Marlins address various needs through Draft

Marlins address various needs through Draft

MIAMI -- Starting pitching, they say, sets the tone in the big leagues. The Marlins are hoping that the selection of a potential future ace set the standard for their 2016 Draft.

With the seventh overall pick, Miami on Thursday picked prep sensation Braxton Garrett from Florence (Ala.) High School. The lefty headlines 18 pitchers the organization selected over the three-day Draft, which concluded with rounds 11-40 on Saturday.

Garrett was the Marlins' main target heading into the Draft, and when he was available, the club didn't hesitate taking the 18-year-old, who already has an advanced curveball.

"Garrett is the guy we really wanted," Marlins vice president of scouting Stan Meek said. "We thought he would be there, hopefully, for us. When you start right, you start feeling really good. It kind of seems like it just flows from there."

Selecting a potential top-of-the-rotation lefty with their top pick enabled the club to address other needs the rest of the Draft. Miami didn't have a second-round pick, but in the third round, the club landed center fielder Thomas Jones from Laurens (S.C.) High School.

"Jones is an athlete with big upside," Meek said. "We thought he was real value in the third round."

Garrett and Jones are Vanderbilt University commitments, but the Marlins like their chances of signing both.

The Marlins had nine picks in the first 10 rounds. Their bonus pool to sign those choices is $6,665,900. The recommended slot for Garrett is $3,756,300, and for Jones, it's $741,700.

Overall, the Marlins are hopeful signing all their primary picks will not be an issue.

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"We're confident," Meek said. "We've got a couple of things we've got to work through on a couple of guys, but for the most part, we feel real good about signing a majority of these players."

The Marlins had 39 total picks, and they selected 14 right-handed pitchers and four lefties. They also added four catchers, seven outfielders and 10 infielders (with six playing either second base or shortstop).

"We tried to get kind of everything," Meek said. "We looked middle-of-the-field. We tried to add some value and power arms."

The Marlins also went heavily with college players, taking 33 players who are either at junior colleges or four-year schools, and six high school choices.

"We had taken a lot of high school guys the last couple of years," Meek said. "We wanted to get a little bit more baseball players with experience in the system. It kind of complements the high school kids. So we went real heavy on the college side."

The Marlins may have a challenge signing their 13th rounder, right-hander Nick Eicholtz, a junior from the University of Alabama, who could opt to go back for his senior season.

"We liked him in high school," Meek said. "He went to Alabama. We'll be challenged a little bit to sign him. He's outside of the pool. We're hopeful we can work something out with him. We thought he was real solid at that spot."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.