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Revisiting the 2023 Marlins MLB Draft class after the conclusion of the minor league season.
Best Pure Hitter: The Marlins invested heavily in pitching at the top of the draft, but first baseman Brock Vradenburg (3) has a savvy ability to control the strike zone and use all fields with authority. There are some pure contact and bat speed questions, but he has a chance for an average hit tool.
Best Power Hitter: Outfielder Kemp Alderman (2) had some of the best exit velocity data you could find in college in 2023. He is very solidly a power-over-hit offensive profile, but he has tremendous, light-tower raw power and homered 19 times this spring with Mississippi. Both his 90th percentile and max exit velocities were far and away the best of Miami’s draft class in his pro debut.
Fastest Runner: There are no true burners in this Miami draft class, but outfielders Jake DeLeo (6) and Colby Shade (9) have both turned in plus run times out of the box. DeLeo never stole more than eight bags in college, but he abused lower-level batteries in the minors and went 14-for-14 in stolen base attempts at Low-A Jupiter in his pro debut.
Best Defensive Player: Shade (9) is a standout defender in the outfield with the sort of speed and route-running ability to stick in center field every day. His arm strength would fit better in left than right if he doesn’t stay in the middle of the outfield grass.
Best Fastball: Both Noble Meyer (1) and Thomas White (1s) have strong cases for this category as prepsters who are regularly in the mid 90s and can get into the upper 90s. We’ll lean towards Meyer for this category thanks to his better fastball command and impressive running life on the pitch.
Best Secondary Pitch: Meyer’s (1) slider was one of the best breaking balls in the 2023 class and has a chance for 70-grade upside thanks to tremendous spin, tons of horizontal sweeping life and power via mid-80s velocity. White’s (1s) changeup meanwhile, is merely just a plus offering.
Best Pro Debut: Righthander Xavier Meachem (10) was third among all debut arms with 28 strikeouts after throwing 20.1 innings between the FCL and Low-A Jupiter. He sat in the low 90s with his fastball and got a ton of misses on his mid-80s, high-spin slider which could be a plus offering.
Best Athlete: Both Meyer (1) and White (1s) are impressive athletes on the mound, but Shade (9) probably has the most obvious typical athleticism that shows up on the diamond given his speed and ability to get out of the box quickly, in addition to solid power and loud exit velocity numbers.
Most Intriguing Background: Vradenburg (3) comes from an extremely athletic family. His father played football at San Diego State, his mother played soccer at Pacific and his sister played softball at Allegheny (Pa.).
Closest To The Majors: It’s difficult to ever pick a prep pitcher for this category, but Meyer’s advanced pitchability and loud pure stuff makes him a legitimate candidate here. Instead, let’s go with Meachem, who is two years older and could move quickly out of the bullpen with the requisite two-pitch combination for that role.
Best Day Three Pick (Or NDFA): Righthander Nigel Belgrave (15) gives an organization known for developing arms a ton of arm talent to work with for just $150,000 on day three. He has a fastball that’s been up to 97, a high-spin sweepy slider in the low 80s with sharp late turn and has also mixed in a low-90s cutter. If the Marlins can continue to help him throw more strikes—which he did better in 2023 with Maryland—they could have a real value pick.