Prospects In Person: Marist College

March 4, 2024

A simple glance online would show that it doesn’t seem too many folks are taking a look at Marist College redshirt junior Marco Ali as a legitimate prospect for the MLB Draft.

Perhaps that should change.

Now, certainly it’s easy to walk away impressed from what the six-foot, 185-pound infielder did in the Red Foxes doubleheader sweep at the hands of Columbia at Satow Stadium on Sunday afternoon, as his 7-for-9 showing with three RBI would catch anyone’s attention. But, production aside, the Old Westbury, NY native showed an overall tools package that would make him an intriguing pick late in the Draft for a club looking for some value on the third day.

Ali reminded a bit in profile of a right-handed Oliver Dunn in his versatility on the diamond, playing third base in Game One and second in Game Two; he’s played a lot of shortstop for Marist as well, and has also handled the corner outfield spots and first baseman in the Futures Collegiate League. Ali seems to be a bit less athletic than Dunn as he didn’t exhibit great range at third base, but made the plays he truly needed to, and showed he has enough arm to handle the position if need be. Second base may be a better fit down the road, or perhaps he emerges as something of a super-utility type at the next level.

At the plate, he impressed, albeit mostly against some average-at-best arms that are typically scattered around the Ivy League. He likely won’t provide a ton of pop, but did show playable in-game pull-side strength, and his most impressive at-bat came in showing a good approach against hard-throwing lefty J.D. Ogden, taking 91 the other way from the right side of the box. He has a relatively evenly-distributed build, and is an average runner at best for his size. A MAAC All-Academic Team member in 2023, Ali had a .311/.403/.412 slash line, and has shown strong production over large sample sizes previously.

Historically, Marist has produced some depth-type players for the MLB Draft, never seeing a player get taken before tenth round; that honor went to Tim Bittner in 2001. Of the 21 players selected out of the school, just one, Kevin McCarthy, has reached the big leagues. Similarly, the MAAC as a whole has largely not scored a large percentage of picks in recent drafts, with just twelve selections over the past five years, including fourth rounders Matt Duffy, future big-leaguer Matt Brash and Troy Dombroski.

With that said, past Ali, there wasn’t too much in the way of legitimate pro prospects, although there were a handful of intriguing tools on a few players regardless. Marist Game One starting Riley Orr was a pitchability righty who sat in the high 80’s, fielded his position well and held runners on well, but gave up a fair amount of damage…the same can be said for Red Foxes reliever Brian Yetter, who touched 92 miles per hour on the gun out of the bullpen, but struggled significantly with command and gave up some loud contact even on the outs. Lewis Rodriguez showed some athleticism as an outfielder, and Johnny Decker, Ethan Conrad and Justin Kapuscinski all had some promising moments at the plate.

Mike Ashmore
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