Jul 13, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; World pitcher Domingo German throws a pitch in the 2nd inning during the All Star Futures Game at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
All five of the names the Marlins protected are projected to be important for the ballclub moving forward.
Depending on your view of him, Nicolino is either the best prospect on the team, or the third best. I view Nicolino behind Andrew Heaney, Tyler Kolek, and Anthony DeSclafani, as the team’s fourth best prospect. Nicolino came to the Marlins in the much talked about “fire sale” trade with the Toronto Blue Jays after the 2012 season.
Nicolino posted an impressive 2.85 ERA in Double-A last season for the Jacksonville Suns, helping guide them to a Southern League Championship. While his ERA looked great, there has to be concerns about his strikeout rate, which fell to a career low of 4.28 K/9 IP last season. While he also doesn’t walk many hitters (1.06 BB), there has to be concern if he can retire hitters at the same rate in the majors without a decent strikeout total.
Adam Conley has been one of my favorite prospects in the Marlins system since being drafted him in the 2011 draft. He’s a left handed pitcher, like Nicolino, that has risen fast through the minor leagues. He probably could have pitched in the majors last season if it weren’t for an elbow injury that cost him most of the season. He threw just 60 innings at Triple-A last season and posted an ugly 7.20 ERA and a 4.20 FIP. I’d write that season off due to injuries and hope for a comeback season in 2015.
Domingo German drew a lot of hype this past season, being selected to pitch in the Minor League All-Star game, where he struck out top prospect Joey Gallo. In 2014, German pitched a career high of 123 innings in High-A Jupiter. He struck out 22.4% of the hitters he faced and walked just over 5%. As a result, his ERA/FIP was a sparkling 2.48/3.26.
The last pitcher added was Matt Ramsey, who was acquired by the Fish mid-season from the Rays for international bonus signing slots. In Double-A for the Suns, Ramsey struck out 31.2% of the hitters he faced and walked just 6.4% of the hitters he faced. He posted a 1.95 ERA and a 2.43 FIP for the season. If he performs well in the first half, he’ll have a chance to make the Marlins bullpen at some point.
Lastly, the only position player added to the Marlins 40-man roster is probably the most intriguing guy in their system. In Austin Barnes, the Marlins have a rare gem that can play both the middle infield and catch. He can flat out hit too, as he posted a .296/.406/.507 slash line with a 157 wRC+. He walked more (14.3%) than he struck out (10.3%) and hit for an .211 ISO for the season. He has a great chance to impact the Marlins major league roster sometime during the 2016 season.
Next: The Players Marlins Left Unprotected