Miami Marlins top 10 prospects according to Keith Law
ESPN.com’s Keith Law has revealed his top 10 prospects for the Miami Marlins (Insider subscription required for full article.)
Here’s what he came up with:
"1. Tyler Kolek, RHP2. J.T. Realmuto, C3. Justin Nicolino, LHP4. Jose Urena, RHP5. Avery Romero, 2B6. Trevor Williams, RHP7. Jarlin Garcia, LHP8. Isael Soto, OF9. Casey Soltis, OF10. Adam Conley, LHP"
At least a few of those names are probably unfamiliar to the casual Marlins fan. Admittedly, I had virtually no knowledge of Isael Soto or Casey Soltis. Such is the state of the Marlins farm system right now, with several top prospects being traded this offseason for the Marlins “win now” model.
"The Marlins’ system tends to rank low because they promote their prospects to the majors fairly quickly, which isn’t a negative for the major league team as long as the front office (and the fans) are willing to wait for a player to finish developing while facing big league competition. They’ve also traded their top two prospects from last year (yielding Dee Gordon and Jarred Cosart), traded two other top-10 guys in the deals for Aaron Crow and Mat Latos and sent Domingo German to New York in the Nate Eovaldi-Martin Prado trade, all of which hurts their system but has significantly improved the major league team."
I’m not sure the big league club has been “significantly improved,” but the Marlins are definitely in a position to contend for a Wild Card if everything falls into place.
You’re probably familiar with Tyler Kolek, the Marlins first round pick, second overall in the 2014 draft. His fastball exceeded 100 mph in high school, and at 19 years-old he’s still years away from Miami, but has all the promise in the world.
J.T. Realmuto earned a pair of call ups last year and saw 30 plate appearances. He is blocked right now by Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jeff Mathis, but expect Realmuto to graduate to the big leagues permanently relatively soon. Salty is a prime trade candidate either this season or next due to his price tag in relation to his struggles, so Realmuto might be the next Marlins backstop before we know it.
The rest of the Marlins top prospects list is pitcher-heavy, with most still at least a couple seasons away. Justin Nicolino, the last prospect remaining from the 2012 trade with the Toronto Blue Jays, is a left hander with promise who could be called up this year if some players go down with injury. That’s obviously not a scenario we want, and it would likely take a slew of injuries for the Marlins to have to resort to that. But, consider this, from Law’s article:
"Nicolino is one of the highest-floor pitching prospects in baseball, with outstanding command and control of three average or better pitches. He threw just over 13 pitches per inning in 2015, fewer than the MLB leader in that category, Clayton Kershaw."
I don’t care what the context is, any time you are mentioned in the same breath as Clayton Kershaw, you’re doing something right.
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Last week, I wrote that he could be a break-through candidate this season. MLB Prospect Watch gives Nicolino a MLB ETA of 2015, so maybe Nicolino will be helping the Marlins sooner rather than later.
Avery Romero landed on MLB.com’s top 10 second base prospects list last week. He is blocked by newly-acquired Dee Gordon, so his future with the Marlins might be in question. He’s still at the very least over a year away from being MLB-ready, but he’s probably the best young hitter in the Marlins system.
There’s a chance we could see Trevor Williams reach the big leagues this season as well. Last year in Class-A Jupiter Williams posted a 2.79 ERA in 129 innings over 23 starts, striking out 90 and walking just 29. He will probably need to get that K-rate up a bit before facing MLB bats, and he should need at least a full season in Double-A before we see him in Miami. He was drafted in 2013 and has developed quickly; MLB.com has his ETA as 2015.
Law agrees with me about Realmuto and has this final word to say about these prospects impacting the Marlins in 2015:
"Realmuto is just a phone call away if Jarrod Saltalamacchia gets hurt, and both Nicolino and Conley could see time either in the back of the rotation or, in Conley’s case, in the bullpen once there’s a need for a lefty."
In case you missed it yesterday, Law released his top 100 prospects for all of baseball, with two Marlins, Realmuto and Kolek included on the list. He also ranked the Marlins farm system 24th in baseball earlier this week.
Our Senior Editor Ehsan Kassim will be releasing his top 20 Marlins prospect profiles starting on Monday.
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