We last left off our fantasy baseball prospects’ recaps in Colorado as we took a closer look at the Colorado Rockies’ top prospects and try to help those in keeper/dynasty leagues pick up the next big thing in baseball before it’s too late. But these recaps are not exclusively for fantasy leaguers as non-fantasy players should find these recaps useful in keeping tabs with the game’s future. We keep it going by starting off with the other expansion team of 1993, the Miami Marlins.
The Marlins are still reeling from their spending spree in the offseason of 2012 when they attempted to generate hype for the opening of their brand new stadium. After the 2012 season, the Marlins were back to dumping salary, but their farm system has been lacking depth and is still a work in progress.
Nevertheless, the Marlins were able to use their farm system to plug a few holes in their big league roster. Marcell Ozuna was able to play in 70 games in 2013, playing at both center and right field. But the big fish in the Marlins’ system was Christian Yelich, who did not hit for much power, but showed a decent approach at the plate for a kid his age and hit .288 while sporting an on-base percentage of .370 for the Marlins. Yelich is an exciting, young player and is one of the few bright spots on an otherwise sorry big league roster. Meanwhile, former L.A. Dodgers’ prospect Alfredo Silverio underwent his second Tommy John surgery and is quickly falling off the baseball radar.
2013 Outlook: Raw power and great speed; swing has weaknesses; can be a complete hitter.
Marisnick is still technically a prospect and based on his call up last season, he needs more seasoning in the minors. Based on his strikeout rate, he still needs to work on his approach and swing. However, he was still able to post an OPS of .860 in Double-A last season while showing off both power and speed. Marisnick’s stock may be down coming into the 2014 campaign because of his disappointing showing in the Majors last season but may be worth a flyer for next season as he will most likely be the first player to be called up by the Marlins.
2013 Outlook: Might quickly climb through system; low 90s fastball; great breaking pitch; changeup can be above-average
Strikeouts really dipped as Heaney moved up to Double-A. But the 2012 first rounder will only be turning 23-years-old in 2014 so he still has a chance to prove himself in Double-A. Hopefully another season in the Southern League will bring up his strikeout totals again. In the meantime, it is very encouraging to see the low BB/9 and home run totals. Even if the strikeouts don’t increase, at least we can depend on Heaney to not hurt himself. A strong showing in the minors might mean a quick call-up to the big league roster by summer of 2014.
REBUILDING BY REBUILDING
As mentioned, the Marlins are working on restocking their poor farm system. Here are a few players that will help Miami look respectable in the minors:
Colin Moran–3B–2016: If Moran looks oddly familiar to you, that is because he is the nephew of former big leaguer, B.J. Surhoff. Just like his uncle, Moran is a left-handed hitter that can hold his own defensively at third base. Nevertheless, it’s his big bat and great approach at the plate that really stands out. He’s projected to be a big time run producer in the bigs. He will need to work on his build (6-4, 190 lbs.) to help develop his latent power.
Justin Nicolino–SP–2014: Just like Heaney, Nicolino is expected to have a real shot at the big league club by 2014. Both pitchers have similar frame and are both left-handed. However, Nicolino does not have the electric stuff that Heaney has although Baseball America awarded him the “Best Changeup” in the organization. Nicolino also struggled with command once he was called up to Double-A Jacksonville, but was given the title of “Best Control” (along with “Best Changeup”) in the Florida State League. Hopefully, just like Heaney, another year in the Southern League will see an improvement in the numbers, but it’s worth reiterating that Nicolino’s ceiling is not as high as Heaney’s.
Adam Conley–SP–2014: Conley had a great year at Double-A last season, keeping control of his walks and racking up the strikeouts, en route to a 11-7 record. Conley’s fastball rates higher than both Heaney and Nicolino, however he lacks the secondary pitches that are necessary to keep hitters off-balanced in the majors. What Conley lacks in polish, he makes up for it with intangibles on the mound as MLB.com notes his “good competitive streak.”
These are solid, but unspectacular prospects. The rest of their top players still have more developing to get done before they’re considered major league ready while the rest of the pitchers are either a couple of years away or might eventually become relievers.
Up next, we head north and check out the Tampa Bay Rays rich farm system.