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Marlins net ‘high-contact’ bats on Day 2 

June 4, 2019

MILWAUKEE -- An organizational philosophy for the Marlins took shape on Tuesday in Day 2 of the 2019 MLB Draft. • Draft Tracker The Marlins continue to stockpile college players, and more specifically hitters with track records of putting the ball in play. It appears to be an obvious trait,

MILWAUKEE -- An organizational philosophy for the Marlins took shape on Tuesday in Day 2 of the 2019 MLB Draft.

Draft Tracker

The Marlins continue to stockpile college players, and more specifically hitters with track records of putting the ball in play. It appears to be an obvious trait, but in an era of big power and rising strikeout numbers, the Marlins prioritized finding contact hitters.

“When you go out and see these hitters, one of the biggest red flags with hitters is when they swing and miss a lot,” director of amateur scouting DJ Svihlik said. “That never seems to get better when they enter professional baseball, and the competition continues to grow.

“So, I would say this year, and moving forward with this organization in our Drafts, we don’t need guys coming in and swinging and missing. So, all of these players are high-contact guys that came in with varying degrees of raw power. At the very least, these are guys we feel can put the ball in play, use the field, and give themselves a chance to use their legs.”

The Marlins opened Day 2 by taking outfielder Peyton Burdick from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, in the third round. And they capped the day with another Wright State outfielder, J.D. Orr, who paced the NCAA with 60 stolen bases.

“You’ll also see we got some guys with some legs in this Draft as well,” Svihlik said. “Guys who can really run.”

Of their eight picks, four were position players, and four were pitchers. There were seven college selections to one high school pitcher -- Evan Fitterer from Aliso Niguel High School in California. The right-hander is a UCLA commit.

“There is a big group of high school right-handers every year that departments absolutely love,” Svihlik said. “This is a guy for us.”

Here's who the Marlins selected in Rounds 3-10.

Round 3 (82nd overall): Peyton Burdick, OF, 22, Wright State University (Dayton, Ohio)
A collegiate All-American, Burdick was the Horizon League Player of the Year. The Batavia, Ohio, native has shown speed and power. He belted 15 home runs, drove in 72 runs and stole 24 bases in 27 attempts. The 6-foot, 210-pounder is a right-handed hitter who had a slash line his redshirt junior season that was .407/.538/.729, and he also added 28 doubles.

Round 4 (111th overall): Evan Edwards, 1B, 21, North Carolina State
Keeping with the Marlins' theme of going for college players with performance on their resumes, Edwards is a senior who hit .330/.455/.604 with 14 home runs and 60 RBIs. A left-handed hitter, Edwards walked more than he struck out -- 51 K's to 47 walks in 230 at-bats. Listed at 6-foot, 200 pounds, Edwards profiles almost exclusively at first base, which is fine because he is good defensively. Before joining the Wolfpack, the Greensboro, N.C., native was a third-team Junior College All-American at Spartanburg Methodist College in 2016-17.

Round 5 (141 overall): Evan Fitterer, RHP, 18, Aliso Niguel (Calif.) High School
With their sixth overall pick, the Marlins took their first pitcher. Ranked No. 74 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 200, Fitterer is a projectable right-hander who draws a comparison to Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks. Fitterer is a UCLA commit. He has a four-pitch mix, and his fastball has been clocked as high as 95 mph, but he sits mostly at 90-93. Fitterer turns 19 on June 26.

“It’s the whole package with Evan Fitterer,” Svihlik said. “We see him as a middle- to back-of-the-rotation starter. We’ve seen him up to 96 [mph]. He can spin a breaking ball. He throws strikes right now. He’s got a frame that is projectable.”

Round 6 (171): MD Johnson, RHP, 21, Dallas Baptist (Texas) University
A towering 6-foot-6, 185-pounder, Johnson had a breakthrough senior season, going 10-2 with a 2.76 ERA in 16 starts. The right-hander logged 98 innings, striking out 110, while walking just 29. Opponents had a .203 batting average against him.

Round 7 (201): Bryan Hoeing, RHP, 22, University of Louisville
A year ago, Hoening was a 36th-round selection of the Giants. But instead of going pro, the 6-foot-6, 225-pound right-hander returned to Louisville, and he was a standout, especially as a reliever. Hoeing appeared in 20 games, and made five starts, going 3-3 with a 2.70 ERA. In 60 innings, the Batesville, Ind., native struck out 68, and walked 16. As a reliever, he especially made his mark. In 15 appearances, he didn’t allow a run in eight of them. Out of the ‘pen his ERA was 2.13, with a miniscule 0.92 WHIP.

Round 8 (231): Tevin Mitchell, OF, 22, UC Santa Barbara (Calif.)
A speedster from Clovis, Calif., Mitchell profiles as more of a table-setter than a middle-of-the-order presence. In his senior season, he hit .277/.373/.451 with five home runs and 37 RBIs. He added 11 doubles and three triples, and had an OPS of .824. Mitchell puts pressure on the defense with his plus speed, and he stole 20 bases while being thrown out five times. A 6-foot-1, 170-pounder, Mitchell has shown the ability to put the ball in play. He has a 13.64 strikeout percentage, along with a 10.0 walk percentage.

Round 9 (261): Evan Brabrand, RHP, 23, Liberty (Va.) University
A redshirt senior, Brabrand was a Collegiate Baseball All-American, recognized as a third-team selection. The right-hander is a reliever who went 4-2 with a 1.56 ERA in 24 appearances, with 62 strikeouts and 12 walks in 57 2/3 innings. A strike thrower, the 23-year-old had a 9.68 K/9 and 1.87 BB/9. From 2015-17, Brabrand was at North Carolina State University.

Round 10 (291): J.D. Orr, CF, 22, Wright State University
The Marlins capped their second day by taking their second position player from Wright State. A speedster, Orr paced the NCAA in stolen bases with 60, getting caught 10 times. Profiling as a top-of-the-order hitter, the 22-year-old scored 83 runs. He hit .326/.460/448 with 10 doubles, two triples and one home run.

“Speed shows up every single day,” Svihlik said. “You don’t always get a complete player. That’s the reality. So you try to put in the pieces of his game that are going to allow him to buy himself at-bats, and give himself a chance to grow within the organization. Speed shows up every single day.”

The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 on beginning at noon ET.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.