With the Miami Marlins seemingly closing in on a trade for long time starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco, I urge you not to discount any prospect that the Marlins get in return.
With all the negativity always surrounding the team, something that has gone under the radar as of late has been President Larry Beinfest and GM Michael Hill’s ability to sneak in a throw in prospect that has a chance to make a potential impact on the Marlins roster in the down the road.
The Marlins brass has made several trades over the past calendar year, but the ones that will stick out will be the ones that included a “throw away” prospect that the opposite team included just for the sake of including. The first one was left handed starting pitcher Brian Flynn in the Anibal Sanchez trade with the Detroit Tigers. The second one was Anthony DeSclafani from the Toronto Blue Jays in the fire sale trade.
Both Flynn and DeSclafani have pitched well enough in 2013, that each has received a midseason promotions. Flynn received his promotion near the end of April and DeSclfani received his promotion at the beginning of June.
Brian Flynn was drafted out of Wichita State University in the 7th round of the 2011 MLB Amateur draft by the Detroit Tigers. When the Marlins acquired him from the Tigers, he was the forgotten piece, as all the attention went to former top prospect Jacob Turner and catcher Rob Brantly.
Flynn did not receive much preseason prospect love either, as John Sickles and I both neglected to put him in our respective top 20 prospect lists. Flynn came in at number 19 on MLB.com’s prospect list.
He did much to change the minds of the prospect list makers minds, posting an impressive 1.57 ERA and 2.68 FIP in 23 innings in Double-A, pitching for the Jacksonville Suns. Flynn was striking out almost 29% of the hitters he was facing and walking just above 3%. Hitters were hitting just .217 off of him.
With a strong start to the season, the Marlins decided Flynn was ready for a new challenge, pitching in Triple-A.
Brian has not disappointed since earning his promotion, despite his traditional stats telling you otherwise. While he has posted a 4.03 ERA, his FIP is a much more respectable 3.42. He has continued to strike hitters out at an impressive 23%. He is walked almost double the hitters he was in Double-A, but the 6.6% does not deviate too far from what he did between the Tigers and Marlins in 2012.
After ranking 19th on MLB.com’s preseason list, Flynn is now ranked as the 15th best prospect currently in the Marlins system.
If Flynn continues pitching like he has, there is a good chance he could see action in the majors as soon as July, when the Marlins may have a rotation spot open for him.
Anthony DeSclafani was also seen as a throw in for the Marlins in their trade with the Blue Jays. The only player less interesting than Anthony the Marlins received was Jeff Mathis. He figured to be a prospect that the Jays did not anticipate to miss at all.
DeSclafani was drafted in the sixth round of the 2011 MLB Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays. Desclafani decided to forego his senior season signed with the Jays for a $250,000 signing bonus.
Most saw him as a future middle reliever down the road, and while that could still be his faith, he has done everything in his power to prove he is a starter long term. Coming into the season, he like Flynn was not ranked highly among the top prospect experts.
Anthony started the season with the Jupiter Hammerheads and performed really well in his 12 starts there. He struck out 53 hitters in 54 innings and limited his walks to just 9. That was good for a 5.89 strikeout to walk ratio, which would have put him in elite company in the major leagues. This all lead to his sparkling 1.67 ERA and 2.51 ERA.
After his June 9th start, DeSclafani received a call to the managers office to inform him that he would be moving onto Jacksonville. The Marlins clearly felt that he had shown enough results in High-A to be given a chance to prove himself in Double-A, with some of the best prospects in the game.
Anthony has made two starts since earning his promotion and has shown no signs of losing his mojo. While he has only struck out 7 hitters in 13 innings of work so far with the Suns, DeSclafani has not walked any one and only allowed 10 hits. His ERA after two starts sits at just 2.03, while his FIP continues to impress as well, despite going up almost a full run to 3.35.
Due to his stellar start, DeSclafani is now ranked as the 19th best prospect. In his article talking about the future of Giancarlo Stanton, Ken Rosenthal mentioned DeSclafani as a prospect that rival scouts and GM’s have taken notice of.
"More pitching also is coming. At least three potential starters – righty Anthony DeSclafani and lefties Justin Nicolino and Andrew Heaney – are performing well in the minors. Righty Arquimedes Caminero, throwing 98 to 101 mph at Double A, is a potential closer."
Coming into the season, both Brian Flynn and Anthony DeSclafani were seen as prospects that did not have much of a future with the Marlins. They figured to be “throw in” prospects in the respective trades that landed them in Miami. However, with strong performances so far in 2013, they have proven to be a lot more.
The lesson in this, when you hear someone mention a prospect as a “throw in” piece for Ricky Nolasco, or any other player the Marlins deal down the road, don’t write that prospect off just yet. If the Marlins brass has done one thing right in the past year, it would be identifying prospects that are not seen as much by their former team, but are now making an impact in the Marlins organization.