Marlins won't shy away from power arms in Draft
Young ace Fernandez's injury has not altered club's search for hard throwers
MIAMI -- At the rate power arms are going down with injuries, it would be understandable if teams thought twice about spending top dollars in the Draft on pitching.
The way the Marlins see it, the reward of landing a quality arm is worth the risk.
The Marlins entered Thursday's First-Year Player Draft possessing the second overall pick, as well as the Nos. 36 and 43 selections. Miami is expected to take a power arm with at least with one of those picks.
The organization has seen firsthand the risk and rewards of going with premier pitching in the first round. In 2011, the club selected Jose Fernandez, and two years later, the right-hander was the National League Rookie of the Year Award winner.
In mid-May, however, Fernandez's elbow ligament gave out, and the 21-year-old underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery. Fernandez is among the growing list of high-end pitchers to be lost to injury.
Still, that doesn't have the Marlins shying away if another Jose Fernandez is in the 2014 Draft.
"Not really," vice president of scouting Stan Meek said. "If we saw a guy who looked like Jose out there again, we'd go right after him. We want exactly that kind of a guy. We were thrilled when [Fernandez] was there for us in that Draft. And we'd be thrilled for somebody to look like him in this Draft."
The direction the Marlins with the second pick will depend on who the Astros take first. There is a big financial attachment to the second pick, which has a slot value of $6.8 million.
At the top of the Draft, the top three pitching candidates are prep standouts Brady Aiken from San Diego and Tyler Kolek from Texas. The best college lefty is Carlos Rodon of North Carolina State.
Meek has more than 20 years of experience in the First-Year Player Draft, and he notes pitching injuries are unpredictable.
"Those are probably a product of a lot of things, over time," he said. "Who knows who is going to go down, and who isn't?
"Jose had a very good delivery, a very good arm action. He finished well with his pitches. Everything we think usually leads to longevity, we saw in him. The thing is, with the velocity guys are throwing with today, you just can't predict who is going to go down."