With the 2021 MLB Draft just days away, I’ve decided to release my top five prospects that I think the Marlins should consider with the 16th overall pick. After all of the draft profiles I’ve done, I believe these five players could be realistically available and very productive in the pros.
During the 2020 MLB Draft, the Marlins used all six of their picks on pitchers. The first half of this season, at both the major league level and upper minors, has made it clear that it’s time to devote more resources to upgrading the organization’s offensive talent. However, if the top hitting options on their draft board are unavailable, they shouldn’t shy away from picking another arm with special potential.
Here are the top draft-eligible prospects for the Miami Marlins to target.
1. Matt McLain, SS/2B, UCLA
My absolute #1 option for the Marlins to take with their first round pick is UCLA middle infielder Matt McLain. The Fish really needs to add some offense to their farms system and McLain would be the best option if he’s available at pick 16.
During his time at UCLA, McLain has a career slashing line of .279/.3360/.478 with 128 hits, 51 extra base hits, 85 RBIs and a .838 OPS. As a junior, McLain had a huge season in which he slashed .333/.434/.579 with 61 hits, fourteen doubles, nine home runs, 36 RBIs, 1:1 strikeout to walk ratio and 1.013 OPS.
The former Arizona Diamondbacks first round pick has one of the best hit tools in this draft class and also improved his approach at the plate this past season. I think McLain goes 12th overall to the Seattle Mariners, so the Marlins need to have some back-up plans, but who knows what will happen on draft day.
2. Sam Bachman, RHP, Miami (OH)
Another college prospect that I’m very high on is Miami University right-handed pitcher Sam Bachman. The Marlins don’t really need to take a pitcher early in the draft but Bachman us a very talented arm that could be selected by the Fish if their top options are gone by the 16th pick.
During his time at Miami (OH), Bachman was an immediate impact arm that had a great 2021 season. Bachman has a 12-7 career record with a 3.06 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 3.5 BB/9 and 11.3 K/9. As a junior, Bachman really took off posting a 4-4record with a 1.81 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, 2.6 BB/9 and 14.0 K/9.
At 6’1”, 235 pounds, Bachman is a strong pitcher with two plus-plus pitches and a solid changeup. Bachman’s best pitch is his fastball which has been clocked at over 100 mph this past season. His fastball sits mid-90s and has arm-side run and sink. Bachman’s slider is one of the best breaking pitches in the draft, effective against both left-handed and right-handed batters. His changeup is a solid pitch and the command has improved since his freshman season.
3. Harry Ford C, North Cobb HS (GA)
The first high school I have added to my first round board is Georgia catcher Harry Ford. The Georgia Tech signee is one of the top high school prospects in this draft class and answers the Marlins biggest need which is catcher.
At the plate, Ford is a solid bat with plus bat speed and the ability to drive the ball to all fields with authority. One thing that makes Ford stand out to other catchers is his speed. Ford was clocked running a 6.42 60 yard dash at the East Coast Pro Showcase.
Behind the plate, Ford is a very fundamental sound catcher with above average arm strength and does a good job of receiving. His footwork has some work but even if he can’t stick behind the plate, he’s good and athletic enough to play second base, third base or centerfield. In my opinion, Ford is the most likely prospect on my board I think the Marlins will draft.
4. Will Bednar, RHP, Mississippi State
Another collegiate arm who has greatly improved his draft stock this season is national champion pitcher Will Bednar. The Mississippi State ace pitcher had a terrific season capped off by some gems on the biggest stage.
During his time at Mississippi State, Bednar was one of the best pitchers on their staff. He only played two season at MSU since he’s a draft eligible sophomore and he’s expected to an early draft pick after an impressive 2021 season. As a sophomore, Bednar posted an 8-1 record with a 3.34 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 2.4 BB/9 and 14.1 K/9.
The national champion pitcher has a four-pitch mix with two or three plus pitches. Bednar’s fastball is his best pitch which sits 93-95 mph and tops out at 97 mph. His best secondary pitch is a mid-80s slider that he throws very consistently. Bednar’s curveball is a 55-graded pitch on MLB Pipeline and improved from his freshman season. His changeup is a solid pitch but throws a lot of strikes and projects to be a frontline or middle of the rotation type arm.
5. Peyton Stovall 2B, Haughton HS (LA)
The final prospect on my Marlins draft board is Louisiana prep second baseman Peyton Stovall. The Arkansas signee has greatly improved his draft stock after having a really good senior season for his high school team.
Stovall has one of the highest-graded hit tools in this draft class and might be the best high school contact hitter in this draft. At 6’0”, 180 pounds, Stovall still has some room to fill in his frame and could add some more power to his swing, making him a more complete hitter.
The negative on Stovall is that he’s very limited defensively—he doesn’t have speed and quickness to play shortstop at the professional level. He’s pretty much stuck at second base but could play left field if his arm strength improves during his minor league career.
I, personally, like Stovall, but he could still be available with the 31st pick. I think if the Marlins take Stovall at pick 16, it’s because they are trying to sign him for less than the $3,745,500 slot value with a plan to allocate those savings toward signing high-ceiling prospects later in the draft.