On what would normally be a relatively hum-drum Monday afternoon, the surprise-contender Miami Marlins have announced a flurry of roster moves, including the big league promotion of a pair of elite prospects.
Left-hander Andrew Heaney, right-hander Anthony Descalfini, outfielder Jake Marisnick, and first baseman Justin Bour will all join Miami for tonight’s home game against in Chicago. Making space for the new arrivals, the Marlins designated veteran starters Randy Wolf and Kevin Slowey for assignment while sending lineup mainstays Christian Yelich and Jarrod Sattlamachia to the disabled list.
The best and third best prospects in Miami’s system according to both Baseball America and MLB.com, Heaney and Marisnick are the most noteworthy of the call ups.
Heaney, who is making his first trip to the show, had been on a tear in the minors. The 23 year old went 4-2 with a 2.35 ERA with Double-A Jacksonville before posting a 2.74 ERA and striking out well over a batter per inning through four Triple-A starts. Baseball’s 25th overall prospect, by MLB.com’s standards, will make his major league debut thursday against the Mets.
Marisnick, by contrast, has some major league experience under his belt, getting a cup of coffee last summer, but has had remarkably less success this season. Playing in the hitter-friendly Triple-A Pacific Coast League, Marisnick posted a mediocre .264/.306/.404 line with 6 home runs in 250 at bats. Never the most patient of batters, he drew but 10 walks.
Christian Yelich had been one of the best young hitters in Miami’s lineup before his back injury and while its unlikely that Marisnick can match his offensive production, he may be able to compensate with his glove. Defense is the best part of the 23 year old’s game, drawing universal acclaim from scouts, and he would be an above-average fielder in center, a gold-glove quality one in the left.
Heaney, meanwhile, should have little trouble replicating the performance of the now departed Randy Wolf. The veteran journeyman turned in a lackluster performance – 1-3, 5.26 ERA – before he was removed from the roster and Heaney is projected by the sabemetric calculator ZIPs to pitch to a 3.92 ERA at the game’s highest level. Considering the young starter’s minor league success this season, his number 1/number 2 starter potential, and the spacious confines of Marlins Park, he could even outperform that.
A far lesser prospect, Anthony Descalfino will join the Marlins bullpen. Descalfino already had a brief tour with the Marlins this season, going 1-1 in two May starts before returning to Triple-A. The 26 year old Justin Bour, meanwhile, was only just demoted last Wednsday after a four game stint with the major league club. He posted a .982 OPS in his very short tenure and had a dominating .330/.404/.580 line in Triple-A before today’s announcement.