Marlins scouting prep star Aiken

SAN DIEGO — Miami’s West Coast trip has provided the front office with a chance to multi-task.

Before the Marlins face the Padres on Friday night, president of baseball operations Michael Hill will make a visit to a high school field. The Marlins will be well represented scouting left-hander Brady Aiken of Central Catholic High School in San Diego.

The Marlins have the second overall pick in the June 5 First-Year Player Draft. Some projections have the prep standout going first to the Astros.

Also out on the trip, the Marlins are scouting another Southern California prep talent, catcher Alex Jackson, who also plays third base and outfield.

From an organizational standpoint, they’re covering all the bases. They’ve also extensively scouted Texas right-hander, Tyle Kolek.

The interesting thing about this Draft is the player who had long been considered a lock to go first overall may be dropping. Carlos Rodon, the left-hander from North Carolina State, is being more closely examined because of a dip in velocity.

Had Rodon been eligible in the previous two Drafts, he likely would have gone No. 1 overall in both of them. Now, he could slip past the top two spots.

Like the Marlins, the Astros are leaning towards pitching.

A year ago, Rodon was throwing 98 mph, combined with a nasty slider. Now, his fastball is around 94 mph.

Rodon basically is big league ready now. But if there are arm issues, the Marlins may pass if he is available.

But if the velocity rises to the upper 90s, Rodon again could find himself going first or second.

How much of a factor is velocity for Rodon? It factors into how he is projected. At 98 mph, he is regarded as a starter. If the velo is 92-94, he could wind up in the bullpen.

With the dollars being spent at the top two picks, teams are looking for an impact starter, not a reliever.

Joe Frisaro

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