Marlins hope they landed steal in lefty Lilek
First-round talent slips to No. 50; Miami likes potential of advanced college hurler
MIAMI -- If not for some command issues early in the season, left-hander Brett Lilek likely would have gone in first round in Monday's Draft. So when the 22-year-old was available with the 50th pick, the Marlins pounced.
Eager to land an advanced college pitcher with upside, the Marlins took the Arizona State University lefty with their second-round selection. Lilek, who dealt with biceps tendinitis as a junior, projects as a middle-of-the-rotation big league starter.
"We really like the delivery and arm action," Marlins vice president of scouting Stan Meek said. "He kind of looks like the guys we see in the big league parks. There is a lot of upside to him."
The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at 1 p.m. ET. Miami's third round pick is 85th overall.
A 6-foot-4, 194-pounder, Lilek went 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA in 17 games (15 starts) this season. In assessing his delivery and presence, Lilek reminds the Marlins of Jon Lester, although they aren't saying he is at the level of the Cubs lefty. Lilek's fastball was clocked in the 93-95 mph range.
The selection of Lilek came after Miami went with first baseman Josh Naylor with the 12th pick.
In Naylor and Lilek, Miami addressed a couple of organizational needs, mainly adding a lefty power bat and another southpaw to their system.
"The college starting-type pitcher that's advanced and with a good delivery, we needed that," Meek said. "We tend to go with a lot of high school kids. This guy, just for us, really fit. We thought college pitching was something that we needed to address. This guy really fit for us here."
In 2014, Miami made prep sensation Tyler Kolek, a hard-throwing right-hander, the second overall pick. Kolek has tremendous upside, but he has a ways to go in his development.
In Lilek, the Marlins are hopeful they have a left-hander who can make a comparatively quick jump in the system.
"He sure has stuff," Meek said. "His arm action and delivery are in place. If he throws the ball where he wants to enough, his stuff will work in the big leagues pretty quickly, hopefully."
Health is key. Early in the college season, Lilek dealt with some tendinitis, Meek said. He labored with command, which is largely why he slipped to the second round. But in the second half, he showed improvement.
"He struggled a little bit in the first half, but in the second half, when we had guys go in there, he was really good," Meek said. "He was good in a really big game against the University of Arizona."
The Marlins are seeking power college arms capable of reaching the big leagues quickly. Lilek fits the mold.
"He really in our mind was a first-round pick that we got in the second round," Meek said. "We're really happy with him."
For the 50th pick, the bonus slot value is $1,196,800, but that doesn't necessarily mean the player will sign for that figure.