Marlins not tipping their Draft hand
Organization has always relied on nucleus of young arms
MIAMI -- If past history gives us any indication of what the Florida Marlins are focusing on in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, the proof is in the pitching.
Since general manager Larry Beinfest took over in 2002, the organization has placed a premium on compiling pitching in the June Draft. This year projects to be no different.
"We'll always emphasize pitching, but that doesn't necessarily mean we'll take a pitcher in the first round or second rounds," Beinfest said. "But generally, we'll take the best player available."
The 2007 First-Year Player Draft takes place Thursday and Friday at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando. The first round will be aired on ESPN2 beginning at 2 p.m. ET, and MLB.com will have every pick of the 50-round Draft, start to finish.
The Marlins hold the 12th overall pick in the first round, and then they won't select again until the 77th choice overall, in Round 2.
Jim Fleming, vice president of player development and scouting, and Stan Meek, director of scouting, spearhead the Draft.
In the past few years, the Marlins have been praised for their shrewd selections, and their ability to keep uncovering talented arms.
The only Draft this management team didn't go with a pitcher in Round 1 was 2002, when outfielder Jeremy Hermida was taken with the 11th overall pick. Every year since, Florida has gone with the arms, including five pitchers in the first round (two being compensatory choices) in 2005.
"We never go to need," Fleming said. "When you go for need, that's when you get burned. You've got to go to the strength of the draft."
Exactly what he feels that is, Fleming will not say publicly.
Philosophically, the Marlins feel strongly that pitching wins, and pitchers tend to break down, so there is a need to keep stockpiling. Pitchers also have their highs and lows, so the team looks to bring in as many quality arms as it can find.
The ability to sign the player also is a factor, as the Marlins don't want to pick a player high who won't ultimately stay with them.
Along with pitching, the Marlins will be looking for catching help, as well as center field and middle infielder candidates. The team has shown it will mix in high school and college prospects. Again, Florida officials are open to whichever players make the most sense, regardless of age and experience.
"There is some college pitching at the top of the draft," Fleming said. "And there probably isn't a lot of high school pitching at the top."
Recent top picks:
2006: RHP Brett Sinkbeil, Missouri State University, 19th overall:
The 22-year-old came to the club as a polished right-hander with an excellent sinker. He enjoyed a strong 2006 Minor League season. Now with Class A Jupiter, Sinkbeil spent some time on the disabled list with arm tendinitis. He is working himself back into a groove. He projects as a starter and could be in the big leagues as early as 2008.
|1. TB||LHP||David Price||Vanderbilt U|
|2. KC||SS||Michael Moustakas||Chatsworth HS (Calif.)|
|3. CHC||3B||Josh Vitters||Cypress HS (Calif.)|
|4. PIT||LHP||Daniel Moskos||Clemson U|
|5. BAL||C||Matthew Wieters||Georgia Tech|
|6. WSH||LHP||Ross Detwiler||Missouri St U|
|7. MIL||LF||Matthew LaPorta||U Florida|
|8. COL||RHP||Casey Weathers||Vanderbilt U|
|9. ARI||RHP||Jarrod Parker||Norwell HS|
|10. SF||LHP||Madison Bumgarner||South Caldwell HS|
2005: RHP Chris Volstad, Palm Beach Gardens H.S. (Fla.), 16th overall:
A 6-foot-7 right-hander, Volstad is on the fast track, and is considered the top prospect in the system. At age 20, he showed promise in his first big-league Spring Training camp. The right-hander has had his ups and downs at Class A Jupiter, but he projects to be a frontline starter for years to come. Based on projections, the lanky Volstad will have a chance to make the rotation in 2008.
2005: LHP Aaron Thompson, Second Baptist (Texas) H.S., 22nd overall:
The second of three first-round choices, the left-hander has moxie on the mound. He has an idea on how to pitch, and his stuff is regarded as a No. 3 starter. The 20-year-old is part of the Jupiter Hammerheads rotation, where he is struggling with consistency. He may be a little more than a year away from being ready for the big leagues.
2005: RHP Jacob Marceaux, McNeese State University, 29th overall:
The 23-year-old has been out with an injury since early May. Formerly a starter, Marceaux is being looked at as a reliever. He also is in Jupiter.
2005: RHP Ryan Tucker, Temple City, Calif., 34th overall:
Taken as a compensatory pick, the hard-throwing Tucker is part of the Class A Jupiter staff. The 20-year-old has electrifying stuff, but struggles with command. He will have to improve his strikeouts to walks ratio in order to move quickly through the system.
2005: LHP Sean West, Captain Shreve (La.) High School, 44th overall:
An imposing 6-foot-8, West is out for the season after undergoing shoulder surgery. A promising prospect, he enjoyed a strong season at low Class A Greensboro in 2006, and he was expected to open the season at Jupiter. The 20-year-old should be ready for 2008.
2004: LHP Taylor Tankersley, University of Alabama, 27th overall:
Enjoyed a stellar rookie 2006 season, becoming the Marlins' primary eighth-inning setup man. Right now, the 24-year-old is one of two lefty options out of the bullpen. He opened the season on the disabled list with a sore shoulder, and he is still looking to regain the command he showed as a rookie.
Rising fast: Infielder Chris Coghlan, a second-round choice out of the University of Mississippi in 2006, is a pure hitter who projects as either a second or third baseman. In his first full season of pro ball, Coghlan is posting strong hitting numbers in hitter-friendly low Class A Greensboro. A test will be when he advances to Class A Jupiter, where the parks are bigger in the Florida State League. While he doesn't project to have outstanding power, he should continue to be a gap hitter who can rack up doubles and triples.
Cinderella story: Shortstop Daniel Garcia, a 19-year-old taken in the eighth round of the 2006 Draft, is turning heads at low Class A Greensboro. A native of Covina, Calif., he has showing some promise with the bat, and he has some power potential. His defense is very smooth, and he could be switched to third base or a corner outfield spot if his future isn't at shortstop.
In the show: Tankersley broke in to the big leagues in June of 2006, and the former No. 1 pick in 2004 has become valuable in the late innings. The 24th overall choice out of the University of Alabama, Tankersley is effective against lefty and righty hitters, and in the future he may get a chance to close.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.