Now it’s time to take a look at our AA affiliate. The Jacksonville Suns are located in the Southern League, a very neutral league, and they also play in a very neutral park. And the Front Office has shown they have no problem calling players straight up from AA, so there’s a few names we could possibly see.
The Top Prospects
-Mike Stanton: What else needs to be said? I think the main thing to question is just how much longer does he sit in AA? He’s absolutely mashing the ball, but he’s also barely getting anything to see. As of me typing this, he has walked nearly once every three PAs (10 in 33), two of which being intentional. His strike outs are down to around what they were in Jupiter last year (21%), but the question becomes how much is it him improving his approach and how much is it him being utterly pitched around? He’s barely been swinging that bat, and just two of his 7 strike outs are of the swinging variety. If this continues, he’ll need to move up to AAA soon.
-Matt Dominguez: After his poor AA showing and poor AFL performance…this isn’t a “make or break” season for Dominguez but if he repeats his Jacksonville performance from last year his stock will drop a ton. Still, if you’ve been following this blog, you know just how much I like him because of his defense at third.
(More) Bullpen Help On The Way
-Daniel Jennings: Jennings is our top left handed RP prospects and one of our best RP prospects overall. Baseball America rated his slider the best in our system, and he just barely missed having a 10 K/9 last season (9.9). They also rated him as our 13th best prospect, 4th pitcher. He shouldn’t be a future LOOGY; He is expected to dominate left handers while also being able to handle righties. His control still could use some improvement, but his fastball that sits in the low 90′s has a good amount of sink on it (22.4% FB rate last season). As of now, he’s likely the third choice in the minors if Pinto/Meyer needs to be replaced (Behind Hunter Jones and Taylor Tankersley), but that could change quickly.
-Jose Ceda: When a player with the reputation of being lazy suffers the most serious injury a pitcher can have (torn labrum), things aren’t exactly promising. Still, he has considerable upside and there were good things said about him this spring. He’s started the season on the DL, but if he can prove he still can bring it, he’ll likely be fast tracked to the majors
-Brandon Tripp: The former Baltimore Oriole power hitting prospect had a real good season last year in Jupiter. I’ll go more into him soon, but I like him.
-Osvaldo Martinez: A player who doesn’t hitter for power, doesn’t walk, and doesn’t strike out doesn’t sound very promising. But Baseball America rated him our 30th prospect going into the season because of his defense (+12 TZ/150 last year in Jupiter) and base running skills (16 stolen bases at a 80% rate). Could end up being a future defensive IF replacement in the mold of Alfredo Amezaga and Brian Barden.
-Ryan Curry: He had an extremely solid Jupiter campaign last season, with a park adjusted line of .284/.329/.486 (133 wRC+) and a TZ/150 of +11 at second base. However, he was also 24 years old in A+ ball and limited to just 310 PA, so he still has a lot to prove.
-Kris Harvey: He didn’t have the most impressive season last year in Jupiter but it was also his first time being a pitcher in years. The Marlins like him enough that they protected him from the Rule 5 this past off season and Baseball America ranked him #25.
-Garrett Parcell: He had a great season last year (0.44 ERA) but has constantly had injury problems, and we’ll likely not see him this season in the majors since he’s not on the 40 man roster. If he can prove he can stay healthy, he could become a mainstay in our bullpen.
-Alejandro Sanabia: His strike outs have fallen three strait years, from 9.3 in 07 to just 5.9 last year. But he’s very young (He’ll be 21 in AA this season), and still has the “STUFF” label on his forehead.
-Wade Korpi: With the trade of Jay Voss, Korpi takes the reigns of the #2 lefty RP prospect. And more than likely, he’ll end up as a LOOGY. He also lays claim to this brutal instance while pitching for Notre Dame in college. Majors props to him for being able to still go out to the mound after that incident.
-Todd Doolittle: He’s gotten a ton of strike outs in his career (11.2 K/9). But he was injured most of last year, doesn’t have the best of control, and was left unprotected in for the Rule 5 past two season and has yet to been picked up.
-Tom Koehler: Doesn’t have much upside, but could become a useful back of the rotation starter.
-Kyle Winters: Still recovering from surgery, he’s a possible future back of the rotation GB guy.
-Jeff Allison: While a feel good story, a future in the majors seems very unlikely. Looks like he’s been converted to RP work now.
-Elih Villanueva: He had an amazing season last year, but more than likely he’s a future Graham Taylor (who is also lingering around Jacksonville).