Miami Marlins 2014 Top 15 Prospects

Feb 28, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; Miami Marlins catcher Jacob Realmuto (79) throws out a St. Louis Cardinals base runner at Roger Dean Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Marlins 8-2. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the graduation and Rookie-of-the-Year-ness of Jose Fernandez in 2013, the Miami Marlins still have a deep minor league system with several players closing in on the major league team in 2014. The club has excelled in drafting/signing pitching prospects and developing them and there are several more coming soon with the potential to impact the major league team for years to come (until they’re traded for more prospects). If you love watching minor league systems, the Miami Marlins are a great club to follow. If you love watching the big league team then, maybe you shouldn’t get too attached to some of these guys.

Thanks go out to Ehsan Kassim at Marlin Maniac for help with the list. Note: the original list provided included Carter Capps who has exceeded the maximum major league innings limit to be rookie-eligible and therefore is no longer considered a prospect. The original also did not include Jake Marisnick who still has his rookie eligibility and, therefore, will be included here.

Ehsan provided us with an interesting list that didn’t include the Marlins’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year Anthony DeSclafani who has been making Top 10 lists at Fangraphs and Baseball America.

Triple-A: New Orleans Zephyrs (Pacific Coast League)
Double-A: Jacksonville Suns (Southern League)
High-A: Jupiter Hammerheads (Florida State League)
Class-A: Greensboro Grasshoppers (South Atlantic League)
Short-Season A: Batavia Muckdogs (New York-Penn League)
Complex-Rookie: GCL Marlins (Gulf Coast League)

#15

Brent Keys – OF
Date of Birth:
July 14, 2990
Height/Weight: 6’1″/210 lbs
Acquired: 17th round of the 2009 draft

2013 Stats:

YearAgeTmLgLevAffGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOBAOBPSLGOPS
2013222 Teams2 LgsA+-AAMIA103472413601411402331495129.341.415.390.804
201322JupiterFLORA+MIA95434381571321402331394626.346.418.399.817
201322JacksonvilleSOULAAMIA838323900001053.281.378.281.660
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/9/2014.


Analysis
: Keys exploded on the prospect radar in 2012, winning a batting title in the South Atlantic League and continuing his momentum with Jupiter in the Florida State League and in the Arizona Fall League in 2013. While he has almost no power, the speedy outfielder has some great instincts wherever he’s put in the outfield. The Marlins have been playing him mostly in left field but he played about a third of his games in center. While he hasn’t made a serious attempt at Double-A yet, his contact abilities and patience at the plate would make a the 2013 Marlins’ Minor League Player of the Year a key top-of-the-order hitter despite the lack of power traditional from a corner outfield position.

2014 Prognosis: At least a half-season in Double-A Jacksonville is in the cards.

#14

J.T. Realmuto – C
Date of Birth:
March 18, 1991
Height/Weight: 6’1″/205 lbs
Acquired: 3rd round of the 2010 draft

2013 Stats:

YearAgeTmLgLevAffGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOBAOBPSLGOPS
201322JacksonvilleSOULAAMIA1064163684188213539913668.239.310.353.663
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/9/2014.


Analysis
: While Realmuto’s batting average and OBP dipped in 2013, he had a strong season defensively, catching 34% of potential base stealers. Scouts like his athletic ability and his skill at hitting the ball solidly means that he’s likely to improve with the bat and some writers think he can be an every day catcher in the major leagues.

2014 Prognosis: Marc Hulet of Fangraphs thinks that Realmuto starts 2014 in Triple-A with a chance to get the majors sometime this season.

#13

Austin Brice – RHP
Date of Birth:
June 19, 1992
Height/Weight: 6’4″/205 lbs
Acquired: 9th round of the 2010 draft

2013 Stats:

YearAgeTmLgLevAffWLW-L%ERAGGSGFIPHRERHRBBSOHBPWPWHIPH/9HR/9BB/9SO/9SO/BB
201321GreensboroSALLAMIA811.4215.7326231113.0118847211821111471.7709.40.96.58.81.35
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/9/2014.


Analysis
: Brice impresses scouts with his low-to-mid 90s fastball but his control continues to be a problem. With 82 walks in 113 innings, Brice is having trouble locating not only his fastball but his curve and change as well. Jonathan Mayo thinks that he can get a handle on his control and his strikeout numbers show the overall potential of his stuff. He could still be a middle-rotation starter in a best-case scenario.

2014 Prognosis: While his 2013 wasn’t very good in Class-A Greensboro, Brice will likely move up to Jupiter in 2014 to try to rack up some more innings in a more challenging environment.

#12

Austin Barnes – C
Date of Birth:
December 28, 1989
Height/Weight: 5’10″/190 lbs
Acquired: 9th round of the 2011 draft

2013 Stats:

YearAgeTmLgLevAffGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOBAOBPSLGOPS
2013232 Teams2 LgsA+-AAMIA11749141252112173545526469.272.379.364.743
201323JupiterFLORA+MIA984173504291151438525259.260.367.343.710
201323JacksonvilleSOULAAMIA19746210212217001210.339.446.484.930
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/9/2014.


Analysis
: While Barnes has been able to play two key positions (second base and catcher), I’ve only listed him as a catcher because he spent almost all of his time in the field behind the plate in 2013. His defensive numbers are not the best, throwing out only 23% of potential base stealers between High-A Jupiter and Double-A Jacksonville. Primarily a contact hitter with a little bit of gap power, Barnes gets on base a lot and doesn’t strike out very much which helps make him valuable to any team he’s on.

2014 Prognosis: A full season in Double-A is likely in the cards for Barnes. Which position he plays will be up to the Marlins.

#11

Avery Romero – 2B
Date of Birth:
May 11, 1993
Height/Weight: 5’11″/195 lbs
Acquired: 3rd round of the 2012 draft

2013 Stats:

YearAgeTmLgLevAffGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOBAOBPSLGOPS
2013202 Teams2 LgsA–AMIA652752433267190335341939.276.341.391.732
201320BataviaNYPLA-MIA562352092762180230341534.297.357.411.769
201320GreensboroSALLAMIA940345510150045.147.237.265.502
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/9/2014.


Analysis
: Romero is another line-drive hitter in the Marlins’ system. He had a very strong season in his second pro year, hitting almost .300 with the Short-Season A Batavia Muckdogs in his Age-20 season. He’s undergoing a conversion from shorstop and third base to second base and is showing some good defense at the keystone position. He’s got some gap power and, if he continues to put up high OBPs, could be a valuable player at the top of a lineup.

2014 Prognosis: Romero will start in Greensboro to get a taste of full-season ball.

Sep 12, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins pitcher Brian Flynn throws the ball in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

#10

Trevor Williams – RHP
Date of Birth:
April 25, 1992
Height/Weight: 6’3″/228 lbs
Acquired: 2nd round of the 2013 draft

2013 Stats:

YearAgeTmLgLevAffWLW-L%ERAGGSIPHRERHRBBSOHBPWPWHIPH/9HR/9BB/9SO/9SO/BB
2013213 Teams3 LgsA–A-RkMIA02.0002.38121234.0311590824101.1478.20.02.16.43.00
201321MarlinsGULFRkMIA004.50112.0321001001.50013.50.00.04.5
201321BataviaNYPLA-MIA02.0002.48101029.0261380820101.1728.10.02.56.22.50
201321GreensboroSALLAMIA000.00113.0200003000.6676.00.00.09.0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/9/2014.


Analysis
: An early round pick in the 2013 draft, Williams is a big, durable righty with solid stuff that includes two breaking balls. He only threw 34 innings this season coming from a major NCAA Division 1 program at Arizona State and he’ll likely get more fully stretched out in 2014. In Batavia, he showed some good polish, striking out 20 in 29 innings but walking only eight while hitting only one batter and not throwing any wild pitches.

2014 Prognosis: He will probably start in Greensboro but could get a bump to Jupiter with a good Spring Training or first month or two of the season.

#9

Jesus Solorzano – OF
Date of Birth:
August 8, 1990
Height/Weight: 6’/190 lbs
Acquired: International free agent out of Venezuela in 2008; $17,000 signing bonus

2013 Stats:

YearAgeTmLgLevAffGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOBAOBPSLGOPS
201322GreensboroSALLAMIA12952348472138293156633424111.285.325.450.775
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/9/2014.


Analysis
: Despite being 23 already, Jesus Solorzano hasn’t developed the way the Marlins had hoped. 2013 was his Age-22 season and he spent it in Class-A Greensboro and while he hit quite well, his .285 batting average benefited from a .339 BABIP. Scouts dream on Solorzano’s combination of power and speed as he hit 47 extra-base hits and stole 33 bases in 2013. He was only caught stealing four times, showing some maturity on the bases but his high strikeout rate  and low walk rate take some of the shine off of this prospect.

2014 Prognosis: Look for the Marlins to start moving Solorzano more quickly through the organization in 2014. I might be inclined to have him skip High-A and start 2014 in Double-A to see how he reacts to the increased challenge.

#8

Brian Flynn – LHP
Date of Birth:
April 19, 1990
Height/Weight: 6’7″/240 lbs
Acquired: Traded from the Detroit Tigers on July 23, 2012 as part of deal that included Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez; drafted in the 7th round of the 2011 draft

2013 Stats:

YearAgeTmLgLevAffWLW-L%ERAGGSIPHRERHRBBSOHBPBKWPWHIPH/9HR/9BB/9SO/9SO/BB
2013232 Teams2 LgsAAA-AAMIA712.3682.632727161.014556479431475271.1688.10.52.48.23.42
201323JacksonvilleSOULAAMIA11.5001.574423.0184423251000.9137.00.81.29.88.33
201323New OrleansPCLAAAMIA611.3532.802323138.012752437401224271.2108.30.52.68.03.05
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/9/2014.
YearAgeTmLgWLW-L%ERAGGSIPHRERHRBBSOHBPWPERA+WHIPH/9HR/9BB/9SO/9SO/BBAwards
201323MIANL02.0008.504418.02717174131503462.22213.52.06.57.51.15
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/9/2014.


Analysis
: Flynn, standing at 6’7″ and throwing 94 mph, makes it hard to think of him as a “forgotten man” from the Marlins’ 2012 trade with Detroit but he’s definitely making people pay attention, seeing major league action in 2013. He was excellent in the minors with most of his time spent racking up big innings in Triple-A New Orleans and showing some excellent polish with a K/BB ratio of over 3. Writers think that his curve could be an average pitch for him and that his change, while having an average potential, still needs some work. With more consistent offspeed pitches, he’s the prototype of a workhorse back-of-the-rotation starter.

2014 Prognosis: Flynn likely makes the 2014 Marlins in the rotation.

#7

Colby Suggs – RHP
Date of Birth:
October 25, 1991
Height/Weight: 5’11″/230 lbs
Acquired: 2nd round of the 2013 draft

2013 Stats:

YearAgeTmLgLevAffWLW-L%ERAGGFSVIPHRERHRBBSOHBPWPWHIPH/9HR/9BB/9SO/9SO/BB
2013213 Teams3 LgsA+-A–RkMIA23.4003.292211327.115111001838211.2074.90.05.912.52.11
201321MarlinsGULFRkMIA009.001101.0111021103.0009.00.018.09.00.50
201321BataviaNYPLA-MIA101.0001.127538.05210211100.8755.60.02.212.45.50
201321JupiterFLORA+MIA13.2503.93145018.198801426011.2554.40.06.912.81.86
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/9/2014.


Analysis
: Just drafted this year, Ehsan must really like Suggs because hasn’t made very many other top prospect lists. In my opinion, this placement is very high because of his ceiling as a reliever. He obviously impressed the Marlins enough to get bumped up all the way to Jupiter by the end of the season and was fairly solid there, despite walking 14 in 18 1/3 innings. His stuff is obviously effective as the 38 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings attest. He has a fastball that can touch 98 mph and a breaking ball that is quite effective but Suggs needs to command his stuff before becoming a high-leverage reliever.

2014 Prognosis: He’ll probably start in High-A Jupiter or Double-A Jacksonville.

#6

Jose Urena – RHP
Date of Birth:
September 12, 1991
Height/Weight: 6’3″/172 lbs
Acquired: International free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2008; $52,000 signing bonus

2013 Stats:

YearAgeTmLgLevAffWLW-L%ERAGGSIPHRERHRBBSOHBPWPWHIPH/9HR/9BB/9SO/9SO/BB
201321JupiterFLORA+MIA107.5883.732726149.21486962829107631.1838.90.51.76.43.69
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/9/2014.


Analysis
: A highly rated prospect out of the Dominican, Urena followed up a full-season debut in 2012 with another strong season in Jupiter. Urena is quite polished, throwing strikes and showing very good command with two solid pitches including a mid-90s fastball that has a lot of movement and a potential plus slider. Marc Hulet likes his changeup while Jonathan Mayo isn’t quite sold, writing that it’s still a work in progress. The one knock on Urena is that his strikeout rate isn’t what it should be considering his stuff but, if he’s consistently pitching to contact, he’ll be able to work deep into games.

2014 Prognosis: Up another level for Urena who will start in Jacksonville.

Aug 11, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Miami Marlins center fielder Jake Marisnick (23) is unable to catch a ball hit by Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Mike Minor (36) in the fifth inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

#5

Adam Conley – LHP
Date of Birth:
May 24, 1990
Height/Weight: 6’3″/185 lbs
Acquired: 2nd round of the 2011 draft

2013 Stats:

YearAgeTmLgLevAffWLW-L%ERAGGSCGSHOIPHRERHRBBSOHBPWPWHIPH/9HR/9BB/9SO/9SO/BB
201323JacksonvilleSOULAAMIA117.6113.25262531138.21256150737129711.1688.10.52.48.43.49
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/9/2014.


Analysis
: In only three seasons in the pros, Conley has already pitched a full season in Double-A which says a lot about his progress and his polish. With a very good 2.40 K/BB ratio and almost a strikeout per inning at a high minor league level, Conley is closing in on the The Show, using his solid fastball that has a lot of movement, good changeup and a decent slider.

2014 Prognosis: Conley will start in Triple-A but could be in the majors by the end of the season.

#4

Justin Nicolino – LHP
Date of Birth:
November 22, 1991
Height/Weight: 6’3″/190 lbs
Acquired: Traded from the Toronto Blue Jays on November 19, 2012 as part of a 12-player deal that included Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Henderson Alvarez, Adeiny Hechavarria and Jake Marisnick (and others); drafted by Toronto in the 2nd round of the 2010 draft

2013 Stats:

YearAgeTmLgLevAffWLW-L%ERAGGSCGIPHRERHRBBSOHBPBKWPWHIPH/9HR/9BB/9SO/9SO/BB
2013212 Teams2 LgsA+-AAMIA84.6673.1127272142.01525649630954121.2829.60.41.96.03.17
201321JupiterFLORA+MIA52.7142.231818196.2892724418642111.1078.30.41.76.03.56
201321JacksonvilleSOULAAMIA32.6004.9699145.1632925212312011.65412.50.42.46.22.58
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/9/2014.


Analysis
: Nicolino cruised through the low and mid-minors thanks to his exceptional pitchability and solid stuff from the left side. While he isn’t a power pitcher, his low-90s fastball plays up thanks to good deception and movement and he’s got a good curve and changeup. Still highly regarded, Nicolino hit a snag when he was promoted to Double-A last year, seeing a slight drop in his strikeout rate and big rise in his walks. A back-end starter in the best case scenario, Hulet writes that he needs to trust his stuff more.

2014 Prognosis: It’s a little tough to gauge what the Marlins will do with him. He could benefit from another couple of months in Double-A but some writers think he could end up with the Marlins before the season’s over.

#3

Colin Moran – 3B
Date of Birth:
October 1, 1992
Height/Weight: 6’4″/190 lbs
Acquired: 1st round (6th overall) in the 2013 draft

2013 Stats:

YearAgeTmLgLevAffGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOBAOBPSLGOPS
201320GreensboroSALLAMIA42175154194681423101525.299.354.442.796
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/9/2014.


Analysis
: Moran, taken very high in the 2013 draft, had a solid season in Greensboro as a 20 year old. Showing contact abilities, patience and some gap power, Moran struggled in the Arizona Fall League but his overall reviews were very good. Scouts think that he can stay at third base and be an average or better defender but some are worried about whether he’ll be able to develop the kind of power that teams like to see at a corner infield position.

2014 Prognosis: Moran likely starts in High-A Jupiter and stays there for at least a few months.

#2

Jake Marisnick – OF
Date of Birth:
March 30, 1991
Height/Weight: 6’3″/225 lbs
Acquired: Traded from the Toronto Blue Jays on November 19, 2012 as part of a 12-player deal that included Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Henderson Alvarez, Adeiny Hechavarria and Justin Nicolino (and others); drafted by Toronto in the 3rd round of the 2009 draft

2013 Stats:

YearAgeTmLgLevAffGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOBAOBPSLGOPS
2013222 Teams2 LgsAA-A+MIA70313280458114312461161769.289.350.489.840
201322JupiterFLORA+MIA315152310000001.200.200.267.467
201322JacksonvilleSOULAAMIA67298265437813312461161768.294.358.502.860
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/9/2014.
YearAgeTmLgGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSOPS+
201322MIANL40118109620211531627.183.231.248.47832
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/9/2014.


Analysis
: Marisnick recovered from a Spring Training injury to hit very well in Double-A Jacksonville and get a taste of the majors where he learned just how far he needs to go. With great defense in center field, good speed and a strong arm, Marisnick still needs to work on his hitting. He had a lot of trouble with contact, striking out almost 23% of the time and only walking around 5%. I’ve heard mixed reviews from writers who saw him when he was in the Blue Jays’ system but everyone acknowledges his high upside if he can make more contact.

2014 Prognosis: Marisnick probably heads to Triple-A to get some more reps at a minor league level.

#1

Andrew Heaney – LHP
Date of Birth:
June 5, 1991
Height/Weight: 6’2″/190 lbs
Acquired: 1st round (9th overall) of the 2012 draft

2013 Stats:

YearAgeTmLgLevAffWLW-L%ERAGGSGFCGIPHRERHRBBSOHBPWPWHIPH/9HR/9BB/9SO/9SO/BB
2013222 Teams2 LgsA+-AAMIA93.7501.6019181195.176221742689631.0707.20.42.58.43.42
201322JupiterFLORA+MIA52.7140.8813121061.24511621766631.0056.60.32.59.63.88
201322JacksonvilleSOULAAMIA41.8002.94660133.23111112923001.1888.30.52.46.12.56
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/9/2014.


Analysis
: Heaney, another lefty, has started to really move through the system after getting drafted in 2012 and, despite missing some time with a lat strain, had a terrific season at every level (he also had a trip to the Arizona Fall League in 2013). He has three pitches that are already well developed: a low-90s fastball that hits 93 mph, plus slider and solid changeup and all three can be plus pitches. Heaney has also shown that he can throw them for strikes. While most scouts don’t think he has the same ceiling as Jose Fernandez, very few prospects can actually claim that distinction and Heaney could be a very good #2 or #3 starter for a long time.

2014 Prognosis: Heaney could go back to Double-A for a few more innings before moving up but it wouldn’t be out of the question for him to start 2014 with Triple-A New Orleans.