The Marlins wasted little time adding another pitcher to their system, reaching agreement with Florida State University left-hander Antonio Velez as a non-drafted free agent.
Velez had the option to return to FSU and repeat his senior year, but he decided to pursue his professional career. Sunday started the signing period for non-drafted free agents, and Velez made up his mind quickly to turn pro.
Marlins director of amateur scouting D.J. Svihlik said on a Zoom call with media on Friday that the organization plans to sign as many as 10 free agents. But until physicals and paperwork are finalized, Miami has a standard policy of not announcing signings.
Velez becomes the latest pitcher to join the Marlins' Minor League ranks. In last week's MLB Draft, they used all six of their picks on pitchers, headlined by University of Minnesota right-hander Max Meyer, selected third overall. Meyer has already reached agreement, and all six picks are expected to be signed by the end of the month.
At 6-foot-1, 212 pounds, Velez was off to an impressive start in 2020. In 17 1/3 innings, the lefty allowed just one earned run for an 0.52 ERA. His signature moment came on March 10, when he tossed six shutout innings in FSU’s 2-0 upset over No. 1-ranked University of Florida.
The Gators were 16-0 before Velez struck out a career-high seven batters. For that victory, Velez was named Collegiate Baseball National Pitcher of the Week for March 16.
The NCAA cancelled the remainder of the season due to the coronavirus pandemic shortly after Velez’s impressive performance. For seniors who had their final year of eligibility cut short due to the pandemic, the NCAA is allowing them the opportunity to return next season.
The Marlins are expected to sign several more non-drafted free agents by the end of the week.