MIAMI -- With a lively fastball and an advanced curveball, left-hander Braxton Garrett has the makings of a future big league ace. The Marlins saw his vast potential and made him the seventh overall pick in the 2016 Draft.
Before throwing a pitch at the professional level, the industry has recognized the talents of the Florence, Ala., native, by ranking Garrett 43rd on the Top 100 Prospects list, according to MLBPipeline.com.
Garrett is the only Marlins prospect listed in the Top 100, which was announced on MLB Network on Saturday night. Not surprisingly, the lefty is also rated as Miami's top prospect.
Marlins vice president of player development Marc DelPiano sees tremendous upside in Garrett.
"For us, we think he has the chance to be a top-of-the-rotation starter," DelPiano said. "He's got an efficient delivery, a very clean arm action. He has a plus fastball, curveball and change."
The annual ranking of MLB's Top 100 prospects is assembled by MLBPipeline.com. Draft and prospect experts Jonathan Mayo, Jim Callis and Mike Rosenbaum, who compile input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, proximity to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. Only players with rookie status entering the 2017 season are eligible for the list. Players who were at least 23 years old when they signed and played in leagues deemed to be professional (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Cuba) are not eligible.
The Marlins made a hefty financial commitment to Garrett, signing the left-hander to a $4,145,900 bonus last July. The recommended slot value for the seventh overall pick was $3,756,300.
Because of the number of innings he logged in school, and the fact he signed on July 14, Garrett didn't appear in a Minor League game in 2016.
"We had to build him up to where he could understand our throwing program, the stuff we do on flat ground, all the routines," DelPiano said in late September. "We wanted to make sure he had a good foundation in place before getting on the mound."
The 19-year-old lefty will likely open 2017 with the Gulf Coast League Marlins, based in Jupiter, Fla., before being promoted to Batavia in the New York-Penn League this summer.
Garrett dominated as a senior at Florence High School in north Alabama, posting a 0.53 ERA with 131 strikeouts in 65 1/3 innings. He had an opportunity to play collegiately at Vanderbilt, but he opted to start his professional career.
"We believe the mentality that he has is one that's committed and tough-minded," DelPiano said. "We believe this guy is going to be able to log innings and become a top-of-the-rotation starter for years to come."
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com 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.