Miami Marlins’ top fifteen prospectsBy
Last season I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to evaluate prospects from all levels of the Marlins system. I didn’t get to see every player on my list of potential impact prospects, but I saw enough talent to satisfy my scouting needs. More importantly, however, I’ve discussed the many players in the system with scouts and prospect writers, so I’m comfortable ranking and discussing the players I haven’t yet seen. Either way, here’s my top fifteen prospect rankings, starting from the bottom and ending with numero uno.
15. Blake Brewer
After changing his arm-slot midway through the ’11 season, Brewer started to gain more velocity on his fastball and started developing better feel for a change-up. Brewer started sitting 94-96 rather than 91-93 when he was throwing from an over-the-top angle. Regardless, he is best suited as a reliever down the line, but can be a very good one should his stuff continue to improve.
14. Kyle Skipworth
It’s been a rough three-and-a-half years for the former number one pick, but he still has tools to become a solid, everyday catcher. Inconsistency at the plate has resulted in several bad seasons for Skipworth and he’s just never really been able to adjust to professional pitching. It happens to the best of prospects, but Skipworth’s power and skill-set had scouts feeling rather optimistic when they saw him in high school. He’s still only twenty-one years of age so he certainly has time, but the clock is ticking.
13. Kyle Jensen
Jensen’s age (twenty-five) is really all that’s holding him back from prospect consideration. Right now he sits atop the list of Marlins minor leaguers who can hit but don’t have a position or are too old. The Marlins’ system is still rather thin of top prospects, so although Jensen is ranked #13 here, there’s a good chance he wouldn’t come close in another organization.
12. Rob Rasmussen
Rasmussen is an intriguing specimen. He doesn’t possess that great of stuff, but he’s just about major league ready and projects to be a solid middle reliever from the left side from any major league club. He was recently optioned back to the minors but there is a good shot that we’ll be seeing some of the southpaw if the Marlins are in need of bullpen help once the season starts.
11. Mason Hope
I’m higher on Mason Hope than most, but he’s still a decent prospect to look out for. The hurler is known for his command and, although he doesn’t blow hitters away, his stuff is most likely adequate enough to get a fair share of batters out as he progresses.
10. Jose Urena
Urena is a thin and wirey power arm with big league potential but is many years away from being major league ready. His command is spotty and his delivery is very inconsistent but the stuff is there. He’s going to take some time but the potential looks to be rather exciting.
9. Adam Conley
Although nothing stands out for the left-hander, Conely is advanced and features good enough stuff to potentially make a major league impact either in the rotation or the ‘pen. He might not rank this high in other organizations but the high pick in ’12 is the ninth best prospect in the Marlins’ system.
8. Austin Brice
We spoke with Brice last month, the righty with loads of potential and a chance to impact the Marlins greatly down the line. After changing his workout regimen last year, Brice was able to throw the ball harder and with more efficiency. His stuff is already plus, but projects to get better once he fills out and refines his delivery a bit more. If and when that happens, we could be talking about a very special prospect here, one that could reach the majors three or so years from now.
7. Marcell Ozuna
Arguably the most inconsistent prospect in minor league baseball, Ozuna is the typical all-or-nothing prospect. He has loads of power but strikes out a lot and doesn’t make good contact otherwise. Regardless, he has special bat speed and has some leverage, which is likely where all of his power comes from.
6. Noah Perio
Perio is an exciting young player who has managed to open up the eyes of scouts more and more as he’s progressed. Perio has a natural skill-set which consists of plus speed and instincts with nice bat speed and solid plate discipline. Although he’s a long way form being a finished product, he’s advanced and is one of the more athletic prospects in the Marlins system.
5. J.T. Realmuto
Although he was always seen as a guy with potential as a catcher, Realmuto came out of nowhere in 2011. It’s rare that you’ll find an actual catcher in the minors who can hit and projects to be solid defensively down the line, but J.T. Realmuto is exactly that. Power might be his best tool, but Realmuto has nice plate recognition and a strong arm, making him an even better prospect considering the position rarity.
4. Matt Dominguez
Arguably the most well known prospect in the system, the soft(ish) hitting third-baseman has yet to be given a chance at third-base. A mix of injuries and doubts from the Marlins’ front office has left the infielder with only a Triple-A job over the past couple of seasons. However, he still projects to have some impact value down the road but he’ll have to hit his way to a major league role.
3. Chad James
Although James hasn’t blown scouts away during his stint in the minors thus far, he still projects to be a solid #3 starter. James has a fastball from the left side that’s been known to be a problem for hitters to solve and he makes it even tougher when mixing in a fade-away change up.
2. Jose Fernandez
A unique assortment of pitches and the ability to blow hitters away makes this youngster as good a prospect as he is. He has loads of upside but already has scouts wowing. Fernandez’s fastball has nice tilt and cut, which is crazy considering he can throw it in the high 90′s. It’s unclear how Fernandez will progress in the system, because there are a few red flags, but either way he’s a definite prospect to keep an eye on.
1. Christian Yelich
Not only is Yelich an easy favorite for number one prospect in the Marlins’ system, he likely ranks among the top twenty in baseball. There isn’t a weak area of Yelich’s game and he’s only going to get better. All five of Yelich’s tools project to be above average (to say the least) once he reaches his upside, and when that happens that Marlins could have one of the best players in the game.