Before the season, when Baseball America released it’s top 100 prospects, the new look Miami Marlins were only able to place one player on that list, Christian Yelich. Yelich was ranked as the Marlins best prospect coming into the season. He is enjoying another fine season in High A Jupiter, with the Hammerheads. Although Yelich has been fighting injury woes for most of the season, mostly concussion issues, Yelich has made a move up 20 spots to become the 21st best prospect in baseball.
Yelich has posted a .319/.391/.571 line in 236 plate appearances with the Hammerheads. Yelich is showing off his power, with 10 home runs and an ISO of .252, and his speed with his 14 stolen bases. All that offense has culminated into an amazing wOBA of .441. Yelich has done nothing thus far to bring down his status of being one of the elite prospects in all of baseball, and for the Marlins.
However, he is no longer alone in being one of the top prospects for the Marlins, in fact, he is not even the best prospect for the Marlins anymore. Another prospect has overtaken Yelich, with an even bigger jump.
Before the season began, Baseball America did not even have the name Jose Fernandez in the top 100 list. Half way through the 2012 season, the Marlins first round draft pick last season has become a top 10 prospect in all of baseball, coming in at number 8. Fernandez made a huge leap from being an honorable mention, to being one of the games elite prospects, as well as the Marlins top prospects.
Fernandez is the franchise’s most-anticipated homegrown pitching prospect since Josh Beckett. That is high praise for a pitcher that will not turn 20 until the end of the month.
Starting the season with the Greensboro Grasshoppers, Fernandez was too good for his competition. In just 79 innings, Fernandez struck out 99 hitters, while only walking 19 hitters. After 14 starts, the Marlins decided that they had seen enough of Fernandez in Greensboro, the team decided to send him up to Jupiter to join Christian Yelich.
Fernandez has not pitched as well in Jupiter in two starts, as he has an ERA of 6.30, but a respectable FIP of 2.90. Fernandez has only pitched 10 innings in A+ ball so far, but he has allowed seven earned runs, striking out 9 hitters and walking 4.
While he has not performed up to his capability with the Hammerheads yet, it has only been two starts and Fernandez is becoming a intriguing prospect for the Marlins. He has now become the best prospect in the Marlins system, which slowly and gradually is improving.
The list only includes the top 50 prospects, but if it were to be drawn out further, there is a good chance that Marcell Ozuna and an outside chance of Adam Conley joining Yelich and Fernandez on the top 100 list. That is a huge improvement for the Marlins team that had only one prospect on the list to begin the season.
Both of the Marlins two top prospects figure to make an impact of some kind by late 2013 and early 2014. Both will become pernament fixtures with the big league team once they reach the big leagues.
You can also catch both at the MLB Futures All-Star game this Sunday at 5 PM EST on ESPN. Yelich will be swinging for the USA team, while Fernandez will be pitching for the World Team. Hopefully the two cross paths and get to face off against each other!
Here is a look at the full list of the top 50 prospects, according to Baseball America: