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Marlins 2020 MLB Draft Targets: Florida JUCOs

Outside of the big-name in-state schools, the Marlins should do their research on the junior college ranks.

HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL: AUG 01 East Coast Pro Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 2020 MLB Draft will be the Miami Marlins’ third draft under the Derek Jeter regime. In the first two draft, the Fish focused on getting hitters like JJ Bleday, Connor Scott, Kameron Misner, Nasim Nunez and Peyton Burdick 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 and college prospects 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 Florida junior colleges who could hear their names get called by the Marlins.

1. RHP Franco Aleman

Out of high school, Franco Aleman was a Top 100 high school prospect. On Perfect Game, Aleman was the 80th-ranked prospect and the 30th-ranked right-handed pitcher in the country. He was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 38th round but decided to honor his commitment to FIU. As a freshman, Aleman got a lot of playing time and even earned the Sunday starter role towards the end of the season. Aleman had a 3-5 record with a 3.97 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 65 23 innings pitched. After his freshman season, he announced he’d be transferring out of FIU to St John’s Rivers State College.

Over the summer, Franco Aleman played for the Falmouth Commodores in the Cape Cod Baseball League. Aleman had a terrific summer with the Commodores. He had a 2-0 record with a 1.16 ERA, 27 strikeouts and two walks in 31 innings pitched. He was also selected to pitch for the West Division in the Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star Game.

Franco Aleman is an impressive pitcher with the tools to be one of the top prospects in the country. The 6’6”, 220-pound right-hander possesses a power fastball that tops out at 96 mph with movement, throws a tight curveball and is still developing a changeup. In his sophomore season with St. Johns, Aleman has been outstanding. He has a 2-1 record with a 0.46 ERA, 29 strikeouts and three walks in 19 23 innings pitched. Perfect Game also ranked Aleman as the #4 JUCO player in the country. He would be another very nice pitching prospect in the Miami Marlins farm system. Aleman has already signed his National Letter of Intent to the Florida Gators.

2. RHP Beck Way

Beck Way is a NCAA Division II transfer who has made his way to one of Florida’s top JUCOs. The Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania native was a two-way player out of high school but decided being a pitcher was better for his future. He spent his freshman season playing for the Belmont Abbey Crusaders. Way had a 0-1 record with a 3.98 ERA, 31 strikeouts and two saves in 20 13 innings pitched. After the season, Way decided to transfer to Northwestern Florida State College.

Over the summer, Way played for the Cotuit Kettleers in the Cape Cod Baseball League. He enjoyed a sold summer as he had a 2-2 record with a 3.29 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 13 23 innings pitched.

Way’s command has improved since he’s arrived at Northwest Florida. That’s reflected in his sophomore numbers: 2-0 record with a 0.60 ERA, 24 strikeouts and one walk in 15 innings pitched.

Beck Way stands at 6’4” and weighs 200 pounds. He has a good fastball that sits 91-94 and tops out around 97 mph. He also throws a slider that’s improved since he’s bulked up and a developing changeup. On Perfect Game, Way is the #9 JUCO prospect in the country. This is another option for the Miami Marlins to draft in the second day of the 2020 MLB Draft. Way has already signed in National Letter of Intent with the LSU Tigers.

3. OF Justice Thompson

Justice Thompson is the only JUCO prospect on the list that didn’t transfer to his junior college. The Tampa native signed with Northwest Florida State out of King High School. As a freshman, Thompson batted .337 with five home runs, 24 RBIs and had a 1.042 OPS. In his sophomore season, Thompson is currently batting .280 with one home run, four RBIs and a .841 OPS.

Over the summer, Justice Thompson played for the Southampton Breakers in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League. Thompson thrived up there, batting .297 with six doubles, five home runs and 22 RBIs. He also raked in the playoffs with six hits in three games (.462 BA).

Justice Thompson is a pretty well put together junior college prospect. He stands at 6’4” and weighs in at 180 pounds. Thompson still has a lot of room to add to his large frame. He’s a good runner with 6.46 speed. Covers a lot of ground in the outfield and has a strong arm. He projects to be a center fielder at the next level. On Perfect Game, Thompson is the #15 JUCO prospect in the country. The Marlins may look at him as a late day two or early day three draft pick in the 2020 MLB Draft. Thompson has signed his National Letter of Intent to the North Carolina Tar Heels.