06/04/2002 7:34 pm ET
Marlins draft a hometown star
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
MIAMI – Miami Southridge High School shortstop Robert Andino grew up a big fan of Marlins outfielder Cliff Floyd. One day they could be teammates.
The Marlins made Andino, a 5-foot-11, 175-pounder, their second overall pick Tuesday in the First-Year Player Draft.
”He can really catch the ball,” said Jim Fleming, Florida’s VP of Player Development and Scouting. “He’s got very good hands and a strong arm.”
Fleming says traditionally shortstop is a lean position. So when a highly rated one is on the board, you take him early.
“I’m shocked,” said Andino, the 52nd overall pick. “I was told I’d go between the second and fifth rounds. I was thinking it would be the third round.”
Andino had the news broken to him by his high school coach, Fred Burnside.
As a double surprise, he was drafted by his hometown team, although he says Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins is his favorite player.
”I like the way Rollins plays,” said Andino, who batted .366 with five homers, 35 RBIs and 32 stolen bases. “And I like watching Cliff Floyd hit.”
Andino now has a decision to make – sign with the Marlins or honor a scholarship at Florida International University.
A two-sport high school athlete – he played quarterback – Andino said Tuesday he is leaning toward pro baseball.
So is Florida’s first-round pick, outfielder Jeremy Hermida of Wheeler H.S. in Marietta, Ga.
Hermida, a smooth-swinging left-handed batter, has the option of playing at Clemson.
But he told reporters Tuesday he is eager to start his pro career.
Some draft reports had Hermida being taken about fifth or sixth. But he never put too much weight into projections and didn’t get his hopes high.
“I went in with no expectations,” he said. “So there would be no disappointments.”
As a senior, Hermida batted .485 with seven homers, 25 RBIs and nine stolen bases in 68 at-bats.
Fleming compares the 6-4, 195-pound right fielder to former Yankees All-Star Paul O’Neill. Hermida sees himself more like a younger Shawn Green.
While Hermida never belted four homers in a game, like Green did against the Brewers recently, he did have three home runs in a double header to close out his prep career.
Hermida, 18, has a time line to break into the Major Leagues of about four years.
“We got two really good high school athletes up high,” Fleming said. “We got a little bit of everything.”
In all, 12 of the first 21 picks were pitchers – two being left-handers.
Florida used the third and fourth rounds to land a pair of right-handers.
In the third, the Marlins took University of California right-handed pitcher Trevor Hutchinson with the 83rd pick. And in the fourth, they went with Joshua Johnson of Jenks H.S. in Tulsa, Okla., a 6-7, 225-pounder.
The Marlins used six of their top seven picks on high school players.
Fifth-rounder, Nicholas Hundley, fills an organizational need at catcher. The 6-1, 190-pounder is from Lake Washington HS in Redmond, Wash.
Scott Olsen, a left-handed pitcher from Crystal Lake South H.S. in Ill., was taken in the sixth round.
Rounding out the top 10 are outfielder Xavier Arroyo (Antilles H.S., San Juan, Puerto Rico), right-handed pitcher Ryan Warpinski of Texas A&M, outfielder Eric Reed of Texas A&M, and first baseman Robert Word of University of Virginia.
The No. 11 pick is University of Illinois catcher Patrick Arlis, and with the 12th choice, right-handed pitcher James DeMontel was taken.
In the 13th round, Florida again opted for a shortstop. This time, they went through the college ranks, nabbing Kevin Randel of Cal State Long Beach.
Right-hander Travis Chick of Whitehouse H.S. in Texas was picked in round 14, and third baseman Thomas Merkle of New York Tech was the 15th choice.
Picks 16-18 were all right-handed pitchers – Christopher Goodman of Georgia Tech, Evan Greusel from the University of Oklahoma and Wabash Valley C.C. Ross Wolf in Mt. Carmel, Ill.
With their 19th pick, Florida grabbed outfielder Jordan Baker of Zane Trace H.S. in Ohio.
The Marlins wrapped up Day 1 of the draft by taking three pitchers, including one lefty.
Right-hander Jason Iehl of Downers Grove North H.S. in Woodridge, Ill., was the 20th pick.
In the 21st round, Florida went with University of Nebraska left-hander Waylon Byers. And Pasco Hernando C.C. in Stafford, Va., Shaun O’Conner was the final choice of the day.
Joe Frisaro covers the Marlins for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.