CHICAGO -- Tyler Kolek lit up radar guns outside his hometown in Texas with a triple-digit fastball. The Marlins are hoping the big right-hander, who grew up on a cattle ranch, continues bringing the heat for them in the not-so-distant future.
The Marlins on Thursday made Kolek, a Houston-area high school sensation the No. 2 overall pick in the draft.
"You hate to put a tag on these guys, you kind of see some Roger Clemens in his delivery," said Stan Meek, the Marlins' vice president of scouting. "We've seen the fastball up to 102 miles per hour. It's a power body, a power arm, and a power package."
The Marlins selected Kolek after the Houston Astros took another high school hurler, Brady Aiken, with the top pick. Kolek, who is listed at 6-5, 250, struck out 126 batters in 60 1/3 innings this season at Shepherd High School. He walked only eight and had an ERA of 0.35.
"With Houston picking first and him being in that state, you obviously feel kind of nervous," said Meek, adding the Marlins had settled on Kolek with the past few days.
It's not the first time the Marlins have held the No. 2 pick and used it on a Texas high school pitcher. They also did it in 1999 when they drafted Josh Beckett, who became a World Series hero for them. Here's a recent feature piece about Kolek in the Houston Chronicle.
Asked what it was about Kolek that made him appealing to the Marlins, Meek replied: "About everything. He's a big, strong physical right-hander with three pitches. We think for a big guy he has real solid control of his fastball."
The choice of Kolek surprised many experts, who figured the Marlins would likely go for either Carlos Rodon, a Miami-born southpaw out of North Carolina State, or catcher/outfielder Alex Jackson, a San Diego-area prep star.
But Kolek was among the top five or six names on most draft boards.
Wrote Baseball America of Kolek: "The biggest worry scouts have with Kolek is his size, as he's bigger than most pitchers at his age. If he maintains his fitness, he has a chance to be a true No. 1 starter."
Check out this video feature on Kolek: