Star Game as a reserve and went 1-for-1 with a single.
Brady Smith is a good contact hitter that can drive the ball to all fields well. Smith has some plus power potential but still needs to figure out his swing. He mostly played catcher last season, but will likely be starting at third base in 2020 with the emergence of freshman Nathan Hickey. He can be an everyday player at that position and get more at-bats.
The Marlins need to add some depth at third base in their farm system. If Smith continues to have a good season, they might target him around the 8th-10th rounds.