Miami Marlins 2013 Top 15 Prospects
The rest of Bullpen Banter’s 2013 Top 15 Prospects can be found on the 2013 Team Prospect Lists Bar on the right side of your screen. Thanks for reading! -BB
Bullpen Banter Miami Marlins 2013 Top 15 Prospects
Jeff Reese: While changing their praenomen, stadium, and logo, the
Florida Miami Marlins also spent lavishly in free agency and billed themselves as amidst a new era of Marlins baseball. The team did not start winning like planned; the roster was blown up again; and twelve months later the Miami Marlins look pretty similar to the old Florida Marlins. One thing that they have historically done fairly well is target the right players when trading their soon-to-be expensive star players. If that proves to be true again with this rebuild iteration, there may indeed be a new day of Marlins baseball on the horizon.
The farm system is stout with Jose Fernandez as the easy choice as the best in the organization. I liked the profile last year — owner of a huge fastball, power curve ball, powerful frame, mature body, and some semblance of command as a prep — but I never anticipated him emerging as one of the elite pitching prospects in baseball. The change has taken a step forward to give him a true starter’s arsenal; he should continue to move quickly. Christian Yelich continues to make steady progress through the system, producing well in the difficult Florida State League environs. Yelich’s hit tool remains impressive; with the speed that he possesses his profile will play just fine in left field even if only average power emerges.
After the top two we see a drop in talent, but it’s not a necessarily drastic one. Justin Nicolino is not blessed with an elite arsenal of pitches, but he does have a nice array of pitches and some projection remaining. He’s a true pitcher with advanced command for his age and a plus change up as his out pitch — you know how I love those! Andrew Heaney is fairly similar; working with an almost effortless delivery, he works in the high 80s/low 90s with a solid breaking ball and quality change up. His command was inconsistent in the Oklahoma State games that I watched which is the primary reason I listed him behind Nicolino. Sticking with left-handed pitchers, Adam Conley is someone who I did not like much coming out of Washington State. His delivery featured a ton of deception, throwing across his body from a low 3/4 arm slot; it had a decent amount of fluidity but still seemed to affect his ability to command his pitches. The change up was the best weapon in his arsenal but the lack of command allowed hitters to square up his fastball well. His pro debut went better than I expected, but I still see more of a reliever profile overall. Jose Urena still hasn’t had the breakout year that was hoped for, yet the stuff remains good enough to dream of a future above-average starting pitcher. Perhaps 2013 will see him take his true step forward. Mason Hope meanwhile pitched all season in the NYPL; I managed to see one of his starts later in the year at Mahoning Valley. Hope did not flash the big velocity that he reportedly has shown in the past (perhaps due to the long season?). Instead, he showed pretty good command of an 86-87 (touching 89) fastball with good running life that made it difficult to square up and complimented it regularly with a curve ball that he spun well and a decent change up with action similar to his fastball. His delivery looks sound as well; it’s a nice profile, but I needed to see a little bit more on the fastball to rank him more highly than I did (15th).
Jake Marisnick was the biggest position player the Marlins got back via trade. He has the potential for five above-average tools with the chance to stick in center field, but the swing still needs some refinement. I listed him ahead of Nicolino and Heaney on my list. Ozuna has the best power potential in the system and the tools to be a prototypical right fielder if everything should come together. Rob Brantly and JT Realmuto are next to each other on the list, but offer differing amounts of risk/upside at the catcher position. Brantly has produced at every level and seems a lock to at least provide back-up level production at the major league level, while JT Realmuto has the athleticism and tools to make a greater impact. Kolby Copeland is a very good athlete who proved to be able to hit with wood as an amateur. Finally we come to Jesus Solorzano who is one of the more interesting players on this list for me. He has very good bat speed and extension, but his swing can get out of control; his approach is OK but pitch recognition still seems to be an issue. Along with the power potential, he has athleticism and surprisingly good speed (~4.00 home-to-first from the right side). He is somewhat similar to Urena in that he hasn’t taken that step forward yet.
Al Skorupa: If you follow me on twitter you know I didn’t think much of the Marlins spending last winter. Those were splashy, fan appeasing signings more than they were adding pieces that would really build a playoff core. So I was perhaps bothered less than most when the Marlins chose to blow it up again (being disingenuous to players aside). I don’t love what they got back in the Johnson-Reyes trade, but the system has some nice pieces and enough to begin developing a competitive core for the future. Indeed, given the money they were able to shed the Miami front office has to be pretty happy with the players they received and how the talent lines up going forward.
I’d be pretty surprised if you find a prospect list where Jose Fernandez is not the Marlins top prospect this winter. Fernandez keeps answering the questions people (myself among them) had about him as an amateur and is now one of the elite prospect arms in the game. Christian Yelich is going to be an above average major leaguer and I really like his game. I don’t see him as any kind of franchise cornerstone type, but he’s going to be a very good player – especially if more power comes. Yelich is a just a ballplayer. I’d take Justin Nicolino above Andrew Heaney (though its very close). A lefty with above average velo (for a LHP), good command, control and pitchability and a nasty change up can go far in the bigs. I don’t see him as anything more than a 3 starter, but this is a profile I like in young pitchers. Heaney isn’t far behind Nicolino, but Heaney ran a little more hot and cold as an amateur and doesn’t have a real dominant repertoire. I think he’s an excellent bet to be a productive major league starter, though, as this kind of fastball command typically translates well to big league outs.
I was a little underwhelmed in my viewing of outfielder Jake Marisnick. He’s a big, athletic kid but he’s so solidly built I worry he might lose a step as he hits his mid 20′s. There’s a good amount of thunder in the bat, but bat head control and barrel awareness were lacking. Marisnick has a long swing with too much swing and miss. I do project him as a major league starter and the tools and potential are here to be a good one… there’s just farther to go to get there than many had assumed. I still don’t believe in Adeiny Hechevarria’s bat, Vegas illusions aside. He can still start in the bigs with that glove, but he’s strictly a bottom of the order guy who will kill you when he’s having a bad year at the plate. Don’t be too down on him, though – that same statement goes for a whole lot of major league starting shortstops these days. I’m very curious to see what Alfredo Silverio brings this year. BB’s Steve Fiorindo had very positive reports a couple years back. Marlins could be adding a sneaky good player there. There are a few more arms in this system capable of big breakout years. Any of Mason Hope, Austin Brice, Adam Conley and Brian Flynn could be a top 5 prospect in this system next year.
I generally think the Marlins do a very good job scouting and developing players, and this is a solid group of prospects to which they’ll add the 6th overall pick this June.
RHP Mason Hope (Jeff Reese)
OF Jesus Solorzano (Jeff Reese)
RHP Anthony DeSclafani (Jeff Reese)
RHP Nick Wittgren (Jeff Reese)
OF Cody Keefer (Jeff Reese)
RHP Drew Steckenrider (Jeff Reese)
OF Juancito Martinez (Jeff Reese)
IF Anthony Gomez (Jeff Reese)
1B Viosergy Rosa (Jeff Reese)