Rodon makes most sense for Marlins

Months of traveling, scouting and evaluating are coming to a close. Now, it’s decision time.

The 2014 First-Year Player Draft is set to begin, and the Marlins are sitting in a sweet spot, possessing the second overall pick. Also on Thursday, they will have the Nos. 36 and 43 choices.

Which way the Marlins go will depend upon the Astros, who hold the No. 1 pick.

The top two teams are playing their hands close to the vest, leading to speculation of what may occur.

The way things are shaping up, it appears the Astros and Marlins will each take pitchers.

Houston could be going with lefty prep star Brady Aiken from San Diego. But don’t be surprised if the Astros end up with Tyler Kolek, raised on a ranch near Houston.

From the Marlins’ standpoint, if Houston goes with a prep pitcher, it clears the way to go with North Carolina State lefty Carlos Rodon. This may be the ideal situation for Miami.

There are several reasons why Rodon would be a dream pick.

General opinion is Rodon would have been the top choice if he were in the 2012 and 2013 Drafts. The red flag was a dip in velocity, from 97 mph to 94.

If there is still 97 in the arm, then Rodon would be a serious choice for the Marlins, because he could help out the big league club perhaps as early as August. If not then, certainly in 2015.

The No. 2 pick carries a big financial tag, as the slot value of the pick is $6.8 million.

For an organization like the Marlins, to spend that kind of money, they’d have to go with the safest choice. They can’t afford to reach and miss. Remember, in 2008, they had the sixth pick and took catcher Kyle Skipworth, who hasn’t panned out.

That’s the risk of a high school pitcher and position player.

Obviously, there is risk with a college arm. But Rodon, some evaluators believe, has a slider right now that would be a plus pitch in the big leagues. Combine that with his fastball, and he has two pitches right now that can work at the highest level.

The Marlins certainly don’t want to over-reach to make 2014 a memorable one at the MLB level. But how the team is performing right now should be a factor.

The rotation already took a hit with Jose Fernandez being out for the season.

In the next week or two, Andrew Heaney, the ninth overall pick in 2012, could be an answer to help the rotation.

If Rodon is picked, and gets into big league shape by August, the big lefty also could be an option out of the bullpen, if not the rotation.

The chance of Heaney and Rodon helping in 2014 would give Miami two impact pitchers that are home grown. The club wouldn’t have to make a trade for an arm.

Rodon grew up in North Carolina, but he has family ties to Miami and Cuba. He would be an immediate fit, and has the makings of being a huge fan favorite.

Imagine Fernandez and Rodon as a way to market in Miami?

Moving forward, the Marlins could be looking at a rotation with Fernandez, Rodon, Heaney, Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez.

Those five could be lined up sometime around the All-Star Break of 2015.

For all of that to happen, the Astros would have to go with either Aiken and Kolek, and the Marlins to go with the lefty who isn’t far away from helping the big league club right away.

If Rodon isn’t the choice, Kolek is the likely second option.

– Joe Frisaro

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