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Marlins Draft Preview
By Josh Boyd
Scouting Director: Stan Meek (first draft: 2003).
2000 Draft (First five rounds, picking first)
2001 Draft (First five rounds, picking 16th)
2002 Draft (First five rounds, picking 11th)
(*Did not sign.)
Meek spent four years as the Devil Rays national crosschecker before taking the same position with the Expos (under Fleming) in 2001 and the Marlins last year. Another new addition since last year's draft, former Devil Rays scouting director Dan Jennings was brought on board as director of player personnel last summer. One of the most respected talent evaluators in the game, his input will also be valuable on draft day. His traditional scouting philosophies fit right in with Fleming's and Meek's track record.
Holding the 11th overall pick in the first round last year, the Marlins took Florida prep outfielder Jeremy Hermida, and promptly signed him to a slot bonus of $2.012 million. But this pick was a lot more about talent--they had Hermida ranked as the best hitter in the draft--than most people expected.
It took six months to sign third-rounder Trevor Hutchinson, a senior righthander from Cal represented by the Scott Boras Corp, but the Marlins feel they have added a fast-track pitcher into the system.
They found a potential steal in sixth-rounder Scott Olsen, a seldom scouted high school lefty from the suburbs of Chicago. Had Olsen been in a scouting hotbed, he would have surely been tabbed as a top three round pick. The Marlins have also already inked 46th-round draft-and-follow Nick Ewen, one of the best hitting prospects in Illinois.
Because of the franchise's financial situation, there is still a question of whether the Marlins will draft the best available talent, or opt for a signability pick. However, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has never been shy about doling out signing bonuses.
The Marlins would be thrilled if Pennsylvania outfielder Chris Lubanski, a Rocco Baldelli type athlete, falls to the 16th pick. The all-around potential of Lastings Milledge might also be a consideration. They are also high on high school southpaws John Danks (Texas) and Andrew Miller (Florida), who could go in the top 15.