The Miami Marlins have been fairly criticized for not getting a better package of young players and prospects when they traded Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Emilio Bonifacio and Mark Buehrle for some entities that are probably completely unknown to the vast majority of people who attend Marlins games. The extreme approach of trading each and every one of their experienced productive players so quickly is understandably infuriating to fans of the Marlins baseball club. When you look at the big picture, however, the overall change of direction by Miami in 2012 might have been for the best. In the competitive National League East where the Nationals have emerged as a true powerhouse, Atlanta has assembled a well-rounded squad, and the Phillies remain dangerous, it may have been an exercise in good judgment for Miami to divest from trying to win now or anytime soon strategy, especially considering the returns in 2012.
Branch Rickey infamously told Ralph Kiner that the Pirates “finished last with you, we can finish last without you.” The Marlins have shed most of their bad investments, saving their money for another shot at contention when the timing is more appropriate. In the meantime, they assembled a solid collection of prospects and young players in those trades, including Jacob Turner, Justin Nicolino, Jake Marisnick, Henderson Alvarez, Derek Dietrich, Rob Brantly, Adeiny Hechavarria, and Nate Eovaldi. Along with Stanton, Jose Fernandez, and Christian Yelich, the Marlins may have created a solid foundation of young talent.
Another prospect that was caught by Miami in December during the Rule 5 draft was Alfredo Silverio. While Silverio is far from an elite prospect, he is yet another interesting piece that might be a part of a Miami reformulation – a cunning acquisition for a mere $50,000. As is well known, Silverio suffered a car accident last January in the Dominican Republic that caused him to miss the entire 2012 season after Tommy John surgery. Silverio was coming off his best season in the minors in the Southern League. Over 572 plate appearances, Silverio amassed 76 extra base hits including 18 triples and 16 home runs over 572 plate appearances in 2011. His 289 total bases were good enough to lead the Southern League in that category. His triple slash line was .306/.340/.542. Silverio played 81 games in center field and threw out 19 on the base paths. During the 2011 Futures Game, Silverio hit a home run off Drew Pomeranz in the sixth inning. Silverio is battling for a spot on the Marlins twenty-five man roster. After arriving at Marlins camp for a pre-spring training mini-camp, Silverio has gotten off to a decent start in spring training competition, hitting a home run and a double in his first nine at bats.
Looking at the readily available reports and profiles on Silverio, there are varying projections on his talent. Mike Newman provided a sound critique of Silverio’s swing that appears to be corroborated by the video included with Newman’s report from 2011. Silverio’s swing does seem, from the footage, to be stiff and out in front. On the bright side, Newman grades Silverio as a 65 base runner with the ability to steal more bases in the future. In terms of future productivity, Newman compares Silverio to Juan Encarnacion. Baseball Prospectus viewed Silverio as a solid outfielder with a plus arm. The main critique from BP was for his inability to layoff breaking balls out of the zone. BP ranked Silverio as the 7th best prospect in the Dodgers system going into last season. Baseball America was much more optimistic, ranking him 4th within the Dodgers system after 2011. BA noted his overly aggressive approach, but also cited Silverio for an ability to make adjustments.
The process of procuring talent outside of the obvious channels of super star free agents and the top of the first round of the amateur draft is what makes organizational development worth talking about. The developmental path of baseball players that includes some failure and deficiencies makes prospecting interesting. The future output for Silverio might never add up to much, but his statistical accomplishments and his diverse talents are compelling. The Marlins may not be executing the plan exactly as they should, but the decision to secure young talent like Silverio with minimal salary costs for several yeas was likely a wise one.