Despite the graduation and Rookie-of-the-Year-ness of Jose Fernandez in 2013, the Miami Marlins still have a deep minor league system with several players closing in on the major league team in 2014. The club has excelled in drafting/signing pitching prospects and developing them and there are several more coming soon with the potential to impact the major league team for years to come (until they’re traded for more prospects). If you love watching minor league systems, the Miami Marlins are a great club to follow. If you love watching the big league team then, maybe you shouldn’t get too attached to some of these guys.
Thanks go out to Ehsan Kassim at Marlin Maniac for help with the list. Note: the original list provided included Carter Capps who has exceeded the maximum major league innings limit to be rookie-eligible and therefore is no longer considered a prospect. The original also did not include Jake Marisnick who still has his rookie eligibility and, therefore, will be included here.
Ehsan provided us with an interesting list that didn’t include the Marlins’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year Anthony DeSclafani who has been making Top 10 lists at Fangraphs and Baseball America.
Triple-A: New Orleans Zephyrs (Pacific Coast League)
Double-A: Jacksonville Suns (Southern League)
High-A: Jupiter Hammerheads (Florida State League)
Class-A: Greensboro Grasshoppers (South Atlantic League)
Short-Season A: Batavia Muckdogs (New York-Penn League)
Complex-Rookie: GCL Marlins (Gulf Coast League)
Brent Keys – OF
Date of Birth: July 14, 2990
Height/Weight: 6’1″/210 lbs
Acquired: 17th round of the 2009 draft
|2013||22||2 Teams||2 Lgs||A+-AA||MIA||103||472||413||60||141||14||0||2||33||14||9||51||29||.341||.415||.390||.804|
Analysis: Keys exploded on the prospect radar in 2012, winning a batting title in the South Atlantic League and continuing his momentum with Jupiter in the Florida State League and in the Arizona Fall League in 2013. While he has almost no power, the speedy outfielder has some great instincts wherever he’s put in the outfield. The Marlins have been playing him mostly in left field but he played about a third of his games in center. While he hasn’t made a serious attempt at Double-A yet, his contact abilities and patience at the plate would make a the 2013 Marlins’ Minor League Player of the Year a key top-of-the-order hitter despite the lack of power traditional from a corner outfield position.
2014 Prognosis: At least a half-season in Double-A Jacksonville is in the cards.
J.T. Realmuto – C
Date of Birth: March 18, 1991
Height/Weight: 6’1″/205 lbs
Acquired: 3rd round of the 2010 draft
Analysis: While Realmuto’s batting average and OBP dipped in 2013, he had a strong season defensively, catching 34% of potential base stealers. Scouts like his athletic ability and his skill at hitting the ball solidly means that he’s likely to improve with the bat and some writers think he can be an every day catcher in the major leagues.
2014 Prognosis: Marc Hulet of Fangraphs thinks that Realmuto starts 2014 in Triple-A with a chance to get the majors sometime this season.
Austin Brice – RHP
Date of Birth: June 19, 1992
Height/Weight: 6’4″/205 lbs
Acquired: 9th round of the 2010 draft
Analysis: Brice impresses scouts with his low-to-mid 90s fastball but his control continues to be a problem. With 82 walks in 113 innings, Brice is having trouble locating not only his fastball but his curve and change as well. Jonathan Mayo thinks that he can get a handle on his control and his strikeout numbers show the overall potential of his stuff. He could still be a middle-rotation starter in a best-case scenario.
2014 Prognosis: While his 2013 wasn’t very good in Class-A Greensboro, Brice will likely move up to Jupiter in 2014 to try to rack up some more innings in a more challenging environment.
Austin Barnes – C
Date of Birth: December 28, 1989
Height/Weight: 5’10″/190 lbs
Acquired: 9th round of the 2011 draft
|2013||23||2 Teams||2 Lgs||A+-AA||MIA||117||491||412||52||112||17||3||5||45||5||2||64||69||.272||.379||.364||.743|
Analysis: While Barnes has been able to play two key positions (second base and catcher), I’ve only listed him as a catcher because he spent almost all of his time in the field behind the plate in 2013. His defensive numbers are not the best, throwing out only 23% of potential base stealers between High-A Jupiter and Double-A Jacksonville. Primarily a contact hitter with a little bit of gap power, Barnes gets on base a lot and doesn’t strike out very much which helps make him valuable to any team he’s on.
2014 Prognosis: A full season in Double-A is likely in the cards for Barnes. Which position he plays will be up to the Marlins.
Avery Romero – 2B
Date of Birth: May 11, 1993
Height/Weight: 5’11″/195 lbs
Acquired: 3rd round of the 2012 draft
|2013||20||2 Teams||2 Lgs||A–A||MIA||65||275||243||32||67||19||0||3||35||3||4||19||39||.276||.341||.391||.732|
Analysis: Romero is another line-drive hitter in the Marlins’ system. He had a very strong season in his second pro year, hitting almost .300 with the Short-Season A Batavia Muckdogs in his Age-20 season. He’s undergoing a conversion from shorstop and third base to second base and is showing some good defense at the keystone position. He’s got some gap power and, if he continues to put up high OBPs, could be a valuable player at the top of a lineup.
2014 Prognosis: Romero will start in Greensboro to get a taste of full-season ball.