Moving on to advanced A. The Jupiter Hammerheads are located in the Florida State League, a pitchers league, and they play in a pitchers park that really suppresses home runs. Last year, after the call up of Mike Stanton and Matt Dominguez, there wasn’t really much at all to look at in Jupiter. This time around there’s quite a few interesting names though.
The Top Prospects
-Jake Smolinski: Obtained in the Josh Willingham trade, if you read my breakdown of our hitting prospects earlier you know just how much I like him. The Marlins are again playing him at third base this year, and his final destination likely hinges on just where they have a spot open for him. With just how much of a pitchers park he’s playing in, he likely won’t have the most impressive slash line, but he should become a future Chris Coghlan.
-Jhan Marinez: Labeled as having the best fast ball in the system by Baseball America, his value shot up a lot last season thanks to added velocity that sometimes sees him hitting 100. Currently a reliever, theirs some rumblings of turning him into a starter and over half of his appearances last year were for more than one inning (59%). The issue would mostly hinge on if he can develop his change up, as for now he’s simply a fastball/slider guy. If they try to convert him, we won’t see him for awhile. As an RP they might be real aggressive though. But one major cause of concern: Last year his FB% was 47.8%. If this continues, he’s going to be giving up a lot of HRs.
-Isaac Galloway: Yeah, he was really bad last year. But he still has so many tools that if his bat ever comes around, he’ll be real valuable. Still, we’re talking about needing to improve his walk rates, his strike out rates, and his power. He has a very long way to go.
-Brad Hand: The Marlins 2nd round pick in 2008 got beat up in the ERA department in Greensboro last year, but posted very strong strike out rates though iffy control. His 94 MPH Fastball gets a good amount of ground balls, his curve ball gets him a good amount of strike outs, and his change up allows him to not have a platoon split. Right now it’s a matter of learning control.
-Robert Bono: Acquired in the Matt Lindstrom trade, Bono gets good GB rates and has impeccable control, similar to Kyle Winters. Will it hold up in the majors though, allowing him to be a back of the rotation starter?
-Kyle Kaminska: He’s posted strong K/BB and FIP rates, but with a career BABIP of .356 and his lowest in a year being .339, you start to question how much is “luck” and how much is hitters having the ability to hit the ball well against him.
-Steven Cishek: The former 5th round draft pick had a strong year in Jupiter last year as a reliever, and at 24 he’s rather old for the league, but there’s currently no room for him in Jacksonville.
-Peter Andrelczyk: Like Cishek, he’s a 24 year old former 5th round draft pick. Andre spent most of last year in Greensboro though, where he put up a phenomal 74 K, 14 BB, 28.5% FB performance in 59 IP. He should be up in Jacksonville soon as well, and in fact has already seen some time there this year.
-Greg Burns: Burns has been appearing on Prospect sheets for the Marlins since he was drafted in 2004 but has yet to put it all together. His main problems are power (.095 career ISO) and strike outs (29% career K rate). But he does a lot of other things very, very well to the point that he’s still an interesting prospect. I plan to go more in depth in him soon.
-Kevin Mattison: Mattison isn’t a name you’ve likely heard and isn’t of too much interest considering his age (24) and problems hitting the ball so far (.720 career MILB OPS). However he’s very fast, having stolen 41 bases at a 87% clip in 95 games for Greensboro last year, as well as playing strong defense in CF. His bat needs to progress, and fast, for him to be anything more than minor league filler, but he does enough well in other fields that he doesn’t need to become that good of a hitter to become a future defensive replacement/pinch runner.
-Jeremy Synan: Synan was just a 42nd round draft pick in 2008, so needless to say there isn’t too much hope. But he posted a nice 132 wRC+ last year in Greensboro at 22 years of age. He walks less then you’d like, and strikes out more, but has good power. Defense is the biggest issue, TotalZone ranked him at -29 runs per 150 games in LF, and his offense likely won’t ever become good enough to over come that.
-Ryan Keedy: Keedy was originally drafted by the Cubs in 2008 and did well that year for their advanced short season club. The Cubs would be aggressive, sending him to advanced A in 2009, but he would struggle and see his release in June. The Marlins would sign him, and he’d put up a very good 149 wRC+ for Greensboro the last 3 months of the season.