So first, a mea culpa: I took the Marlins not because I know a lot about them, but instead because they were still hanging around and the teams I knew by heart were all taken. I figured I could kill two birds with one stone - fill in a gap here, and learn everything there is to know about a team that tends to develop players pretty well. I have actually done a fair amount of research (never as much as I want to, though), but have not had many long stretches of time to type it all up. Even right now, we're in a storm and the internet is coming and going. I'll spare you the details, and get right to it. If there are any marlins fans out there that were just aching to do this, please help me out here - I feel bad for underperforming already.
So the Marlins:Penurious, cutthroat, martyr tenants, disloyal employers, World Champions x 2. All these terms fit. Some say they have an advanced, brilliant model that consists of essentially drafting well, raising 'em right, riding 'em hard, and selling 'em off almost the way that family down the street does whenever their car exceeds the warranty miles. Sorry Edgar, Mike, Charles, Josh, AJ, et al: the time of elves is over, and it's now time for the Age of Farmkids. To me, that leads directly to a main draft philosophy of taking the best available player.
But, their philosophy is a little more nuanced than that. They don't like to pay too much - Livan Hernandez's bonus from 15 years ago is still the 3rd highest in team history, and Skipworth's bonus from 2008 is the highest since 2000. They're not afraid of HS kids, nor of arms, nor of a combination of both - they took four HS arms in Round 1 of 2005, then Chad James in Round 1 of 2009, and a few others in high rounds in between. And they seem to like tools - they draft HS projects like Stanton, Skipworth, Marquis Cooper, and Dominguez, and trade for ones like Hanley and Maybin.
So although their low draft slots (#23, 73, 103) mean it's hard to predict exactly who they will take, I think it’s reasonable to guess on several overriding elements. First, they'll draft regardless of position, perhaps with the exception of any HS catcher projects that may be expensive (they already have one of those in Skipworth). Second, I don't think they'll take anyone who will be an overslot sign, which means they WON’T take the best player available if it's someone who falls due to signability concerns but still wants Top-10 money.
Third, they seem very happy to draft under the belief that you can’t have enough arms in the system. In a draft rich with arms, perhaps they will do what they did in 2005 and lean heavily to the mound side of things. If any team HAD a reason to avoid position players due to their system, the marlins would be one of them, with guys like Skipworth, Sanchez/Morrison, Uggla/Coghlan, Hanley, Dominguez, Stanton, Maybin, and Coghlan arranged around the diamond. Fourth, I stopped trying to determine if there’s a trend within the arms they usually take. They move into a new stadium soon, and I think it would be unwise to try to draft for flyballers vs. groundballers, etc. Fifth, I don't think the Marlins are shy about taking guys who need major development tweaks; it appears to me they have a lot of faith in their development system, and so it makes sense that they can sculpt guys who bring the proper attitude to that athleticism. Of course, it wouldn't be 2010 if there weren't a bushelful of Web prognosticators here to guide us through their opinion on something, and the draft is one of them. Mock draft choices for Florida at #23 include AJ Cole (Kevin Goldstein), Aaron Sanchez (Perfect Game USA), Barret Loux (MLB Fanhouse), and Karsten Whitson (MLB John Mayo). Loux doesn't seem like a great fit to me, and Cole seems like he might be a little too spendy if he falls that far. Sanchez and Whitson, on the other hand, seem like very likely picks if they are available at #23.
my thoughts are to grab a pick from among these players, for the following reasons.
Aaron Sanchez - HS RHP, one of the top prep arms, upside, chance to fall
Karsten Whitson – HS RHP, Top prep arm, chance to fall, local
Peter Tago – HS RHP. Likely available, likely won’t be there at 73
Dylan Covey, HS RHP. Stock has slipped a bit, but the confident Marlins are OK with that.
AJ Cole, HS RHP. Contradicting myself from above, I think they have to at least consider him if he falls to here.
Nick Castellanos - HS 3B. If he falls, he’s a Marlins type of pick.
Kolbrin Vitek – College 2B/OF. Athletic college bat that could move fast, could help at 2B or CF. Marlins not afraid to play big sticks with bad gloves in the INF, and could dream of keeping Vitek at 2B even if he is below average defensively.
Kaleb Cowart – HS 3B/RHP. Athletic HS bat, he’s got to be in the mix here.
Levon Washington – Juco 2B/OF. This is my reach. I think he’s exactly the kind of guy the Marlins think they can develop, and fits in well with their system. If they like him, will they wait until 73?
Marlins fans, check it out and see how you rank these 9 guys coming up. Someone from the Top 5 will likely be available, and is likely to be the guy I’ll type in here in a couple hrs. If you have another, definitely propose him – please just include an explanation. If you’ve heard rumors of the Marlins linked to any guys at 23, also let me know. I've go my own rank among these 8, but I'd like to see what you Fish Fans think first. Both of you!