2011 Draft Report Card: Florida Marlins





POSITION PLAYERS

QUICK TAKE
Not signing Barron or Palmer left Florida with just two position players in the first 11 rounds. Fernandez will try to become the first Marlins first-rounder to make it big since Adrian Gonzalez (2000).
Bonus Spending: $4.1 million
BEST PURE HITTER:  1B Ryan Rieger (7) has a pretty lefthanded swing and keeps the bat in the hitting zone for a long time. BEST POWER HITTER:  OF Jhiomar Veras (15) topped NJCAA Division II with 23 homers in 2011, winning national player of the year honors and leading Western Oklahoma State to a national championship. He also tied for the NCJAA D-II lead with 20 longballs as a freshman. FASTEST RUNNER:  OF Ryan McIntyre (12) has regained his 65 speed on the 20-80 scouting scale. He missed much of the 2010 season after surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER:  C/2B Austin Barnes (9) never played behind the plate in high school before moving there at Arizona State. Agile behind the plate, he has a quick release and threw out 39 percent of basestealers in his pro debut.

PITCHERS

BEST FASTBALL:  RHP Jose Fernandez (1) was clocked at 94-97 mph throwing his riding four-seam fastball in instructional league. He also has a heavy two-seamer in the low 90s. LHP Adam Conley (2) can hit 97 mph in shorter stints, and he has good sink on this two-seamer. LHP Charlie Lowell (6) and RHPs Scott Lyman (10) and Jacob Esch (11) all can run their fastballs up to 95-96 mph. BEST SECONDARY PITCH:  RHP Mason Hope (5) has a wipeout curveball that qualifies as a plus-plus pitch at times. Fernandez has a pair of power breaking balls in his curveball and slider, and Florida will let him keep throwing both because they don't detract from each other.

ODDS AND ENDS

BEST PRO DEBUT: RHP James Nygren (33) had a 1.36 ERA, six saves and 34 strikeouts in 33 innings in the Gulf Coast League, though he was old by complex-league standards at 22. Finesse LHP Greg Nappo (18) opened his pro career with 14 scoreless innings at short-season Jamestown and went 3-0, 3.68 in his first four low Class A starts before fading late. BEST ATHLETE: Barnes is more athletic than more catchers and still retains enough quickness that he played 12 games at second base in his pro debut. Veras has solid speed and arm strength to go with his impressive raw power. MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND: As a Cuban defector, Fernandez has extra appeal to the South Florida market. RHP Dejai Oliver's (8) father Joe caught for 13 seasons in the majors. Barnes' uncle Mike Gallego also spent 13 seasons in the big leagues. CLOSEST TO THE MAJORS: Conley or Lowell. If Conley refines his slider and/or moves to the bullpen, he should arrive in Florida first. BEST LATE-ROUND PICK: Veras or Nygren, who throws a 90-92 mph fastball and solid slider for strikes. THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY: The Marlins made a seven-figure offer to athletic SS Connor Barron (3) but couldn't lure him away from Southern Mississippi. They were close to signing offensive-minded 2B Tyler Palmer (4) before he cut his right hand so severely that it put his career in jeopardy.