Things haven’t gone to plan in Miami, unless you believe that Jeffrey Loria actually wanted the Marlins to be among baseball’s worst teams this season. At 36-61 only the Houston Astros have fared worse in the standings than the Marlins thus far and there doesn’t appear to be an immediate turnaround coming for either organization. The pair of clubs do have some things in common, however, most notable of which is the amount of talent residing in their minor league system.
Yelich is easily the more well known of the two, as he’s been among the top prospects in the game in rankings released prior to each of the past two seasons. Baseball America ranked him as the 12th best prospect in baseball heading into this season. The 21 year old has seen time at three levels this year, with most of his at bats coming at Double-A. Overall he’s hit .275/.359/.504 in 270 PA on the year, with almost half of his hits going for extra bases (13 2B, 7 3B, 9 HR). Scouts have long admired his swing and offensive potential, but there have also been favorable reports about his defense. Yelich has split his time between center and left field. He has the range and ability to handle center well, but his throwing motion is considered more suited for left.
Marisnick was one of the key pieces that Miami received in last November’s blockbuster firesale trade with the Toronto Blue Jays. He’s seen time at two levels this year, again with most of his at bats coming at Double-A. He’s hit .289/.350/.489 in 313 PA on the year, adding 12 HR and 11 SB. Some questions have arisen about his ability to make contact, but the overwhelming belief is that his speed and defense will more than make up for any offensive shortcomings.
Derek Dietrich and Marcell Ozuna will reportedly be optioned to Jacksonville in order to make room on the active roster for Yelich and Marisnick. The decision to move the pair off the roster came as somewhat of a surprise, but it’s not without reason. Demoting both now and waiting until September to bring them back up will prevent each player from reaching Super Two status, saving the organization money down the line through arbitration.
Dietrich will figure into the Marlins infield mix as the team moves ahead, but he’s struggled to adjust at the plate, hitting just .214/.275/.405 in 233 PA on the year in his first taste of Major League pitching. The team jumped him from Double-A to the Majors with his promotion earlier this season, after acquiring him from Tampa Bay in the winter for Yunel Escobar.
Ozuna is a bit of a different story. He too made the jump directly from Double-A to Miami this year (a trend here, it would seem), but he’s fared a little better at the plate than Dietrich. Ozuna has batted .265/.303/.389 in 291 PA on the year, but he’s shown little power (just 3 HR) with a high strikeout total (57). Ozuna’s future with the Marlins is also a little more in question. He’s got the ability to play all three outfield positions (like both Yelich and Marisnick) but it’s unclear if there is room in the team’s future outfield for all of them. Presuming Yelich moves to left, Marisnick remains in center, and Giancarlo Stanton is still entrenched in right, Ozuna just might be the odd man out unless he’s relegated to a fourth outfielder role.