This year, however, the Marlins draft was different. In a good way.
On Sunday night, the wait to see who the next Marlins top prospect took a little longer. The Marlins didn't select until the 16th slot of the first round, thanks to a surprising playoff run last season.
According to many experts, the player Miami picked up may well have been worth the wait. And the hope is in a few years he helps them pick even later in the first round. Maybe even last.
With the 16th-overall selection in the MLB draft, the Marlins selected shortstop Kahlil Watson, a player many pundits believed wouldn't last beyond the first five picks.
With the 16th pick in the @MLBDraft the Miami Marlins have selected INF Kahlil Watson from Wake Forest High School (NC).— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) July 12, 2021
Bienvenido a Miami, Kahlil. #305OnTheRise #JuntosMiami pic.twitter.com/exNw82dpMq
This was completely unexpected and could be the pick of the draft. Miami certainly did not anticipate Watson being available at 16. Marlins will be thrilled with this one.— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) July 12, 2021
While there are very few sure things when it comes to the MLB draft, it certainly seems like the Marlins stole a top prospect from the rest of the league. The prospect of pairing Watson, who comes out of Wake Forest High School in North Carolina, up the middle of the Marlins infield with Jazz Chisholm for the next ten-plus seasons has to be music to fans' ears.
“When you get a player with that type of talent combined with that type of performance, to have him fall down to us for our pick was extremely exciting.”— Fish On The Farm (@marlinsminors) July 12, 2021
Svihlik says he was “very surprised” Watson was available and calls him one of the”most dynamic players” on the board. https://t.co/LwwnxnTp83
Early returns indicate the Marlins have had pretty decent luck lately with their first-round selections. Their last two picks — outfielder J.J Bleday (14), and pitcher Max Meyer (20) — are ranked inside MLB.com's Top 20 prospects. (Notably, 2021 marks the first draft overseen by Marlins general manager Kim Ng, the first woman to lead the front office of an MLB team.)
The MLB draft continues through Tuesday. Normally 40 rounds, this year's draft has been reduced to 20 due to COVID restrictions. The Marlins have 19 more picks to go. Between their last-place showing on the field so far this season and their propensity to refuse to pay free agents big money, the more young impact players in their minor-league pipeline, the better. They'll need to hit on some of these higher selections to compete in the coming years.
Day 2 of the Draft starts today at 1 p.m. and will continue through the completion of Round 10. Picks will be revealed exclusively on MLB.com, with MLB Network providing live look-ins and coverage. The draft concludes with rounds 11-20 on Tuesday, starting at noon.