The first thing you need to know about The Fish Watch is that it’s not a list of sleepers. It is instead a list of players at various points in their respective minor league journeys that for one reason or another have piqued my interest enough that I am watching their development more closely than the bulk of prospects out there. To read more about this project, check out the introduction and master list.
Obviously since the season is over and some teams have had two updates, some have only had one and the NL West teams have had zero coverage thus far, this project did not work out as I had planned on many levels. Undeterred I’m going to sally forth and finish off this round of updates and call it good. Next season if I attempt this again I’m going to have to make some major changes to the structure, plan and concept of this series.
Feel free to check out the category archive to read previous installments of the series.
Miami Marlins (S2S 2012 Marlins Team Prospect List)
LHP – Charlie Lowell (21) – Marlins 2011 6th Round Pick
2011 – GCL Marlins/Jamestown: 16.20 ERA, 2.70 WHIP, 5 H, 4 BB and 6 SO in 3.1 IP
2012 – Jupiter: 1.80 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 4 H, 1 BB and 5 SO in 5.0 IP
2012 – Greensboro: 4.35 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 90 H, 59 BB and 117 SO in 109.2 IP
In total, Lowell had a solid first full season as a professional. Granted, his 4.8 BB/9 is a bit elevated, and this is certainly an area that he will need to focus on in 2013 but he limited hitters in the SAL to a 0.224/.335/.329 line and excellent 7.4 H/9. He also struck out over a batter per inning on the year (9.6 SO/9) and essentially maintained that rate during each month of season.
While the overall ERA doesn’t exactly grab anyone’s attention, Lowell had flashes of complete dominance, including two starts during July that were, by my estimation, two of the best six turned in by any pitcher at any level during the month. He was at his best during the middle of the season putting together a 3.36 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 89-37 SO-to-BB in 77.2 IP from May 1st through July 31st.
As a live-armed lefty, Lowell is certainly a prospect to watch in 2013. If he can cut his walk rate, even just a little, and further refine his potentially plus slider he could be in for a big breakout year that will presumably kick off in the FSL.
RHP – Austin Brice (20) – Marlins 2010 9th Round Pick
Lowell’s rotation mate with Greensboro, Brice had a remarkably similar season finishing with an identical ERA in the exact same number of innings. Brice finished with a more bloated 5.6 BB/9 but that is actually a sign of significant progress as he dropped it 0.5 BB/9 relative to what he did in the GCL in 2011 as a 19-year old.
For the second straight season he finished with a strikeout rate above 10.0 per nine innings, which is a testament to his stuff. He was victimized by the long ball – 13 HR allowed – but the root cause of that is the same underlying cause of his elevated walk rates. He simply hasn’t quite learned how to harness his arsenal, but he certainly showed progress in some key areas while pitching in full season ball for the first time in his three year career.
He should move up with Lowell to high-A Jupiter to open 2013 and could also be on the cusp of a breakthrough season in his own right.
OF – Jesus Solorzano (22) – Signed out of Venezuela as a NDFA on June 29th, 2009
Since making his pro debut back in 2009, Solorzano has shown steady improvement at the plate. He’s pushed his OPS from 0.714 in 2010 to 0.809 to 0.894 this past season. His athleticism and natural strength should allow for continued development in the power department and he already possesses both plus speed and a plus arm.
In terms of his monthly splits, the progress he made in season really jumps out. Solorzano started off sluggishly with a 0.227/.292/.409 line in 11 June games but from there kicked up his production each month. In August he hit 0.387/.459/.629 and followed that up by going 7-16 in five September games. Not only did his slash stats surge as the season wore on, his SO and BB rates also showed steady improvement.
Solorzano has a tantalizing potential skill-set and it looks like he’s well on his way to turn more of his potential into performance in coming season. The only potential concern here is that it took him a while to get out of rookie ball, but in spending his age-21 season in the New York-Penn League, he was close to the league average age of his peers (21.1 years old). Assuming he moves up to Greensboro, where the league average age of position players was 21.7 in 2012, he will still be behind the curve, but just by a bit. This is understandable since international signees often take a little longer to get their bearings and start producing.
For more on the Miami Marlins, check out Marlin Maniac!