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Meet Miami Marlins first-round draft pick Kahlil Watson

The high-upside prep shortstop headlines the Marlins’ 2021 draft class.


With their first pick in the 2021 MLB Draft (No. 16 overall), the Marlins selected Kahlil Watson, a shortstop from Wake Forest High School (Wake Forest, NC).

“Watson may be the most explosive prep shortstop in this class, and if everything clicks, he could be a star...His build and a sometimes shorter arm action suggest a move to second base is at least possible. Some similarities to Jazz Chisholm in that regard.” —Prospects Live (ranked No. 8 overall prospect)

“Watson isn’t the most physical player you’ll see, listed at 5-foot-9, 178 pounds, but there are scouts in the industry who believe his combination of athleticism, tools and defensive profile give him the most upside in the class. Watson has outstanding bat speed and plenty of strength in his swing, with a tendency to take massive hacks and try to hit for power. Despite that approach, he has shown a smooth, left-handed swing and an ability to manipulate his barrel, with impressive at-bats against some of the best pitchers in the class over the summer.” —Baseball America (ranked No. 6 overall prospect)

“Though he has an aggressive power-over-hit approach that may need toning down against more advanced pitchers, he does make consistent contact and doesn’t chase pitches out of the strike zone too often. Running better than ever as a senior, Watson consistently displays well-above-average speed and is a base-stealing threat.” —MLB Pipeline (ranked No. 4 overall prospect)

“Of the 50 FV prospects in this draft, this is the one with the most variance.” —FanGraphs (ranked No. 4 overall prospect)

  • Age: 18
  • Height/Weight: 5-9/178
  • 2021 Season Stats: .513/.655/1.179, 6 HR, 14 RBI, 18 BB, 1 K (15 games)
  • Pick Slot Value: $3,745,500 (37.6% of $9,949,800 total bonus pool)
  • College Commitment: North Carolina State
  • Twitter/Instagram Accounts: @KahlilWatson1/@_kahlillwatson_

The expectation is that Watson will require significantly more than his slot value to sign and forgo his collegiate career at NC State. The Marlins have until August 1 to work that out with him.

Welcome to Miami, Kahlil!


Was Kahlil Watson the right choice with the No. 16 overall pick?

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  • 82%
    (258 votes)
  • 8%
    (25 votes)
  • 9%
    Never heard of him
    (29 votes)
312 votes total Vote Now