Marlins Draft Report
Sink or swim, Sinkbeil ready to go
FORT LAUDERDALE - Missouri State righthander Brett Sinkbeil certainly knows how to pick his pitching idols.
Asked which major leaguer he has patterned himself after, the Marlins' first-round pick didn't hesitate.
"I've always liked Roger Clemens, mostly because of his work ethic," Sinkbeil said after going 19th overall in the June draft. "It just seems like he's always as prepared for the situation as he can be. If he isn't successful on the mound, it's not going to be because he was out of shape or wasn't conditioned enough for that start."
Not to get too far ahead of the situation, but Clemens did go 19th overall in 1983 out of the University of Texas.
Sinkbeil vows to bring a similar degree of professionalism to the Marlins should they sign him as expected. The Padres and Phillies showed some interest in Sinkbeil just ahead of the Marlins, as did the Astros a few spots lower.
Slot money should be in the $1.5 million range, and Sinkbeil's advisers Mark Rodgers and Darek Braunecker have made it clear the pitcher wants to start his pro career.
The biggest hurdle for Sinkbeil before the draft was proving to scouting directors he was healthy after missing three weeks with a strained oblique. He came back to pitch the last two weekends of the regular season, including an eight-inning start against Bradley in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament.
Marlins scouting director Stan Meek and national crosschecker David Crowson went back in to see Sinkbeil after his return. Jim Fleming, who oversees scouting and player development for the Marlins, said that last look was key for the club.
"Because of the injury we wanted to go back and make sure he was healthy," Fleming said. "He was outstanding. He was what we saw before the injury. That put our mind at ease."
Sinkbeil's fastball has been clocked as high as 96 mph but he typically pitches at 91-93 mph. He said he feels confident throwing his slider in any count, and his changeup is improving.
"I can throw my slider pretty much anytime," Sinkbeil said. "My change is still getting better but it still needs work. I'm sure that's what the people in the Marlins system are going to work the most on with me."
Sinkbeil grew up near Tulsa, Okla., the same area that has produced former Marlins pitcher Brad Penny and current Marlins pitcher Josh Johnson. A lifelong Cardinals fan, Sinkbeil chose not to sign with them out of high school when they took him with draft-and-follow ideas.
Instead, he headed to Missouri State, where he packed on close to 35 pounds of muscle during the past three years. He didn't add much in terms of height, as he is still listed at either 6-3 or 6-4.
Which is it?
"I've taken physicals for the school, and it changes every year," Sinkbeil said with a laugh. "I don't know what they're doing or if I'm growing and shrinking every year. Just say I'm somewhere between 6-3 and 6-4."FISH BAIT
• The Marlins took Mississippi third baseman Chris Coghlan in the sandwich round, 36th overall. A Cape Cod League batting champion last summer, Coghlan will stay at third for now but could get a look at second base, where he continues to take grounders with the Rebels.
• Third-rounder Scott Cousins, a two-way standout from the University of San Francisco, will focus on hitting and playing left field, Fleming said. The lefty would only return to pitching as a last resort.