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Marlins set to meet with top Draft pick Bleday

@JoeFrisaro
June 27, 2019

MIAMI -- With interest, the Marlins were tuned into Vanderbilt beating Michigan, 8-2, on Wednesday night to claim the College World Series championship in three games. Vanderbilt’s power-hitting right fielder JJ Bleday was the fourth overall pick by the Marlins in the 2019 MLB Draft. Earlier on Thursday, Bleday returned

MIAMI -- With interest, the Marlins were tuned into Vanderbilt beating Michigan, 8-2, on Wednesday night to claim the College World Series championship in three games.

Vanderbilt’s power-hitting right fielder JJ Bleday was the fourth overall pick by the Marlins in the 2019 MLB Draft.

Earlier on Thursday, Bleday returned with his teammates to Nashville, Tenn., and at night, he and his representatives were scheduled to have a conversation with Marlins officials.

Marlins Draft Tracker

“They won last night, and were traveling back to Nashville today,” president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. “We’re scheduled to visit with him [via phone] later today.”

The Marlins are not expected to have any holdups in signing the left-handed-hitting outfielder, who is expected to reach Class A Advanced Jupiter at some point in the summer.

“Everything has been cordial,” Hill said of talks with Bleday and his camp. “We’re hopeful we can work through it quickly, and get him out playing.”

The recommended slot value of the No. 4 pick is $6,664,000. Bleday is expected to sign for around $6.67 million, slightly above slot.

“We want to get them out playing as soon as possible, so he can start his career as soon as possible,” Hill said. “That just means one day closer to the big leagues, as soon as we can get him out playing.”

In his junior season, Bleday led the nation with 27 home runs to go with 72 RBIs. He had a slash line of .347/.465/.701.

Bleday has shown an advanced approach, and a keen eye for the strike zone, walking 61 times to 58 strikeouts.

“He had a tremendous season,” Hill said. “It’s a great way to cap a college career, to lead the nation in home runs, and have a tremendous year. A Golden Spikes finalist, and then help his team win a national championship. He’s had a tremendous college career. We were very excited when we were able to get him at No. 4.”

Once signed, the Marlins will decide where to start off Bleday. He may get some work in the Gulf Coast League to acclimate to pro ball, but he's not likely stay there long.

“First of all, we have to get him signed, and then we’ll sit down with him, and get a feel for where he feels, physically, and what we want to get accomplished once he’s on board,” Hill said.

A realistic place where he would play significantly is Class A Advanced Jupiter.

“We’re looking forward to getting him signed, and get him out playing,” Hill said. “He’s played as long as a college player can play this year.”

“We want to get them out playing as soon as possible, so he can start his career as soon as possible,” Hill said. “That just means one day closer to the big leagues, as soon as we can get him out playing.”

In his junior season, Bleday led the nation with 27 home runs to go with 72 RBIs. He had a slash line of .347/.465/.701.

Bleday has shown an advanced approach, and a keen eye for the strike zone, walking 61 times to 58 strikeouts.

“He had a tremendous season,” Hill said. “It’s a great way to cap a college career, to lead the nation in home runs, and have a tremendous year. A Golden Spikes finalist, and then help his team win a national championship. He’s had a tremendous college career. We were very excited when we were able to get him at No. 4.”

Once signed, the Marlins will decide where to start off Bleday. He may get some work in the Gulf Coast League to acclimate to pro ball, but he's not likely stay there long.

“First of all, we have to get him signed, and then we’ll sit down with him, and get a feel for where he feels, physically, and what we want to get accomplished once he’s on board,” Hill said.

A realistic place where he would play significantly is Class A Advanced Jupiter.

“We’re looking forward to getting him signed, and get him out playing,” Hill said. “He’s played as long as a college player can play this year.”

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