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MLB Draft: Griffey praises Marlins' top pick J.J. Bleday

By
Jake Elman
Former Seattle Mariners center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2016. File Photo by George Napolitano/UPI
Former Seattle Mariners center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2016. File Photo by George Napolitano/UPI | License Photo

June 4 (UPI) -- Miami Marlins first-round pick J.J. Bleday earned serious praise from Hall of Fame outfielder Ken Griffey. Jr during Monday night's MLB Draft.

Serving as a guest analyst for MLB Network's draft coverage, Griffey -- who finished his career with 630 home runs -- said Bleday, 21, is "a whole lot stronger than I was at that age."

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"I ain't have that," Griffey said of the No. 4 overall pick's power. "I'm a late developer. I didn't start having pop until I was 27."

Griffey had 294 home runs through his age-27 season in 1997. He had a career-high 56 home runs for the Mariners that year.

Bleday hit .353 with 26 home runs and 68 RBIs for Vanderbilt this season.

"He can swing it," Griffey said.

Miami can only hope Bleday follows in Griffey's footsteps. The Marlins haven't had a winning season since 2009 and haven't made the postseason since winning the World Series in 2003.

The MLB Draft continues Tuesday and completes Wednesday.

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