Mar 17, 2013; Jupiter, FL, USA; Miami Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (3) fields the ball in the fourth inning during a spring training game against St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

2013 Marlin Maniac #7 Prospect: SS, Adeiny Hechavarria

We are now just eight days away from Opening Day 2013 for the Miami Marlins. The team will be in Washington to take on the Nationals. We have already talked about one prospect that will open the season with the Marlins and will look at another one today.

Here is a quick recap of the top 20 prospects we have taken a look at so far:

The next prospect we will examine will be the Marlins every day short stop in 2013. He was one of the players the Marlins acquired in their blockbuster trade with the Toronto Blue Jays back in November.

7. Adeiny Hechavarria

Signed by the Toronto Blue Jays as an amateur free agent in 2010

Birthdate: 4/15/1989 (23)  Height: 6’0″ Weight: 185 lbs.

The Toronto Blue Jays were able to steal Hechavarria away from the New York Yankees in March of 2010, when they signed him to a four-year, $10 Million contract. He was seen as one of the better international prospects and chose to sign with the Blue Jays over the Yankees because he did not want to be blocked by Derek Jeter.

Hechavarria provides excellent athleticism from the short stop position, which provides him with great range at the position. His soft hands and range make him an excellent defender. He has made some impressive plays for the Marlins defensively this spring, already. Hech’s defense at short will be a sight for sore eyes, as the Marlins have not had a slick fielding short stop since Alex Gonzalez.

Although his defense is strong enough to merit him a starting job for many years to come, his offensive game severely lags behind his defensive skills. Hechavarria does provide above-average speed and strong base running skills. He projects as a 15-stolen base guy, but that number would be higher, if he reached base at a better clip.

This is what prospect guru John Sickels had to say about Hechavarria:

7) Adeiny Hechavarria, SS, Grade B-: Glove will keep him employed for a long time. Don’t expect much hitting in the short run, but he’s not helpless and he could hit better than we currently expect as he gets into his late 20s.

In 102 games, Hechavarria posted a .312/.363/.424 line with six home runs and eight stolen bases in 490 plate appearances in Triple-A Las Vegas last season. The numbers look great, until you consider that Vegas is seen as an extreme hitters environment, which helped inflate Adeiny’s numbers.

His strong line earned him a promotion to the Blue Jays big league roster in August, but Hech was disappointing with a .254/.280/.365. line in 137 plate appearances. His defense on the other hand was extremely impressive.

Hechavarria struggled with strikeouts in his time in the majors, as he struck out an alarming rate, posting a K% of 23.4 percent. The league average last season was 19.8%. That is extremely high for someone that does not provide much pop with his bat. To make matters worse, Hechavarria’s walk rate was an abysmal 2.9%. He clearly needs to improve on his plate discipline.

I would say Hechavarria’s ceiling will be as a .240 to .260 hitter that does not get on base at a high rate, but could provide 10-12 home runs down the line. If he can provide that kind of offense, combined with his already strong defense, the Marlins will have a strong short stop for the next several seasons.

Adeiny Hechavarria is the Marlins best middle infield prospect since Hanley Ramirez. Marlins owner Jeffery Loria claims that Hanley told him that Hechavarria is a better player than he is.

“Hanley Ramirez called us and told us what an incredible shortstop he is,” Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said. “When Hanley tells you ‘He is better than I am, you’ve got a great guy with great hands,’ it’s amusing to listen to.”

Hech is a better fielding prospect than Hanley, but without much offensive upside, it is hard to see the entire package being better than Hanley’s.

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Tags: Adeiny Hechavarria Derek Jeter Hanley Ramirez Miami Marlins

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