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Five Potential 2021 MLB Draft First-Round Selections for Miami Marlins

Coming off a rare postseason berth, the Marlins hold the No. 16 overall pick.

2020 Major League Baseball Draft Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images

With the college baseball and Spring Training less than a month away, we take a look at which top draft prospects could be the Marlins first selection in the 2021 Draft. The Marlins have the 16th pick which is the latest draft pick they’ve had since the 2010 MLB Draft in which they selection Miami signee and California kid Christian Yelich.

In the 2020 MLB Draft, the Marlins had six draft picks and used all six of their picks on pitchers. Five out of the six draft picks were collegiate pitchers including their first round pick, right-handed pitcher Max Meyer out of Minnesota. Their only high school draft pick was in the second round as the Fish selected 6’6” left-hander Dax Fulton.

With the 16th pick, the Marlins could use their first round pick on a specific need in their farm system or simply take the best available on their board. It will also be interesting to see if the Fish continue to show a preference for college players over prep ones.

1. OF James Wood, IMG Academy (FL)

7th-ranked draft prospect on Baseball America, 14th on MLB Pipeline, 15th on Prospects Live

James Wood is one of the most projectable prospects in the 2021 MLB Draft. Wood is a 6’6” 230 pound left-handed hitting outfielder with tons of raw power and has the tools to be a really special player.

He’s got great speed especially with his size as Perfect Game has clocked him running a 6.70 60 yard dash. He covers a lot of ground defensively but projects to be a right fielder at the next level as he continues to fill in his very large frame.

Wood’s swing does need some work as he doesn’t use much of his lower half. Wood’s swing should improve one of he’s solely focused on baseball. He’s a great athlete as he was also a standout basketball player in Maryland. During the 2020 summer circuit, Wood batted .298 with three doubles, five triples, three home runs, 23 RBIs and had a 1.139 OPS.

If he’s available with the 16th pick, the Marlins could take him even though he doesn’t necessary fill a need in their farm system. Wood is a very talented player that might be the best available on the Marlins draft board if he isn’t selected yet. James Wood is signed to Mississippi State University.

2. C Henry Davis, Louisville

19th-ranked draft prospect on Baseball America, 26th on MLB Pipeline, 13th on Prospects Live

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Louisville vs Vanderbilt Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

The catcher position is one of the weakest position if not the weakest in the Marlins farm system. Jorge Alfaro is coming off a really rough season and the only possibly starting-quality catching prospect in their pipeline is Will Banfield. The Marlins need to add a catcher in the 2021 draft and might use their first pick.

Miami catcher Adrian Del Castillo is not expected to be available at pick #16 so the Marlins could get another ACC catcher. Third-year catcher out of Louisville Henry Davis could be their best option.

Davis had a productive career in his two seasons at Louisville. He’s career slash line is .303/.381/.463 and also has a career .844 OPS. His power numbers improved during the shortened 2020 season could be a 20-homer hitter at the big league level.

Davis’ best tool is his arm strength. Davis probably has the strongest arm out of all of the catchers in the 2021 MLB Draft. MLB Pipeline has his arm graded as a 70 which is pretty elite company. Some scouts have compared him to former Ohio State catcher and 2020 second round pick Dillon Dingler.

3. RHP Andrew Painter, Calvary Christian Academy (FL)

10th-ranked draft prospect on Baseball America, 11th on MLB Pipeline, 16th on Prospects Live

Andrew Painter would be a great pick for the Miami Marlins if he’s available at 16. Painter is a right-handed pitcher at Calvary Christian Academy in South Florida and he might be the top prep pitcher in the draft.

At 6’7” 230 pounds, Painter has a very large frame and could still add more solid weight to his frame. Painter has a four-pitch mix on the mound with a fastball that tops 97 mph. He also manipulates his fastball at times to be a two and four seamer. His best two secondary pitchers are his curveball and changeup which are graded as a 55 on MLB Pipeline.

Painter also has good control on the mound and does a good job of mixing his pitches to keep hitters off balance. He has an advanced feel for his pitches and also does a great job of repeating his delivery.

If Painter is somehow available at 16, the Marlins should at least really consider taking him. The only thing that could hold the Marlins back from taking Painter is the fact that the Marlins only took pitchers last draft and they already have an incredibly deep pitching farm system. Andrew Painter is signed to the University of Florida.

4. OF Ethan Wilson, South Alabama

18th-ranked draft prospect on Baseball America, 23rd on MLB Pipeline, 12th on Prospects Live

Another top outfield prospect the Marlins might consider taking at 16 is Ethan Wilson out of South Alabama. The Marlins would be getting a good left-handed hitter with above-average power but is limited defensively.

Wilson had a tremendous freshman season batting .345 and broke five-time All-Star Luis Gonzalez’s freshman home run record. He smashed 17 home runs as a freshman and also posted a 1.139 OPS.

Wilson is a career .330 hitter but also has good plate discipline and draws lots of walks. Offensively, Wilson projected to be an everyday player due his hitting tools and his ability to hit left-handers well.

As for his defense, Wilson is pretty limited and projects to play left field at the next level. He has below average speed and arm strength but an average glove. If the Marlins draft Wilson, he’ll be another quality bat to their farm system and could be a player who rises through their farm system quickly if he produces at the dish.

5. LHP Jordan Wicks, Kansas State

27th-ranked draft prospect on Baseball America, 16th on MLB Pipeline, 29th on Prospects Live

The last prospect on the list is Kansas State left-handed pitcher Jordan Wicks. The third-year pitcher has had an impactful career for the Wildcats could be another top left-handed pitcher in the Marlins farm system.

In his two seasons at Kansas State, Wicks had made 19 starts and posted a 2.85 career ERA. He also had a 9-3 record with a 1.22 WHIP, 9.1 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9. Another thing Wicks has done well is prevent the long ball. In 110 innings pitched, Wicks has only allowed four home runs (0.3 HR/9) which were all in his freshman season.

At 6’3” 220 pounds, Wicks doesn’t have much more solid weight to add to is frame. However, Wicks already has a pretty good floor that features the best changeup in the 2021 Draft. His changeup gets tons of swing and miss and also forces a lot of weak contact due to how much depth Wicks gets on his it.

Wicks also has a 55-grade fastball that sits in the low 90s and tops out at 95 mph. His fastball does have a high spin rate but also has gets some riding action to it. Wicks also possess a slider and curveball but the curveball is still being developed. According to MLB Pipeline, some scouts have compared Wicks to 2020 L.A. Angels first-rounder Reid Detmers.

This could be another solid option for the Marlins. Wicks might not have ace potential but he definitely can be a good middle-of-the-rotation type arm and eat a lot of innings. His K/9 probably won’t be great at the next level but he will keep the ball in the yard. If Wicks is taken in the first round, he would be the first Kansas State player ever to be selected in the first round of the MLB Draft.