Marlins stick to philosophy of pitching on Day 2

July 19th, 2022

MIAMI -- The Marlins strategically targeted pitching Monday on Day 2 of the 2022 MLB Draft after allocating the majority of their bonus pool ($10.486 million) on LSU third baseman/outfielder Jacob Berry with the sixth overall selection ($6.03 million). Through 10 of 20 rounds, Berry remains the only position player taken by the organization.

According to senior director of amateur scouting DJ Svihlik, there was a concerted effort to choose pitchers in the second and third rounds, and that's what Miami did with prep right-handers Jacob Miller and Karson Milbrandt, respectively. A combination of understanding the market, playing the board straight up and seeing some position players snatched up before it was the Marlins' turn to select made the club decide on the next tier of pitching. So each of their following seven picks was a collegiate arm.

"I think it's really understanding what the depth of the Draft is, what your organization does well, where the depth within the organization lies," Svihlik said. "Those two young guys give us a nice layer of depth down in that FCL and Jupiter area, and an opportunity to develop two young, really high-end arms like a Dax Fulton, how he's exploded.

"In the meantime, you take in some really experienced college arms that have an opportunity to move a little quicker, and hopefully you can add some balance to the organization and let some of those college guys move quickly up toward the top and create some depth up there and resources for [general manager Kim Ng]."

If pitching was a theme, what about the type? For the Marlins, the draftee needs spin and to be a strike-thrower. Just look at their recent Draft history:

2018: 24 of 41 picks were pitchers, 22 from the collegiate level
2019: 18 of 41 picks were pitchers, 16 from the collegiate level
2020: All 6 picks were pitchers, 5 from the collegiate level
2021: 10 of 21 picks were pitchers, all 10 from the collegiate level

Among this year's class, Duke's Marcus Johnson (fourth round), California's Josh White (fifth) and Louisville's Jared Poland (sixth) were Friday night starters. Louisiana Tech teammates Kyle Crigger (seventh) and Cade Gibson (10th) will begin their pro careers as a starter. Early on in the process, Miami targeted lefty relievers Dale Stanavich (Rutgers, eighth) and Evan Taylor (Arkansas, ninth).

Poland, who was once a two-way player, continues a lineage of Louisville pitchers in the Marlins' system. He was teammates at Louisville with Bryan Hoeing (seventh round in 2019, currently at Triple-A Jacksonville). Miami also drafted Sam Bordner in the 16th round in '18, but he is now pitching in the independent Atlantic League.

"Louisville has always been one of our favorite programs," Svihlik said. "They produce Major League players for a reason. Dan McDonnell is a a heck of a coach. I knew him really well when I was an area scout when he was the recruiting coordinator at Ole Miss. The recruiting coordinator at Louisville was my coach in college. They have a really good pitching coach, so it's just a no-nonsense program. They treat their players like professionals. Players go there, they get stronger, they play the game the right way. You always feel like you're going to get a really nice product out of Louisville. When you draft players, you're buying people, not just players, and Louisville tends to produce a pretty good person."