Athleticism attracts Marlins to draft catcher Cohen
MIAMI -- Drafting an athletic catcher paid off for the Marlins in 2010, when they selected J.T. Realmuto, a converted shortstop, in the third round. Miami hopes it has once again uncovered another catching gem in Justin Cohen.
The Marlins selected Cohen in the sixth round on Tuesday on Day 2 of the 2015 MLB Draft. The 18-year-old from Riverview High School in Sarasota, Fla., has the makings of being a solid pro, but first he must sign.
Cohen, who has a commitment to Florida State University, is weighing his options.
"I haven't made any decisions on whether I want to sign here or there," Cohen said. "I kind of kept my head in the game my senior year. I didn't think too much about it. We got lucky, because we went to the regional finals this year. We hadn't done that in forever. I felt like staying with my team, and being humble was my best opportunity."
The recommended bonus for the 176th pick is $274,000. If necessary, Miami should have the flexibility to go over that amount, because its top few Draft picks are likely to sign for under slot.
"At Florida State, you're living the luxury lifestyle," Cohen said. "It's a high prioritized program. But it's always been my dream to play pro ball."
Stan Meek, Miami's vice president of scouting, also sounds confident that a deal can be reached.
"He's kind of indicated he wants to play. I think we'll be good there," Meek said. "Those schools are tough. They want their guys. But this guy has indicated to us all along that he did want to go out if we made it work for him."
Cohen added that playing professionally is his dream, and he's already gotten a taste of the big league experience.
A week before the Draft, Cohen was one of four players invited to work out for Miami evaluators at Marlins Park.
"I worked out for quite a few other teams," Cohen said. "I felt like the Marlins was my best workout. I really liked the atmosphere."
The Marlins are seeking more athletic players, and Realmuto has shown why since becoming their regular catcher. Cohen could also have a bright future in the big leagues.
"He's an athletic kid," Meek said. "He worked out for us late. We liked everything we saw, plus arm, solid receiver. We think there is some bat there. We think we're getting an athlete behind the plate. We really like that one, if we can get him signed."