News broke yesterday that the Chicago Cubs had claimed pitcher Jacob Turner off the waiver wire after he had been designated for assignment by the Miami Marlins the day before. The Marlins must now work out a trade with the Cubs or lose Turner without compensation by placing him on irrevocable waivers.
Turner, a 2009 first round pick, was out of options which meant the Marlins had no choice, but to pass him through waivers if they wanted to get him off the 25-man roster. We explained in a post on Marlin Maniac why this was a mistake on the part of the Marlins. However, what’s done is done so instead let’s take a look at what the Marlins might be able to get for him from the Cubs.
In last week’s trade deadline deal the Marlins shipped out their top two hitting prospects in Jake Marisnick and Colin Moran, so I would assume that they would hope to get a position player back for Turner. Luckily, if there is one organization that has bats to spare at the minor league level it’s the Chicago Cubs. With the Cubs holding all the cards in this situation the return for the Marlins will obviously be slim, so I’ll concentrate on 3 former top prospects at the upper levels who currently find themselves blocked by super prospects like Javier Baez and Kris Bryant.
Believe it or not, Olt was once a highly sought after prospect in the Texas Rangers organization. Before the 2013 season he was ranked as the Rangers’ second best prospect. John Sickels of Minorleagueball.com claimed that his “power and defense would make him valuable even if he doesn’t hit for average.” Sickels probably didn’t envision a .188 average and nearly 40% strike out rate when he said that. On the positive side, Olt did own a 22% Home Run per Fly Ball Rate (HR/FB) and .214 Isolated Slugging Rate (ISO) in the majors this year. For comparison’s sake, Giancarlo Stanton’s HR/FB rate is 18%, so if nothing else we know Olt’s power is legit. By acquiring Olt, the Fish would have replaced Colin Moran with the anti-Colin Moran.
Watkins was the Cubs Minor League Player of the Year after the 2012 season and had a cup of coffee in the majors in 2013. He is seen as a solid defender at 2B and has the versatility to play SS or CF, which would allow him to be used as a utilityman if need be. At the plate, he has an on base approach with solid plate discipline and good speed that has produced as many as 28 steals at the AA level.
Villanueva is another 3B prospect in the Cubs system and was ranked as high as the #10 prospect in the organization before the 2014 season. The 23 year old has been named best defensive 3B at two different minor league levels in his career and led the Southern League in doubles with 41 in 2013. An aggressive approach at the plate means he will probably struggle to hit for much average, but his defense and gap power could allow him to develop into at least a bottom division starter at 3B.