6/7/2014 10:45 P.M. ET
Haynal impresses after recovery from broken leg
By Maria Torres / MLB.com
Two years ago, San Diego State catcher Brad Haynal broke his leg.
Now, he's the Marlins' 18th-round pick of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft.
As a sophomore, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound backstop sustained an ankle fracture and broken fibula during practice early in the 2012 season. Haynal underwent two surgeries and had no choice but to declare a redshirt for the rest of the year.
When he returned to action in 2013, Haynal hit .240 in 44 games.
But he came back for a 2014 season that saw him put up better numbers across the board. Haynal finished at .312 with 12 homers and 49 RBI, and his .576 slugging percentage was the 47th-best in the country.
The Marlins aren't worried about Haynal's mobility behind the plate. He made three errors all season and threw out 45 percent of potential base stealers.
"He moved around fine, he blocked fine and he showed us lateral quickness behind the plate, which in our mind meant he was healthy," said Stan Meek, Marlins vice president of scouting. "He played most of the time, so we didn't see anything physically from him that would cause us any concern."
The Marlins drafted Haynal's teammate, senior righty reliever Justin Hepner, in the 36th round.
Marlins add second Arkansas infielder in Fisher
The Marlins have the potential to sign two University of Arkansas players in one Draft.
Eric Fisher, who was selected in the 17th round of the First-Year Player Draft on Saturday, is the teammate of Miami's third-round pick, Brian Anderson.
The left-handed Fisher hit .268 for the Razorbacks as a redshirt junior and is a career .247 hitter. His .451 slugging percentage, nine homers and 45 RBIs made him the second-best slugger on the team behind Anderson.
Fisher was one of three first baseman taken by Miami in the Draft.
Fisher didn't get off to the best start at Arkansas as a freshman. Entering this season, he batted just .217 in his career with two home runs and 18 RBI in 157 at-bats.
Even with increased playing time -- he accumulated 235 at bats this season -- Fisher struggled to relax at the plate at the beginning of the year. He hit a home run in the Razorbacks' first series, but fell into a rut soon after, going 3-for-16.
Fisher's average didn't break .200 until March 19 against Grambling State, when he tallied four hits -- two of them doubles -- and a walk.
Fisher didn't tear the cover off the ball, finishing the regular season with 32 hits in his last 161 at bats, but he made steadier contact and was able to drive balls over the fence seven more times.
"I mean, just kind of staying in my legs and just kind of getting good pitches to swing at and putting a good swing on them," Fisher told the Arkansas News in April, when asked what he changed at the plate. "I'm hitting the bottom half of the ball and it's getting out."
The Marlins think the poor power showing early on caused Fisher to fall down the Draft board, but it doesn't concern them. Once he starts making more contact, his power will creep up.
Fisher hit a homer in each game of Arkansas' series against LSU in April, including one off Phillies first-round pick Aaron Nola (7th overall).
The Marlins drafted Fisher in the 30th round last year, but he opted to return to a team that would ultimately reach the NCAA Tournament Regional in Charlottesville this year. In order to select him again, Fisher had to give the Marlins consent. Marlins vice president of scouting Stan Meek hopes the second time will be the charm.
"We've always liked him, so we thought we'll try this again, see if we can reach terms this time," Meek said. "He's a first baseman with some power. We were in a spot there where we were looking for that position, especially a left-handed bat."
Maria Torres is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.