Marlins Draft Report Card

The Marlins traditionally have an affinity for athletic, projectable high schoolers who will stick close to the commissioner's slot guidelines. This year was no exception, as their first three picks (James, Berglund, Cooper) all fit that profile.

BEST PURE HITTER: Area scout Tim McDonnell got a steal in a California high school outfielder/football star two years ago (Mike Stanton) and may have another one in Brent Keys (17). A line-drive hitter with plus speed, Keys hit .288 with more walks (28) than strikeouts (20) in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. >> BEST POWER HITTER: OFs Kyle Jensen (12) and Chad Cregar (15) both offer a lot of raw lefthanded power. Jensen has an easier stroke, while Cregar has more bat speed. Cregar got only 32 at-bats in his pro debut because he injured his right shoulder on a swing. >> FASTEST RUNNER: OF Marquise Cooper (3) can get from the right side of the plate to first base in less than 4.0 seconds, giving him 80 speed on the 20-80 scouting scale. >> BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER: SS Chris Wade (11) has good actions, soft hands and a better arm than the Marlins realized. A draft-eligible sophomore, he began the summer in the Cape Cod League before signing for $150,000.


BEST FASTBALL: LHP Chad James (1) has the best combination of life and velocity, sitting at 90-92 mph and touching 95. RHP Josh Hodges (7), a giant at 6-foot-7 and 235 pounds, peaks at 96. RHP Dan Mahoney (4) reached 95 before requiring Tommy John surgery. >> BEST SECONDARY PITCH: RHP Bryan Berglund (2) has a short, quick slider. James had one of the best changeups among high schoolers in the draft.


BEST PRO DEBUT: RHP A.J. Ramos (21) is just 5-foot-10, but he has a low-90s fastball and an average curveball. He went 2-2, 2.14 with 50 strikeouts in 34 innings at short-season Jamestown. LHP Jared Eskew (29) led the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League with seven wins. >> BEST ATHLETE: Cooper attracted interest from college football programs as a tailback/linebacker. >> MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND:: Berglund is the first Swedish player ever drafted and is seeking to become the first Swede to reach the majors since Eric Erickson in 1922. LHP Brett Bukvich's (18) brother Ryan pitched parts of six seasons in the big leagues. >> CLOSEST TO THE MAJORS: LHP Stephen Richards (8), who throws strikes and has a solid slider, or RHP Matt Montgomery (10), a sinker/slider specialist. >> BEST LATE-ROUND PICK: Keys. Others to watch include OF Rand Smith (20) and SS Noah Perio (39). Smith is a good athlete who hit safely in 42 of his final 43 games at Appalachian State. Florida signed Perio, who shows solid tools across the board except for arm strength, away from Texas for $150,000. >> THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY: RHP Tyler Curtis (13) hit 94 mph during the spring at the JC of Southern Idaho, but a physical revealed a torn elbow ligament and derailed contract talks. He won't pitch during the spring while rehabbing his elbow.