SECAUCUS, N.J. -- Tonight is an important night for the Marlins. They'll make four picks (6th overall, 35th, 44th, 73rd) among the first two rounds and two competitive balance rounds of the MLB Draft.
The other times didn't pan out so great. The home runs: first baseman Adrian Gonzalez (2000) and Josh Beckett (1999) who were the first and second overall picks in the 2000 and 1999 drafts. The misses: shortstop Josh Booty, who went fifth overall in 1994 and outfielder Jaime Jones, who went sixth in 1995. The jury is still out on catcher Kyle Skipworth (2008), who went sixth. But it's not looking good.
Which direction will the Marlins go tonight with their pick? History tells us 11 of their last 15 first round picks have been pitchers. Jose Fernandez (14th overall in 2011) looks like another home run. Left-hander Andrew Heaney, last year's top pick (9th overall) has looked pretty good since coming back from injury, posting a 1.46 ERA in three starts for the Single A Jupiter Hammerheads.
Of course, the team's 2010 first pick, outfielder Christian Yelich (23rd overall) has blossomed into the top prospect in the organization and figures to get a big league call-up soon.
Who will the Marlins take tonight?
It really seems like it comes down to who is available. The Astros, Cubs, Rockies, Twins and Indians will be picking before them.
Most experts believe University of Nevada right-hander Braden Shipley will end up being the Marlins' pick. Shipley, a junior, is considered the third-best college pitcher in the draft behind Stanford’s Mark Appel and Oklahoma’s Jonathon Gray.
A former shortstop, Shipley is considered an elite athlete with a mid-90s fastball, an above-average changeup and developing curve. He went 7-3 with a 2.77 ERA and had 102 strikeouts in 107.1 innings in 2013.
Others say it will be either of the two Georgia prep outfielders Austin Meadows or Clint Frazier.
Either way, who ever gets taken sixth by the Marlins is going to be getting paid. Here are the draft slot bonuses for the first seven picks: 1. Astros $7.790 million; 2. Cubs $6.708m; 3. Rockies $5.626m; 4. Twins $4.544m; 5. Indians $3.787m; 6. Marlins $3.5165m; 7. Red Sox $3.246m.
Bill Beck, special assistant to owner Jeffrey Loria, and Hall of Famer Andre Dawson are here representing the Marlins.
I'll update the blog as soon as the Marlins announce their pick.