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Marlins 2002 Draft Overview

By Josh Boyd
May 16, 2002

Scouting Director: Jim Fleming (first year: 2002).

2000 Draft (First three rounds, picking first)
1. Adrian Gonzalez, 1b, Eastside HA, Chula Vista, Calif.
2. Jason Stokes, 1b, Coppell (Texas) HS.
3. Rob Henkel, lhp, UCLA.

2001 Draft (First three rounds, picking 16th)
1. (Choice to White Sox as compensation for free agent Charles Johnson).
2. Garrett Berger, rhp, Carmel (Ind.) HS.
3. Allen Baxter, rhp, Varina HS, Sandston, Va.

2002 Draft
Marlins pick 11th in rotation.

Overview
The chaos surrounding the Marlins and Expos in the spring, after Jeffrey Loria bailed out of Montreal and brought his ownership to South Florida, actually didn't have the effect on the scouting department that some might have expected.

Jim Fleming and his scouting staff all accompanied Loria in the move, and scouts who were Expos employees one day were Marlins employees the next. But either way, they were still scouting the same players for the same scouting director, with the same ultimate goal in mind.

Their financial situation is a different story, and it's not clear whether the Marlins will draft the best player available with the 11th overall pick, or settle for a signable prospect.

Under previous administrations, the Marlins were sometimes big spenders in the draft, dating back to righthander Josh Beckett, who garnered a $3.625 million bonus and a major league contract in 1999.

In 2000, the Marlins locked up No. 1 overall pick Adrian Gonzalez with a $3 million predraft bonus, in what was seen by most people as a money-driven move. But then they tabbed powerful Jason Stokes, who had slipped into the second round due because of his big bonus demands, and signed him for $2.027 million. Rob Henkel's $650,000 bonus was the third-highest (Grady Sizemore, $2 million and Chris Young, $1.65 million) in the third round that year.

Even the Expos spent more on their drafts under Fleming than you might expect, based on their reputation. Fleming joined the Expos in 1990 as an area scout, moved up to regional supervisor and crosschecker and took over as scouting director in August 1997.

In his first draft in 1998, Fleming had to go the signability route with first-rounder Josh McKinley, who didn't reach Double-A until this season. But the Expos spent money and brought in quality in the last three drafts, adding top prospect Brandon Phillips and a good crop of arms, including righthanders Josh Karp and Justin Wayne.

With all that in mind, people in the scouting community are mixed on which way the Marlins will go with their first pick. If they take a budget-conscious approach, Virginia Tech lefthander Joe Saunders or high school outfielder Brent Clevlen might fit. Outfielder Denard Span is a potential match if they want to project a younger position player, and lefthander Scott Kazmir would be hard to pass up if he falls this far.

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