The 2020 Miami Marlins MLB Draft class is as follows: Max Meyer, RHP, Minnesota (No. 3 overall pick); Dax Fulton, LHP, Mustang HS (No. 40); Kyle Nicolas, RHP, Ball State (No. 61); Zach McCambley, RHP, Coastal Carolina (No. 75); Jake Eder, LHP, Vanderbilt (No. 104); Kyle Hurt, RHP, USC (No. 134). All of them are pitching prospects. All of them are expected to sign.
It demonstrates quite a change in priorities compared to the previous two Marlins draft classes hauled in by the Jeter era front office—both those times, they waited until the fifth round just to begin selecting pitchers. This year, however, they are investing more than $12 million to bolster their stockpile of arms.
During pre-draft availability, director of amateur scouting DJ Svihlik tipped his hand, admitting that prep players were adversely affected by the COVID-19 season shutdown. The Marlins were not confident in evaluating their shorter career track records or convincing them to turn pro due to the fact that 2020 signing bonus payments are being heavily deferred. Sure enough, all but one of these draftees (Fulton) comes from a four-year college.
Beyond that, there seem to be some contradictions. Svihlik and president of baseball operations Michael Hill both preached taking the “best player available” with each pick. But Marlins insider Craig Mish reports that they planned to “take all pitching” before the draft even began, rather than giving themselves the flexibility to adjust to unforeseen circumstances (like highly regarded bats falling into their laps).
Next up, undrafted free agents can begin signing on Sunday for up to $20,000 a pop. It’s unclear how active the Marlins will be in this arena considering the depth they already have in their farm system. Unlike most other teams, they haven’t released any minor leaguers since the pandemic struck.
Although the Marlins don’t have an urgency to put him on the roster—and start his MLB service clock—Max Meyer is the most major league-ready pitcher in the 2020 draft class, according to Keith Law of The Athletic. “Meyer’s a fantastic selection,” says Mason McRae of Prospects 365. The MLB Pipeline staff touts Dax Fulton as their favorite Marlins pick, writing that the lefty’s fastball, curveball and projectable frame justify what will surely be a seven-figure bonus.
Ralph Lifshitz of Prospects Live endorses Kyle Nicolas based on some live looks he got of Nicolas in Cape Cod (1:18:00 mark).
With the caveat that “rating this draft is more difficult than ever,” an unnamed expert tells Jon Heyman that he ranks the Marlins draft class as third-best in the league, trailing only the Tigers and Padres. Peter Gammons tweeted something very similar, citing scouting and front office sources.
- Marlins clubhouse leader Miguel Rojas welcomed Meyer to the Fish on Twitter.
- Much, much more draft analysis in this article stream.
- Commissioner Rob Manfred assured the public that there will be a 2020 MLB season (although owners to this point have made minimal progress in negotiations with the players’ association).
- Continuing their “No-Hitter Week” in chronological order, FOX Sports Florida will air replays of the Henderson Alvarez (2013) and Edinson Vólquez (2017) games on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
- The Better Halves Auction, featuring personalized baskets from Sandy Alcantara, Jon Berti, Adam Conley, Robert Dugger, Brandon Kintzler, Pablo López, Miguel Rojas, Sterling Sharp, Caleb Smith and Jordan Yamamoto, closes Sunday at 7 p.m. ET.