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Best Pure Hitter: 3B Jacob Berry (1) was one of the best pure hitters in the 2022 draft class, ranking fourth among college hitters in the best hitter category on our best tools list. Berry was a proven college hitter in both the Pac-12 and SEC, although his pro debut was modest (.248/.343/.362, 107 wRC+ in 37 games) for the No. 8 overall pick in the class. He has a chance to be a plus hitter.
Best Power Hitters: The Marlins drafted Berry (1) with their first-round pick and then selected pitchers with each of their next 11 picks. So Berry is the obvious choice for best power as well, particularly after homering 17 times with Arizona in 2021 and 15 times with Louisiana State during the 2022 season. Most of Berry’s power has come from the left side in his college career, although he performed better from the right side in his pro debut.
Fastest Runner: The Marlins only drafted and signed five position players and four of the five were either catchers or corner profiles, but SS Brett Roberts (16) is a solid runner. He’s not a burner by any means, but is a solid athlete who moves around the infield well and can steal a base on occasion—he went 6-for-8 (75%) in stolen base attempts during the 2022 season with Florida State.
Best Defensive Player: Roberts (16) played third base and second base for Florida State, and flashed solid glove work and hands at times, although scouts were mixed on where he would profile best in pro ball. He played third base and first base in his 2022 debut, but could also find himself playing the outfield as well. He’s solid at a number of positions, but needs more work to become adept at any individual one.
Best Fastball: Each of the two prep righthanders the Marlins signed for more than $1 million have powerful fastballs: RHP Jacob Miller (2) increased his fastball velocity during the 2022 spring and touched 96-97 mph at peak, with solid riding life; RHP Carson Milbrandt (3) sat in the low 90s, but touched 95-96 mph with similarly impressive life out of the hand.
Best Secondary Pitch: Miller (2) has shown impressive feel to spin the baseball for years and has a pair of breaking pitches that have earned plus grades, with an upper-70s curveball the most consistent currently—although both pitches have blended together. Regardless of the final shape or distinction, Miller has a chance for a real plus breaking ball. RHP Josh White (5) had two plus pitches on his scouting card in the draft class: a slider around 83 mph and a spike-grip curveball a few ticks slower. He generated a 50% whiff rate with both breaking balls during the 2022 spring with California.
Best Pro Debut: 1B Torin Montgomery (14) signed for just $75,000 on the third day of the draft, but hit well in the Florida Complex League and Florida State League. He slashed .266/.345/.427 with a 121 wRC+ between both leagues while showing some of the best power in Miami’s class, by way of a 104 mph 90th percentile exit velocity. RHP Jared Poland (6) posted a 1.42 ERA over 12.2 innings and struck out 11 batters in his debut. He sat around 92 mph with his fastball, but the pitch showed impressive carry. LHP Cade Gibson (10) posted a 0.61 ERA in 14.2 innings, mostly as a reliever. He pitched in the 89-90 mph range with a sinking fastball, but still managed to strike out 20 and walk just six in his debut.
Best Athlete: Poland (6) was a two-way player during his first two seasons at Louisville and in the Covid-shortened 2020 season he slashed .281/.361/.500 while playing second base before eventually moving into the Friday night starter role for the Cardinals in 2022.
Most Intriguing Background: LHP Dale Stanavich (8) was one of the older players in the class and didn’t have much leverage because of that, but was viewed as an interesting senior sign and straight reliever prospect who ranked as the No. 443 prospect on the BA 500. He showed better fastball velocity during the spring of 2022 and complements the pitch with a solid slider.
Closest To The Majors: RHPs Marcus Johnson (4) and White (5) both have the sort of stuff that could move them quickly through the minors in a bullpen role depending on the quality of their strikes. Berry (1) was viewed as one of the most well-rounded offensive prospects in the 2022 draft class, and with a defensive profile lower on the defensive spectrum, he could also move quickly like other early college picks like Andrew Vaughn and Spencer Torkelson.
Best Late-Round Pick (Or NDFA): LHP Cole Kirschsieper (12) won’t blow you away with stuff, but he has quietly produced at an excellent level over the past year or so and showed a solid three-pitch mix with a smooth delivery. If he can add more power he will become even more intriguing.
The One Who Got Away: RHP Evan Chrest (17) was a deep projection righthander who ranked as the No. 300 prospect on the BA 500. He is small and skinny now and needs to improve his fastball velocity, but he was young for the class and has impressive feel to spin a good slider. Instead of signing, he’ll attend Jacksonville and begin his college career.
Jacob Berry Seeks To Punch Up Marlins’ Offense
The pitching-rich Marlins have chased offense in four of the last five drafts. They hope they got their guy with sixth overall pick Jacob Berry this year.