Miami Marlins #1 Prospect Tyler Kolek Still Years Away


The Miami Marlins have some talent down on the farm with the likes of Austin Dean (the player that hit the inside-the-park home run in the Fall Stars Game) and left-hander Jarlin Garcia, but the team’s top prospect, and the only one rated inside of MLB’s top 100 is right-hander Tyler Kolek.

Kolek was selected second overall in 2014 out of Shepherd High School in Shepherd, Texas. The one player taken before him was Brady Aiken, who the Houston Astros failed to sign, and the two players taken after him, Carlos Rodon of the Chicago White Sox and Kyle Schwarber of the Chicago Cubs have both made their debuts at the age of 22 this past season. Kolek still has a chance to make it to the big leagues in that same time frame as he will be entering his age 20 season in 2016.

While it’s tough to look at the number two overall pick and see a slew of players taken after him already making their mark in the Major Leagues, this fits the plan that the Miami Marlins are working with and many of those players were have years of experience on him, making their leaps a bit easier. Many of their top prospects are at least two years away, which, in Giancarlo Stanton contract terms means that he will be on the team with this next wave of prospects for 2-3 years before he can opt out of his enormous contract after the 2020 season. That is, if everyone goes as planned.

Kolek is 6-foot-5-inches, 260 pounds and has a fastball that MLB Pipeline rates as an 80 on the 20-80 scale and regularly hits triple-digits. Oddly enough, his strikeout rate through 130.2 professional innings sits at just 6.8, which is an indication that his secondary pitches aren’t good enough to keep hitters off his fastball. Add to that is a walk rate of 5.1 per nine innings in that same span, and you can see why Kolek has struggled thus far, compiling a 4.55 ERA between Rookie and A Ball.

Baseball America ($) also rates Kolek’s fastball as an 80, but differs greatly on his breaking pitches. They rate his slider at 45, while Pipeline deems his curve at a 60. Baseball America also says that Kolek is transitioning from a curveball to a power slider and that his fastball was more of a space heater than the furnace we’re used to, sitting in the low-to-mid 90s for a decent amount of the season, only picking up when he has extra days off.

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Both Pipeline and Baseball America project Kolek as a front-line starter due to his size and arm strength but note that he will need to improve greatly to reach that ceiling.

If the Marlins are able to keep Jose Fernandez around, Kolek may be joining him in the rotation before he hits free agency after the 2018 season. With the potential that Kolek has, and the fact that he is still just 19-year-old for the next two weeks, he could be one of the key components to lead the next wave of Marlins to the postseason.