Name: Jake Marisnick
Organization: Blue Jays
Notable 2011 Stats: .320/.392/.496 with 27 2B, 6 3B, 14 HR, 91/43 K/BB, and 37-for-45 SB in 118 games with Lansing (A)
Why He’s This High: Marisnick had showed flashes of talent in the two years since his drafting in the third round of 2009, but he broke out in 2011 in Low-A as a 20-year-old.
In a lot of ways, he’s similar to #48 prospect Rymer Liriano–entering the year, his talent was unquestioned, but his past performance brought mixed results, and then he tore up the Midwest League in 2011, showing all five tools. He showed a much better approach than he did in his first try at the league (34 games in 2010), upping his walk rate from 6.3% to 8.2% while dropping his strikeouts from 25.9% to 17.4%. He also exhibited an emerging power stroke, and his big frame suggests more pop is on the way. Meanwhile, he stole 37 bases while getting caught just eight times and also playing a very solid center field.
Marisnick is somewhat comparable to former Blue Jays outfielder Alex Rios, in that he’s a very tall but athletic outfielder with solid power. If he puts on a bunch of weight, he’ll likely slide to right field and lose some of his speed, but add a lot more power; if he doesn’t, he should be a good, rangy center fielder with speed and gap power.
Why He’s This Low: Marisnick could still stand to walk a bit more, and it remains to be seen how much over-the-fence power he’ll have. Beyond that, he’s got the same issue as Liriano, from a statistical perspective–his previous inconsistencies and sheer distance from the majors mean that he’ll need a repeat performance to put him in the top-20/25 discussion.
Obviously, if he does fill out and move to right field, Marisnick will need to add power and not just weight; don’t take the one as assuring the other–players like Ryan Sweeney (and, to some extent, Rios) prove that a big frame doesn’t always translate to big pop.
Conclusions: Marisnick has top-25 talent and he just had a big year, but he’s still got a short track record of success and a lot of distance between his current level and the big leagues. By the time he reaches the majors, he could be considered one of the top prospects in the game, but for now, he’ll need to spend 2012 proving he can continue to show some control of the strike zone against more advanced pitchers, and, preferably, clearing a few more fences. If he can keep his production intact up through Double-A, he’ll have a strong case for the top right-handed hitting outfield prospect in the game by year’s end.
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