Marlins use all 6 Draft picks on pitchers

After taking Max Meyer No. 3 on Wednesday, Daxton Fulton (No. 40) headlines five hurlers taken Thursday

June 12th, 2020

MIAMI -- A shortened 2020 MLB Draft turned into a historic one for the Marlins. For the first time in franchise history, they took pitchers with all of their first six picks.

Miami capped the two-day Draft on Thursday by selecting five pitchers, with four coming from the college ranks. Headlining the group, however, was a prep star -- 6-foot-6 left-hander Daxton Fulton, from Mustang, Okla.

On Wednesday, the Marlins made their splash move by selecting University of Minnesota right-hander Max Meyer with the third overall pick.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 MLB Draft was reduced to five rounds. The Marlins had six total picks, counting a Competitive Balance Round B selection.

Pitching was considered the strength of the 2020 Draft, and the Marlins loaded up on hurlers with high velocities and spin rates.

“Pitching is always important,” said Marlins director of amateur scouting D.J. Svihlik. “Whether it is this year or next year. They say you need three [pitching prospects] to get one [big leaguer]. Pitching depth is really important.”

Never before have the Marlins used their first six picks on pitchers. The closest was in 2005, when, counting compensation picks, the organization had five top-50 picks

All of them went to pitchers -- Chris Volstad, Aaron Thompson, Jacob Marceaux, Ryan Tucker and Sean West. The trend snapped in the second round, when Miami took outfielder Kris Harvey.

The decision to go heavily on pitchers was sound, especially since the Marlins in 2018 and '19 didn’t take a pitcher until the fifth round in both Drafts.

“You see it at the Winter Meetings, [pitching] is very difficult [to find and acquire],” Svihlik said. “They're just targets of trades. They are very, very valuable.”

That started on Thursday with Fulton, an 18-year-old who was considered by MLB Pipeline as the best high school lefty in the Draft. A University of Oklahoma commit, Fulton may have been a first-rounder if he didn’t undergo Tommy John surgery in September. MLB Pipeline ranked him 43rd overall on its Top 200 Draft prospects list.

Fulton, according to MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis, was the toughest pitcher outfielder Zac Veen has faced. Veen, a left-handed hitter from Spruce Creek (Fla.) High School was the ninth overall pick by the Rockies on Wednesday.

Listed at 6-foot-6, 225-pounds, Fulton’s fastball is in the 90-93 mph range, and he has a sweeping, powerful curveball along with a changeup.

The slot value of the 40th pick is $1,856,700.

Competitive Balance Round B, 61st overall: Kyle Nicolas, RHP, Ball State University
A 6-foot-4, 225-pounder from Massillon, Ohio, Nicolas sports a mid-90 mph fastball that has touched 100 mph. In four starts in 2020, Nicolas had a 2.74 ERA, striking out 37 with seven walks in 23 innings. At Jackson (Ohio) High School, Nicolas was part of state title teams in basketball and baseball.

Round 3, 75th overall: Zach McCambley, RHP, Coastal Carolina University
A 6-foot-1, 215-pounder, McCambley has one of the better curveballs in the Draft, while his fastball sits in the 90-94 mph range. The right-hander from Mount Pocono, Pa., may wind up in the bullpen if he doesn't pan out as a starter. McCambley threw 25 innings in the coronavirus-shortened 2020 and had a 1.80 ERA while striking out 32 and walking seven.

Round 4, 104th overall: Jake Eder, LHP, Vanderbilt University
Another imposing left-hander, Eder is listed at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds and was part of Vanderbilt's 2019 College World Series championship team, where he teamed up with JJ Bleday, the Marlins' first-round pick last year. Eder is a South Florida native, playing his prep career at Calvary Christian Academy in Fort Lauderdale. In his four starts for the Commodores this year, the southpaw had a 3.60 ERA in 20 innings, with 27 strikeouts and nine walks. "You're talking about a very durable, strong athlete who is a potential starter in the big leagues," Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin said on the MLB Network Draft show.

Round 5, 134th overall: Kyle Hurt, RHP, University of Southern California
Coming out of high school, Hurt was a highly-touted prospect who projected to go in the early rounds, but he dealt with a knee injury and had a strong commitment to play at USC. (He ended up being drafted in the 34th round by the Phillies in 2017). Hurt had his ups and downs in college, posting a 5.69 ERA in 74 1/3 innings in 2019. He made four starts in '20, and had a 3.71 ERA in 17 innings.