Folks around the SB Nation ecosystem organized a last-second community mock draft in anticipation of tonight’s festivities, and for some reason they saw fit to let me make picks for the Marlins. As a final preview of the draft’s first day, here’s a rundown of how things went for me:
Round 1 Results
- Pirates - Jordan Lalwar, SS, Dallas Jesuit (TX)
- Rangers - Marcelo Mayer, SS, Eastlake (CA)
- Tigers - Jack Leiter, RHP, Vanderbilt
- Red Sox - Henry Davis, C, Louisville
- Orioles - Kahlil Watson, SS, Wake Forest HS (NC)
- Diamondbacks - Kumar Rocker, RHP, Vanderbilt
- Royals - Brady House, SS, Winder-Barrow (GA)
- Rockies - Sal Frelick, OF/2B, Boston College
- Angels - Jackson Jobe, RHP, Heritage Hall (OK)
- Mets - Ty Madden, RHP, Texas
- Nationals - Colton Cowser, CF, Sam Houston State
- Mariners - Jordan Wicks, LHP, Kansas State
- Phillies - Gunnar Hoglund, RHP, Ole Miss
- Giants - Benny Montgomery, Red Land (PA)
- Brewers - Matt McLain, SS, UCLA
- Marlins - Harry Ford, C, North Cobb (GA)
- Reds - Andrew Painter, RHP, Cavalry Christian (FL)
- Cardinals - Sam Bachman, RHP, Miami (OH)
- Blue Jays - Gavin Williams, RHP, Eastern Carolina
- Yankees - Will Bednar, RHP, Mississippi State
- Cubs - Michael McGreevy, RHP, UC Santa Barbara
- White Sox - Colson Montgomery, SS, Southridge (IN)
- Indians - Bubba Chandler, RHP/SS, North Oconee (GA)
- Braves - Trey Sweeney, SS, Eastern Illinois
- A’s - Will Taylor, CF, Dutch Fork (SC)
- Twins - Jud Fabian, OF, Florida
- Padres - Izaac Pacheco, 3B, Friendswood (TX)
- Rays - Ryan Cusick, RHP, Wake Forest
- Dodgers - Joe Mack, C, Williamsville East (NY)
- Reds - Max Muncy, SS, Thousand Oaks (CA)
- Marlins - Anthony Solometo, LHP, Bishop Eustace (NJ)
While there were some mild surprises in the top half in terms of pick order, this group of 15 more or less fell in line with my expectations, and made my choice at 16 an easy one. My standout top targets ahead of this selection were Harry Ford and Colton Cowser, so I really didn’t have much of a decision to make when my choice came up. Had both been unavailable, my board would’ve opened up a bit, and my most likely move would’ve been to select prep right-hander Bubba Chandler. I’m sure the reaction to a prep pitcher at 16 would’ve been less than positive, but Chandler rivals Jackson Jobe in terms of raw talent, and to me is a perfect fit for Miami’s organizational pitching philosophy.
However, it’s a moot point, as I had a top-10 prospect in the class for my money available for the taking, so that’s exactly what I did. Ford represents the dream scenario for the Fish’s first pick in the eyes of many, and I’m inclined to agree with that view. A borderline five-tool catcher, Ford’s raw talent can rival that of just about anyone in the class, and the potential versatility he offers helps to assuage some of the risk that comes with the prep backstop territory. I also feel that Ford is a strong stylistic fit for the Marlins, who have had mixed results on the hitting development side recently, as he offers the power and speed upside that the club consistently chases, but also a solid hit tool baseline that won’t need a ton of tinkering, contrasting with some players in the system.
While I consistently preach the best player available strategy over drafting for need, in this case, the two align for Miami perfectly.
Competitive Balance A
A handful of surprising picks down the stretch left me with quite a choice on my hands at 31, with three players standing out from the pack. With Trey Sweeney off the board, my top hitter available at this spot was Louisiana prep infielder Peyton Stovall. Owner of perhaps the best hit tool in the high school class, Stovall made a mockery of opposing pitching in 2021, showing a combination of elite contact ability, strike zone discipline, sneaky over the fence pop, and a solid defensive skill set that should work at second in the modern game. He faced a lower level of competition in his home state, but scouts also love his swing and makeup, which helps to counteract some of those concerns. I had a straight first round grade on Stovall and would’ve seen him as a home run pick here, but he wasn’t the only player for whom that was the case.
Neck-and-neck with Stovall for me were a pair of pitchers: Cornhuskers two-way stud Spencer Schwellenbach, and prep lefty Anthony Solometo. I’ve discussed at length my strong feelings about Schwellenbach, who shows all the ingredients to be a #3 starter in my eyes with two plus pitches, a solid third pitch, and potential for rock solid command with his super-simple delivery. Despite his very limited college track record on the mound, I think he showed just about as much as he possibly could’ve in his role, and he has strong fallback plans available to him as well since his stuff translates readily to the bullpen, and he’s even a pro prospect as a hitter.
In a vacuum, I would’ve been absolutely thrilled to come away with either Stovall or Schwellenbach at this slot, but as it turned out, neither was the top player on my board.
Most everyone has Jordan Wicks as the top southpaw in the 2021 class, and while I can certainly understand that view, I was actually staring down my top lefty at 31: New Jersey prep Anthony Solometo. He’s not your typical dreamy prep prospect, as he delivers the baseball in a truly strange fashion, with one of the longest arm actions in recent draft history. Despite that funk, however, Solometo shows very advanced command for his level, and consistently lands his low-90s fastball and potential plus slider to ideal locations. When a unique delivery doesn’t impact a pitcher’s ability to spot his pitches, I see it as a positive, and in Solometo’s case it could be a pretty big one.
He’s not lacking for stuff, either—as mentioned above, his slider is a standout pitch already, and there should be more velocity on the way as well. Additionally, while he’s had little need to use the pitch so far, I have high hopes for his changeup long term, and expect this to be a pretty dynamic three pitch mix when all is said and done. He’s not the velocity/spin rate monster we’ve come to expect out of a day 1 prep pitcher, but I think he’s a player for whom the whole is greater than the sum of the parts- and the 1-2 punch of at least 55-grade offerings means he’s not a bad fit for what the Marlins look for in a hurler either. I project him to move quickly for a prep pitcher, with at least #3 starter potential, and think he’d look awfully good paired with Dax Fulton as a young, high-upside lefty in the organization.