Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
As Co-Editor Chris Logel pointed out this morning in Marlins Way, Baseball America has published their top 10 prospect for the Miami Marlins. The Marlins two most recent draft picks, Andrew Heaney and Colin Moran, were the top overall prospects for the Marlins.
Here is the rest of the list:
The Marlins graduated their top two prospects, in Jose Fernandez and Christian Yelich, this past season, and also saw other top 10 prospects like Marcell Ozuna and Derek Dietrich rise to the majors for short stints as well. Six of the ten prospects are homegrown for the team.
We have heard over and over again that pitching is the team’s strength in the minor leagues and this list proves that. Six of the ten prospects are pitchers, all of whom are starting pitchers in the minors currently.
Andrew Heaney is the top prospect in the Marlins farm right now, according to BA. Heaney was the Marlins first round pick from 2012 and many experts tabbed him to be a safe, easy sign-ability pick for the Fish. Heaney was regarded as a “low ceiling” type of prospect and has proven to be the opposite of that early on. He split 2013 between High-A and Double-A, striking out 22.5 percent of the batters he faced and put up a combined 1.60 ERA and 2.89 FIP. Heaney will likely be given a shot to win a starting rotation spot out of spring training, and I actually like his chances of doing so.
The Marlins first round pick from last season, Moran, was ranked the second best Marlins prospect. After a slow start to his professional debut, Moran posted a .299/.354/.442 (.363 wOBA) line in 175 plate appearances Low-A Greensboro. The most impressive thing about Moran was the reason he was highly touted coming out of the draft. He walked in 8.6% of PA”s and struck out just 14.3% of the time. Colin will be the Marlins lone representative in tomorrow’s Arizona Fall League All-Star Game.
For Marisnick, the number three spot is a familiar one. He started 2012 as the Marlins third best prospect, behind Fernandez and Yelich, and will do so again in 2014. While his .294/.358/.502, .391 wOBA slash line in Double-A was impressive, his .183/.231/.248, .216 wOBA line in the majors did not come without much surprise, as he still showed he needs to improve his plate discipline going forward.
Left hander Justin Nicolino and right hander Anthony DeScalfani were the next two prospects for the Marlins. Nicolino had a strong showing in 2013, as he held his own both in High-A and Double-A. DeScalfani however probably had the most impressive campaign in 2013, as he seemed to come out of nowhere to post 2.65 ERA and 3.07 FIP between High-A and Double-A, while striking out 22.2% of the hitters he faced. He was seen as a throw in the Jays-Marlins blockbuster from a winter ago, but now could become a major factor in the Marlins rotation in 2014.
Another throw in prospect, Brian Flynn, posted a dominant season in hitter friendly Triple-A. He posted a 2.80 ERA, 3.05 FIP and earned his way onto the Marlins roster in September. Flynn had a couple of rough starts in the majors, but still has the stuff to stick in the majors as a starter.
Jose Urena and Adam Conley come in as the 7th and 8th best prospects. Urena to me is the top right handed pitcher in the system for the Fish and Conley is as good as Flynn, and could even be better than Nicolino, if the chips fall properly for him. In Double-A, he posted a 3.25 ERA and 2.95 FIP with a 22.2 percent strikeout rate. The team’s decision to convert him to a starter after drafting him seems to be paying off.
The Marlins top rated middle infield prospect, Avery Romero, is one of my favorites in the Marlins system. Despite his young age (21), he should begin the season in High-A and could be a name that ascends into the top 5 prospects for the Fish by mid-season.
Rounding out the list for the Marlins is catching prospect J.T. Realmuto, whose 2013 was a big disappointment. He posted a .239/.310/.353, .308 wOBA in Double-A. Many still see him as the Marlins catcher of the future, but he could lose that label with another down season, in 2014.
While the team lost two of the better prospects in baseball to their major league team, the Marlins still have a promising system. The team holds the second pick in June’s MLB draft and is well positioned with plenty of young players at every level.
Next week I will reveal the top 20 prospect list for Marlin Maniac, please stay tuned for that.