MIAMI -- With the MLB Draft reduced from 40 rounds to five due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Marlins’ mindset is to maximize the quality of their picks.
With six picks, including the third overall, Miami is certainly well-positioned to take the cream of the class. The Marlins’ other picks are: second round (40th overall), Competitive Balance Round B (61st), third round (75th), fourth round (104th) and fifth round (134).
“We're not going to be able to introduce the volume of players,” Marlins director of amateur scouting D.J. Svihlik said. “But I have a lot of confidence that we're going to introduce at least as much impactful talent over those six players, and hopefully, there's a few [more] players.”
After the five-round Draft is completed, all teams will be free to sign non-drafted free agents, for a maximum of $20,000. There are no limits on how many of these players can be signed.
In 2019, the Marlins picked fourth overall and they ended up signing 31 players in what is regarded as a strong Draft. The class was headlined by Vanderbilt University outfielder JJ Bleday, now ranked No. 28 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 list. Five of Miami's top 18 prospects were part of the '19 Draft class -- Bleday (2nd), Kameron Misner (12th), Peyton Burdick (14th), Nasim Nunez (17th) and Evan Fitterer (18th).
“The 2020 class is really strong,” Svihlik said. “I'm excited about what's going to come in, even though we won't be able to introduce the volume that we did in previous years.”
Day 1 of the 2020 Draft airs tonight on MLB Network and ESPN at 7 p.m. ET, and includes the first 37 picks. Day 2 begins at 5 p.m. ET on Thursday on MLB Network and ESPN2, and spans the remainder of the 160 picks.
Comprehensive coverage will be available on MLB.com and MLB Pipeline, which will simulcast MLB Network’s broadcast. Go to MLB.com/Draft to see when teams pick, the Top 200 Prospects list, mock drafts from analysts Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, scouting video and more. And follow @MLBDraft and @MLBDraftTracker on Twitter to see what Draft hopefuls, clubs and experts are saying and to get each pick as it’s made.
Here’s how the Draft is shaping up for the Marlins, whose first selection is the third overall pick.
State of the system
Through the Draft, trades and international signings, the Marlins have restocked a once-depleted system. By most accounts, Miami has a top 5 overall farm system, which includes five players on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 list. What’s encouraging for the organization and the fan base is that several of their most touted prospects are close to being big league ready.
What they’re saying
“One thing we talk about is a broader portfolio approach,” Svihlik said. “Everybody wants to talk about the first pick, and I certainly understand that; I've done this a long time. But when we look at our Drafts, we want to bring in a group of players that when you sit back and you look at the whole body … it's not all about just about one player.”
Who might they take?
MLB Pipeline and several other mock Drafts link the Marlins to Texas A&M left-hander Asa Lacy. But should Vanderbilt infielder Austin Martin and/or Arizona State first baseman Spencer Torkelson be on the board, that could change. New Mexico State middle infielder Nick Gonzales could also be a possibility. From the high school ranks, left-handed-hitting outfielder Zac Veen from Spruce Creek High School (Port Orange, Fla.) is ranked as the top prep player.
Each team gets an allotted bonus pool equal to the sum of the values of its selections in the Draft. The more picks a team has, and the earlier it picks, the larger the pool. This year, with a five-round Draft, all signing bonuses of drafted players will apply toward the bonus pool total.
For 2020, there is a $20,000 limit on bonuses for non-drafted free agents. There is no limit to the number of undrafted players teams may sign, but they cannot go over $20,000 per player. These bonuses do not count toward the pool total.
The Marlins have a pool of $12,016,900 to spend, including $7,221,200 to spend on their first selection.
A strength of the Draft is collegiate pitching depth, which matches an area of need. In the past two Drafts, the Marlins leaned heavily toward position players in the early rounds, not selecting a pitcher until the fifth round in both years. That doesn’t necessarily guarantee they will go with a pitcher with the third overall pick, but with only five rounds in the Draft, the opportunity to add some quality arms may be too tempting to pass up.
Selecting Bleday with the fourth overall pick in 2019 marked the first time since Colin Moran (North Carolina) in 2013 that the Marlins took a college player in the first round. One year is hardly a trend, but the organization appears to be moving towards favoring players who are a little more polished. They showed that last year, selecting Bleday instead of prep standouts Riley Greene (fifth to Detroit) and CJ Abrams (sixth to San Diego). Svihlik also has a college background, spending one season as hitting coach and recruiting coordinator at Vanderbilt prior to joining Miami.