We will continue on our Miami Marlins top prospect countdown today. I have been infrequent with these posts, but starting today, I will try to get this countdown running faster and on a daily basis. The list has featured some good prospects so far, but the list will get a lot more interesting as we near the top. Here is a recap of the prospects we have gone over so far:
- #20- Mason Hope, RHP
- #19- Zack Cox, 3B
- #18- Tom Koehler, RHP
- #17- Kolby Copeland, OF
- #16- Austin Barnes, INF-C
- #15- Alfredo Silverio, OF
- #14- Avery Romero, INF
- #13- Derek Dietrich, INF
So far, my list has not differed from many of the other prospects lists that have hit the internet so far this year. I may have one or two prospects ranked higher or lower than other people see them, but like I have mentioned before, these are my personal rankings and often times, prospect rankings are based more on subjectivity than anything else. Let’s look at Marlin Maniac’s #12 Prospect:
12. Austin Brice, SP
Drafted: 2010 9th round pick
Birthdate: 6/19/1992 (20) Height: 6’3″ Weight: 190 lbs.
At just the ripe age of 20-years old, Austin Brice has a very raw, but promising arm. Brice regularly touches throws in the low-90’s, but he can reach 90-95 MPH with his fastball. Brice also features a curveball and a changeup. While his fastball can be devastating to hitters, Brice still lacks control of it at times. Last season in low-A ball, Brice made 19 starts and 6 relief appearances. At times, Brice seemed dominant, racking up 122 strikeouts in 109.2 innings, good for a 10.01 K/9IP. His downfall, though, was his lack of command. Brice also walked 68 walks in those same amount of innings.
Brice also has a dominant curveball, which sometimes he is inconsistent in his release point with. Brice uses his curveball as his go to strikeout pitch. He is extremely efficient when he uses his fastball to get him in a strikeout situation, and then uses his curveball to put hitters away.
Brice’s changeup on the other hand is still a pitch that needs a lot of work. He still needs to work on the command on his change, but that development should continue as he goes through the Marlins organization. From some of the scouting reports I have read, Brice also needs to improve his arm action on the changeup, as hitters can easily pick up when he is throwing it, as he slows his arm down. Brice does not have the preferred 10 MPH differential between his changeup and fastball, as he throws it between 84-85 MPH. Brice should feature an above average fastball and curveball and his changeup should be average.
The key for Brice will be his fastball command. If he can keep his fastball in the strike-zone, hitters will have a tougher time with his off-speed pitches.
This is what John Sickels had to say about Brice’s future:
"20) Austin Brice, RHP, Grade C+: Posted 4.35 ERA with 122/68 K/BB in 110 innings in Low-A at age 19/20. Low-to-mid-90s fastball and hard curve result in strong dominance ratios, but needs better command and still working on changeup. Command is erratic but has mid-rotation upside, could plausibly rank as high as 13 or 14."
Brice should spend 2013 in High-A ball and could be a breakout pitcher to watch for. If he can harness his command, he could shoot way up in these rankings next season and even make an impact by the 2015 season. However, if he can not command his pitches, he could see a decline in his prospect ranking.
Austin Brice has the upside of a #2/3 pitcher, could become a strong back-end-of-the-pen option, but also has a high chance of never working out, because of his command.