Marlins take Florida-native Romero in round 3

MIAMI — With their first selection since taking left-handed pitcher Andrew Heaney with No. 9 overall pick Monday, the Marlins shifted their attention to the field and selected Avery Romero, a shortstop from Pedro Menendez High School in St. Augustine, Fla.

Although Romero played shortstop in high school, many anticipate he will shift over to the left or right at the next level because he lacks the speed to play shortstop. He is orally committed to play college ball at the University of Florida, where he was expected to play either second base or third base.

Despite the questions about his quickness, the 5-foot-11, 195-pounder does have solid defensive skills, with scouts touting his strong arm as well as his hands. While he may have to find a new home on defense, there is little doubt about what he can do at the plate. He is a right-handed hitter with the ability to hit for average, but he can also display some power.

In the sandwich round between the third and fourth rounds, the Marlins selected outfielder Kolby Copeland with the No. 127 pick in the Draft.  Copeland, a 6-foot, 190-pounder, was a two-sport star at Parkway High School in Bossier City, La., also earning recognition as an all-state quarterback. He is regarded as an outstanding athlete.

Copeland bats lefty and throws righty, and he has drawn some comparisons to first-round pick Courtney Hawkins. While Hawkins has more power, some scouts believe Copeland is a better pure hitter known for his aggressive approach at the plate.

With their fourth-round pick, No. 137 overall, Miami drafted outfielder Austin Dean from Klein Collins High School in Texas. Dean has an unorthodox approach at the plate but has an uncanny ability to crush offering from opposing pitchers. Dean played first base his senior year at Klein Collins, but he is projected to play either first or left field at the next level.

Dean hit .387 with a .573 on-base percentage as a senior and belted nine home runs while driving in 31 in 33 games for Klein Collins, according to MaxPreps.com.

The Marlins decided to go with a college player in the fifth round, drafting Austin Nola, a 6-foot, 185-pound senior shortstop from LSU with the No. 167 selection in the Draft. This marks the third time Nola has been drafted. Coming out of high school he was selected in the 48th round by the Rockies, and after his junior season at LSU he was taken in the 31st round by the Blue Jays.

His senior season in Baton Rouge, La., certainly helped his stock, as he hit .313 with a .433 on-base percentage in 61 games for the Tigers this year. He led the team in doubles (16) and walks (42). Nola committed five errors in 240 chances as a senior while starting all 61 games at shortstop.

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