2014 Miami Marlins Top 10 Prospects

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Updated: January 24, 2014
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After a long delay – something measured in the months, not days -  I have a bit of an announcement to make: I will be publishing the first ever Prospect Digest Annual sometime late January/early February.

The Prospect Digest Annual will feature each organization’s Top 30 Prospects, ranking the farm systems, and several additional articles.

Until the big day happens, I will be posting each organization’s Top 10 Prospects, starting with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Enjoy!

For more Top Prospects click HERE

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1. Jake Marisnick, Position: CF, Age: 23

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

AA

298

150

.294

.358

.502

5.7%

22.8%

.208

13

3

12

11/17

MLB

118

29

.183

.231

.248

5.1%

22.9%

.064

2

1

1

3/4

Profile: And this, folks, is the wrong way to handle a prospect. Marisnick, who flopped during his first stint in Class AA in 2012 (in the Blue Jays organization), made it look easy his second time around, topping the league average production by 50%.

And the Marlins deemed it smart to push the then-22-year-old center fielder to the big leagues, despite his history of struggling mightily during first stints at a new level; he also struggled in his first go-round in low Class A in 2010.

Oh, you have a history of struggling at each level? I know! Let’s have one of our top prospects skip one level and jump straight to the bigs! Brilliant…

Let the record show that Marisnick batted .183/.231/.248 in 118 PA for the Marlins. Oops.

Analysis: Last season I wrote, “Marisnick has the tools to become an above-average big league regular .He’s typically shown average-ish walk rates, strong contact rates, above-average speed, and good pop. He was simply overmatched by the Eastern League competition, which isn’t all that surprising given his youth. He has a good build – 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds – so his power could take another step forward at some point.”

I’ve made the comp before, and I’ll do it again – Mark Kotsay, especially if Christian Yelich is given CF duties and Marisnick’s glove will play up in a corner spot. 

Ceiling: 4.0- to 4.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate to Above-Average

 

2. Andrew Heaney, Position: LHP, Age: 23

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A+

61.2

0.88

3.04

9.63

2.48

25.6%

25.6%

0.29

42.6%

AA

33.2

2.94

4.28

6.15

2.41

16.7%

16.7%

0.53

38.7%

 Profile: In what looks like one of the deeper drafts of the last decade, the Marlins grabbed Heaney with the ninth pick, making him the first collegiate southpaw taken. The former Oklahoma State ace took a huge developmental step forward during his junior season, going from a useful, replaceable swingman into a swing-and-miss, walking-limiting machine.

After throwing 27 innings in the lower levels during his debut, Heaney made the jump to the Florida State League last season, blowing away the competition to the tune of an impeccable 0.88 ERA and 66 punch outs in 61.2 innings. The 6-foot-2 southpaw was promoted to Class AA, the Southern League, for a brief six-game stint.

Analysis: Not quite ace material, Heaney, nonetheless, should be a very good big league pitcher, something along the lines of a #2/3. Not certain that his K-rate won’t regress as he further moves up the ladder, but the control is an above-average skill.

Ceiling: 4.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate to Above-Average

 

3. Colin Moran, Position: 3B, Age: 21

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A

175

127

.299

.354

.442

8.6%

14.3%

.143

8

1

4

1/1

Profile: At one point considered to a dark horse candidate for the first overall pick and almost looked like a lock to go to the Indians the fifth pick, Moran, instead, landed with Miami at pick #6.

A smooth, lefty-swinging third baseman with a history of continual development during his collegiate career at UNC, Moran hit .345/.470/.544 with 11 doubles, a trio of triples, and 13 homeruns during his final season. More importantly, however, his plate discipline went from pretty good to solid to downright impressive (25-to-63 strikeout-to-walk ratio).

Analysis: Pre-draft evaluation: “Moran, who was named Baseball America’s Freshman of the Year in 2011, is one of the premier collegiate bats this season, showing an elite strikeout-to-walk ratio and solid-average power. His uncle, on a side note, is former big league B.J. Surhoff.”

I continued, “Moran will find his way into the top of the first round and profiles as a solid-average big league bat, capable of hitting .280/.380/.460 with 20+ homerun potential, though I’d be interested in how he handles fellow southpaws.”

For the record, Moran held his own against the low Class A LHs – .267/.324/.433.

Ceiling: 4.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate to Above-Average

 

4. Adam Conley, Position: LHP, Age: 24

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

AA

138.2

3.25

3.48

8.31

2.40

22.1%

6.4%

0.45

43.4%

Profile: A nice little find in the second round three years ago, Conley spent the year in Class AA. In 138.2 innings, the 6-foot-3 southpaw punched out 129 and walked 37 while posting a nice 3.48 SIERA.

Analysis: It was a big year for Conley in terms of development. The southpaw showed an ability to sustain an above-average K-rate as he faced older hitters for the first time in his career. A solid, mid-rotation arm, something around a #3/4-type guy.

Ceiling: 2.5- to 3.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate to Above-Average

 

5. Justin Nicolino, Position: LHP, Age: 22

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A+

96.2

2.23

3.92

5.96

1.68

16.6%

4.7%

0.37

46.8%

AA

45.1

4.76

4.38

6.15

2.38

15.1%

5.9%

0.40

37.5%

Profile:  Build wise, Nicolino’s in the mold of fellow southpaws Andrew Heaney and Adam Conley. Results wise, well, the endgame is the same but the means of getting there is way different.

Nicolino, who stands 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, split his year between the Florida State and Southern Leagues, totaling just 95 strikeouts and 30 free passes in a career high 142.0 innings. For his career, the lanky lefty has averaged 7.9 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 to go along with a 3.28 SIERA.  

Analysis: Above-average or better control/command, easily the tops in the system. But I’m always hesitant when pitchers post well below-average strikeout numbers. Yes, there are been plenty of pitchers to succeed – Roy Halladay comes to mind – but the margin for error is so tiny. A #3/4-type arm.

Ceiling: 2.5- to 3.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate to Above-Average

 

6. Brian Flynn, Position: LHP, Age: 24

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

AA

23.0

1.57

2.31

9.78

1.17

28.7%

3.4%

0.78

41.4%

AAA

138.0

2.80

3.48

7.96

2.61

21.4%

7.0%

0.46

51.0%

Profile: Apparently the Marlins have an affinity for tall lefties. Flynn, acquired with Jacob Turner and Rob Brantley from Detroit in 2012 for Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante, is the tallest of the lot, coming in at Jolly Green Giant-esque 6-foot-7.

Sandwiched by four-game stints in the Class AA and the big leagues, Flynn spent the majority of the year in Class AAA where he punched out 122 and walked 40 in 138 innings of work.

Analysis: During last year’s rankings I concluded, “He could be a useful backend-type, capable of chewing up a ton of inning while posting a mid-4.0s ERA.” Still sticking by that assessment, maybe a touch better.

Flynn showed an average 90 mph fastball, but that plays up with his size.

Ceiling: 2.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Above-Average to Inevitable

 

7. Anthony DeSclafani, Position: RHP, Age: 24

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A+

54.0

1.67

2.83

8.83

1.50

24.8%

4.2%

0.50

48.3%

AA

75.0

3.36

3.47

7.44

1.68

20.4%

4.6%

0.84

44.6%

Profile: Another one of these extreme control guys in the Miami system, DeSclafani dominated high Class A (54 IP, 2.83 SIERA, 8.83 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9) and moved up to the Southern League where his numbers took a little bit of a hit.

Analysis: Another backend guy, maybe peaking as a fringy #3/good #4. Limited action in the rotation gives him a little more leeway.

Ceiling: 1.5- to 2.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate to Above-Average

 

8. Jose Urena, Position: RHP, Age: 22

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A+

149.2

3.73

3.84

6.43

1.74

17.3%

4.7%

0.48

47.7%

Profile: The right-handed version of Justin Nicolino, Urena pitched in the Florida State League last season, showing above-average control/command (again) and below-average strikeout rates (again).

Analysis: Pretty much what I said about Nicolino. Verbatim. Except Nicolino missed quite a few bats in the lower levels; Urena hasn’t.

Ceiling: 1.5- to 2.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low to Moderate

 

9. Trevor Williams, Position: RHP, Age: 22

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

RK

2.0

4.50

4.37

4.50

0.00

10.0%

0.0%

0.00

33.3%

A-

29.0

2.48

3.88

6.21

2.48

16.1%

6.5%

0.00

54.7%

A

3.0

0.00

2.03

9.00

0.00

27.3%

0.0%

0.00

50.0%

Profile: Truthfully, I never understood the pre-draft hype surround Williams, who has a history of success through a combination of low strikeout and walk rates but managed to find his way into the second round. And through his first 34.0 innings of pro ball, the numbers are pretty much par for the course – 6.4 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9.

Analysis: Pre-draft evaluation: “He pounds the zone and knows how to pitch, both of which will help him make it to the big leagues. But Williams is yet another one of those safe, low ceiling/high floor pitchers in the class. He’s very reminiscent of another former ASU hurler, Cincinnati’s Mike Leake. The ceiling, however, is very low because the production is rather blah.”

Outside of the Hemmingway-esque conclusion, he’s a potential big leaguer, just a rather blah one.

Ceiling: 1.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate to Above-Average

 

10. Colby Suggs, Position: RHP, Age: 22

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A-

8.0

1.13

1.58

12.38

2.25

39.3%

7.1%

0.00

57.1%

A+

18.1

3.93

3.42

12.76

6.87

32.9%

17.7%

0.00

46.2%

Profile: Just a reminder how the take-the-near-big-league-college-relievers-in-the-opening-rounds approach hasn’t changed in the last handful of years. Suggs, a second round pick last June, spent three years dealing out Arkansas bullpen, showing elite strikeout ability and some control – though not most.

Analysis: If he can rustle up some control Suggs could be a dominant, dominant big league reliever. And if I looked like Bradley Cooper I’d be able to find a date.

Ceiling: 1.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low

 

 

 

 

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