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2012 Arizona Fall League Delegates: Miami Marlins

This year we decided as a staff to preview each of the team’s preliminary assignments to the 2012 AFL and our goal is to tackle each of the 30 organizations over the next 7-10 days. We hope you will follow along with us, check in several times each day and enjoy reading what we come up with. If you’re not familiar with the eligibility rules or how the rosters are constructed just click here to brush up.

Yesterday I covered the six Atlanta Braves ticketed for AFL action while Brian, Robbie and Ryne chipped in by breaking down the Diamondbacks, Reds and Cubs respectively. Today it’s time to take a look at the six members of the Miami Marlins that will be playing for the Phoenix Desert Dogs in October and November.

*Stats listed below do not include games played on 8/31/2012

LHP – Grant Dayton (24) – Marlins 2010 11th Round Pick

2012 – Jupiter: 2.10 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 48 H, 18 BB and 71 SO in 60.0 IP
2012 – Jacksonville: 5.06 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 12 H, 2 BB and 14 SO in 10.2 IP

Dayton pitched as a starter collegiately at Auburn University but the lefty has been used almost exclusively since turning pro. It’s hard to argue with the decision since he’s been outstanding in that role with strong peripherals to boot. Dayton’s performance hasn’t been a mirage as his arsenal includes a fastball that sits in the low to mid 90s and an excellent slider. He also has a decent changeup that has potential but he doesn’t use it often, especially pitching out of the pen. He’s been knocked around a bit since he was promoted to Double-A but his SO and BB rates continue to be excellent and with a larger sample size his numbers should improve.

LHP – Brian Flynn (22) – Tigers 2011 7th Round Pick

2012 – Lakeland: 3.71 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 113 H, 32 BB and 84 SO in 102.0 IP
2012 – Erie: 9.00 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, 8 H, 2 BB and 3 SO in 5.0 IP
2012 – Jacksonville: 3.92 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 42 H, 13 BB and 27 SO in 39.0 IP

Flynn came to the Marlins as a part of the July 23rd trade that also landed Jacob Turner and Rob Brantly. At 6’8″ and 239 pounds, he cuts an imposing figure on the mound and he has a mid-90s fastball to match. What he lacks however are viable secondary pitches to keep hitters off-balance. Despite good movement on his heater, more advanced hitters are able to put good swings on him and knock him around. That’s borne out by the stats as he’s allowed more than a hit per inning at all of his stops this season and he doesn’t miss as many bats as he should. Lefties with his size and fastball don’t come around often so it’s completely understandable why the Marlins had some interest in him but there are a lot of developmental rough edges that need to be polished for him to live up to his potential. He’s the type of prospect that could wind up with an ugly stat line at the end of the AFL season but still come away having made significant progress.

RHP – Scott McGough (22) – Dodgers 2011 5th Round Pick

2012 – Rancho Cucamonga: 3.99 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 45 H, 26 BB and 48 SO in 47.1 IP
2012 – Jupiter: 3.45 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 18 H, 3 BB and 8 SO in 15.2 IP

Another trade acquisition, McGough, and fellow right-handed starter Nate Eovaldi, joined the Marlins on July 25 when Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate were sent to Los Angeles. Eovaldi was clearly the prize of that trade for Miami as McGough is a fairly replaceable asset. He’s a bullpen arm that typically sits in the lower 90s with his fastball though he can run it up as high as 95 or 96 on occasion. His slider is his other weapon and it can be a strikeout pitch though it probably grades out at best as an above average offering rather than plus. He turned in a nice 26.0 inning stretch in the Midwest League last season but beyond that it’s hard to get a read on him at this point. The move from the California to the Florida State League helps his stat line, though curiously FSL hitters have hit for a better average off McGough than those in the CAL. Of course beyond that the universe rights itself as his opponents OBP and SLG have dropped since he’s move to a more pitcher friendly league. He may surprise in the coming seasons but he strikes me as a run of the mill middle reliever prospect. Teams are always looking for bullpen help, and turn over many rocks in their search, so it’s not out of the question that McGough will pitch in the majors some day but I don’t see him having a great deal of success or job stability if he gets there.

C – Jacob Realmuto (21) – Marlins 2010 3rd Round Pick

2012 – Jupiter: 0.259/.322/.351, 16 2B, 8 HR, 13 SB, 37 BB and 62 SO in 485 PA

A high school QB on the gridiron and SS on the diamond, the Marlins immediately moved Realmuto behind the plate after selecting him in the 2010 draft. He’s taken to the position quickly and was named the best defensive catcher in the Florida State League this year. Realmuto’s slash stats are down after hitting 0.287/.347/.454 with Greensboro in 2011, but he has shown improvement in his approach. He’s dropped his K rate nearly 8% (from 20.5% to 12.8%) and has slightly increased his walk rate while playing at a higher level this year. He’s moved steadily and profiles as an everyday catcher with above average speed, arm and defense, and could be an asset at the plate with average power potential and hitting ability.

OF – Kyle Jensen (24) – Marlins 2009 12th Round Pick

2012 – Jacksonville: 0.228/.336/.448, 21 2B, 1 3B, 23 HR, 1 SB, 68 BB and 159 SO in 503 PA

Jensen put together solid offensive performances in each of his first three seasons and had his best of the bunch in 2011 with a 0.309/.385/.535 line in 109 games as a member of the Jupiter Hammerheads. He was named the FSL MVP and earned a 21 game stint in Double-A to close out the year. This year Jensen has struggled but his raw power continues to shine through. The red flags are his 463 SO in 439 minor league games and the fact that 31.7% of his plate appearances this season end by way of the strikeout. Southern League pitchers have exploited the holes in his swing for most the year but after not hitting better than 0.235 in any single month he was hitting 0.314/.398/.714 during the month of August prior to Friday nights game. He runs quite well for his size (6’4″ 230 lb) and while he’s not going to be a significant asset defensively, he’s not a liability either. The fall league environment will work to his advantage and he has a knack for hammering mistake pitches that come his way so he figures to emerge from the AFL with a lot of helium. So much so, in fact, that he is a dark horse to take home the 2012 AFL MVP award.

Miami's top-prospect heading into the season, Christian Yelich has not disappointed. (Photo Credit: Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE)

OF – Christian Yelich (20) – Marlins 2010 1st Round Pick (23rd Overall)

2012 – GCL Marlins: 1-4
2012 – Jupiter: 0.321/.395/.510, 29 2B, 4 3B, 12 HR, 19 SB, 47 BB and 84 SO in 434 PA

Yelich entered the season ranked as the Marlins top prospect by Baseball America and a slew of other sources that did rankings. He made it on to the S2S 2012 Top-100 at #94, and Nathaniel (who did the list) admitted that it was a very conservative ranking at the time. In a nutshell, Yelich has been simply fantastic for the second season in a row and has slightly improved his slash stats across the board – compared to last season – despite moving from the SAL to the FSL. Aside from his arm, has plus or above average tools across the board and unlike most prospects that you can say that about, Yelich has been turning potential into production in each of his first two full minor league seasons. Jensen may be an AFL MVP dark horse, but Yelich has to be considered one of the early front runners for the honor.

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For more on the Miami Marlins, check out Marlin Maniac!

Topics: Brian Flynn, Christian Yelich, Grant Dayton, Jacob Realmuto, Kyle Jensen, Miami Marlins, Scott McGough

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