The 24th season for the Marlins baseball franchise did not go anything like they predicted. The future was cut short for the franchise ace Jose Fernandez on September 24, 2016 but he will never be forgotten. The Miami Marlins did finish third in the division where they were predicted to finish preseason but at the All-Star break they looked like they were headed for at least a chance for a Wild Card berth.
Don Mattingly’s team is not void of talent although the minor league system is not loaded by any stretch of the means. The outfield would have to be considered top 5 in all of baseball with Ozuna, Yelich and Stanton (if he can stay on the field for the whole year). The trio of outfielders smashed 71 HR, 248 RBI’s, and 209 runs scored. The infield is set for the upcoming year with double play combo Hechavarria and Gordon (30 SB in 346 AB), Prado was the model of consistency again last year, and Bour showed some pop with 15 homeruns in 321 AB. The surprise of the season to me was J.T. Realmuto. He showed vast improvement in the Average and OBP department while not sacrificing any power. His doubles increased by 10 and his HR count for the year was 11 with a .303 average. I will take that all year from my catcher. The rotation outside of Fernandez (RIP) did not offer much hope. Chen will lead the rotation this year and the rest of the guys will need to prove themselves to be healthy or to be a MLB starter. The bullpen looks better than the rotation. Ramos saved 40 games last year with 73 strikeouts in 64 innings but did have a 1.359 WHIP so he still has something left to prove but is well on his way. Phelps and Barraclough proved over 100 strikeouts each and the additions of Ziegler and Tazawa should help stabilize the rest of the bullpen.
Below is my top 50 for the Miami Marlins minor league organization. I am looking forward to your comments. I welcome any feedback and suggestions and my take is more from a fantasy baseball perspective.
Tier 1: Players with high expectations of both making the majors and playing at an All-Star level for a number of years
Tier 2: Players with an above average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 3: Players with an average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 4: Players who have the potential of making the majors, or have high likelihood of making the majors but providing minimal impact (e.g. middle reliever, low-ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players who are worth keeping an eye on, but likely to never make a team’s 40-man roster
None at this time
1. Braxton Garrett, LHP
Age: 19 (DOB: 8/5/1997)
The Miami Marlins first round pick in the 2016. He has 3 pitches in his current portfolio and his fastball sits around 88-93 MPH. His changeup needs a little work but at 19 years old he will have a couple of years to polish it up. He has a curveball that has been described as NASTY (in a good way). Garrett is tall, left-handed, athletic, and he has a repeatable delivery, 3/ arm slot, and excellent command leading many scouts to project him as a top of the rotation starter. He will needs some time in the minors but keep him on your radar he could move to the tier once category quickly.
2. Brian Anderson, 3B
Age: 23 (DOB 5/19/1993)
Anderson’s power is developing. He has a good bating eye leading to a good OBP. With a good showing in double A he should make an appearance in September. I project him to have similar numbers to the man currently manning the hot corner.
3. Luis Castillo, RHP
Age: 24 (DOB 12/12/1992)
Castillo has good fastball and his fastball sits in the high 90’s. He has a high ground ball rate and his slider is a great second offering. Not a lot of swing and miss stuff to his game but if he can keep the other team of balance then he could find success in the majors. He ended up in double A last year that’s where he should be heading to start the season.
Editor’s Note: Castillo traded to Cincinnati for Dan Straily on January 19
4. Jarlin Garcia, LHP
Age: 24 (DOB 1/18/1993)
Garcia is a southpaw that tosses his fastball in the low to mid 90’s. He has a respectable slider and shows solid command of all his pitches. Look for him to repeat double A and a move to the bullpen could be in his future depending on how he progresses.
5. Tyler Kolek, RHP
Age: 21 (DOB 12/15/1995)
Kolek the first round pick in 2014 spent 2016 recovering from TJ surgery. Kolek has a huge arm hitting the triple digits but he needed better control of his secondary offerings. In his first full year he lacked in strike out rate and his WHIP was 1.56. Scouts say he could be a #2 starter, I say let’s see how his recovery goes and reevaluate.
6. Thomas Jones, OF
Age: 19 (DOB 12/9/1997)
Jones showed good OBP in his brief 64 AB first season. The 2016 third round pick did notch 6 SB. He has the feel of a typical leadoff hitter as long as he can get on base and keep the caught stealing down. Look for him in A ball this year.
7. Austin Dean, OF
Age: 23 (DOB 10/14/1993)
Dean turned some doubles into homers from 15 to 16 but at the cost of OBP, lost stolen bases from 2015, if power can develop and strikeouts drop could be everyday LF. Should start the year in double A and could reach the bigs in September with a strong showing.
8. Stone Garrett, OF
Age: 21 (11/22/1995)
Garret saw his OBP drop in 2016, his power numbers dipped, and his strikeouts increase. This is a real pivotal year for his status as a prospect. He should start in A ball and he will have to prove that he can rebound from last year’s poor showing.
9. Austin Brice, RHP
Age 24 (DOB 6/19/1992)
Brice has strikeout per inning stuff as a RP in 15 game taste year, competing for spot in ST and could be set up man by mid-season, unless they send down to work on being a starter.
Editor’s Note: Brice traded to Cincinnati for Dan Straily on January 19
10. Cody Poteet, RHP
Age 22 (DOB 7/30/1994)
Poteet has close to strike out per inning stuff , 1.30 whip in 24 starts, has a deep arsenal and projects as a 4th or 5th starter. Should start the year out in A ball but if he can cut down on walks his prospect status could increase.
11. Tomas Telis, C
Age 25 (DOB 6/18/1991)
Realmuto’s back up, minor league career .331 OBP good contact hitter lacks power, good glove former SS. If given an everyday job could more then hold his own with the glove and would not be a liability with the stick.
12. Dillon Peters, LHP
Peters has good control of the zone, 1.08 whip in 2015, craft pitcher if he can harness his stuff could be a 3 or 4 starter in the bigs but time will tell his future.
13. Isael Soto, OF
Age 20 (DOB 11/2/1996)
Soto improved his walks but more improvement needed, average is low needs to cut down on SO, plus raw power that could develop when matures. High ceiling if he can fix some flaws.
14. Jeff Brigham, RHP
Age 24 (DOB 2/16/1992)
Brigham has a high whip 1.41 career, 112 so to 47 bb but should improve the further away from TJ he gets. Predicting to be a 4th or 5th starter.
15. Brett Lilek, LHP
Age 23 (DOB 8/23/1993)
If Lilek can get over the injury issues he could be a diamond in the rough, big year for him this year to see if he will remain as a starter or move to the pen, has the stuff needed to be a productive SP 3-5th starter potential ceiling, floor left specialist.
16. Avery Romero, 3B
Age 23 (DOB 5/11/1993)
Romero reached Double A in 2016 but still not improving in OBP, needs big year or may be utility player in the bigs.
17. Corey Bird, OF
Age 21 (DOB 8/11/1995)
Bird had 16 Sb in 219 at bats. Needs to improve OBP and average but didn’t show much power with zero home runs and only 6 doubles. Could develop into a typical leadoff hitter.
18. Sean Reynolds, OF
Age 18 (DOB 4/19/1998)
Reynolds has big time power potential capable of tape measure home runs, needs to shorten his swing but talent is present, may convert to pitcher if can’t get swing. Beware he did have 64 strikeouts in 148 at bats.
19. Drew Steckenrider, RHP
Age 26 (DOB 1/10/1991)
Steckenrider should battle for bullpen spot in ST, in 2016 had 71 SO to 19 walks .85 whip, struggled a little in AAA but has look of a MLB closer but could pitch this year as set-up man later in the season.
20. Justin Jacome, LHP
Age 23 (DOB 10/19/1993)
Jacome has a high whip 1.41 career. He had 47 strikeouts to 36 BB in 2016. He will be headed back to Single A to lower his walks and increase his strikeouts.
21. Jordan Holloway, RHP
Age 20 (DOB 6/13/1996)
Holloway had a high whip 1.67 in 48IP starter but also had 41 srikeouts, still developing his pitching motion and should adjust this year
22. Roy Morales, C
Age21 (DOB 6/25/1995)
Morales showed good OBP skills. The power should come with further development. Catchers generally take a little longer because of the defensive requirements.
23. Jake Esch, RHP
Age 26 (DOB 3/27/1990)
Esch got the call in 16, 3 games started, 13 IP, 10 strikeouts, 6 BB with a 1.77 whip. He has a career WHIP of 1.32 in MILB. He will be competing in ST and may end up in te been or back in Triple A for further development.
24. John Norwood, OF
Age 24 (DOB 9/24/1992)
Norwood improved OBP but power went down, still 20+ doubles power should come back, Strikeouts are high, will need to limit those but could be 20/20 guy (high ceiling) or 4th our 5th OF.
25. Raudel Lazo, LHP
Age 27 (DOB 4/12/1989)
Lazo has a career 1.11 whip as RP in minors performed well in 2015 when called up, could battle for bullpen spot in ST.
26. Tayron Guerrero, RHP
Age 26 (DOB 1/9/1991)
Guerrero working as a RP averaging a strikeout per IP in minor league career, has 2 innings to his credit as a RP in the show, could battle for RP spot in ST
27. Isaiah White, OF
Age 20 (DOB 1/7/1997)
OBP declined, SB declined, AVG declined, strikeouts increased but still young and has tools to rebound and raise his prospect status.
Editor’s Note: White traded to Cincinnati for Dan Straily on January 19
28. Yefri Perez, OF
Age 25 (DOB 2/24/1991)
Perez has sb ability, 197 SB in minors, will compete in ST for backup OF spot.
29. Garvis Lara, SS
Age 20 (5/19/1996)
2016 was real cruel year for Lara. Let’s see what this year has in store, scouts believe he could be an everyday SS but health may be the key.
30. Edward Cabrera, RHP
Age 18 (4/13/1998)
Really young, still tossed to a 1.36 whip in first pro-ball action. I would like to see more than 28 strikeouts and lower ERA (4.21) in 47 IP.
31. Jhonny Santos, OF
Age 20 (DOB 10/2/1996)
Santos’s OBP regressed in 2016, no power and SB declined but he is still young and has time to turn it around.
32. Justin Cohen, DH
Age 20 (DOB 9/26/1996)
Cohen has good OBP but still a small sample size. Look for a full year of AB to see development if he is afforded he AB from the club.
33. Justin Twine, 2B
Age 21 (DOB 10/7/1995)
Twin showed slight improvement in OBP, may have a little pop for MI, decent speed, must cut down on SO and continue to improve OBP to become relevant in the prospect world.
34. James Nelson, 3B
Age 19 (DOB 10/18/1997)
Nelson had solid start .344 OBP with 10 doubles and 7 steals in 162 AB.
35. Aaron Knapp, OF
Age 22 (DOB 11/4/1994)
Knapp had a .339 OBP in 1st year of pro-ball with 19 SB but caught 7 times. Strikeouts are a little alarming but another solid year will move him up this list.
36. Jarett Rindfleisch, C
Age 21 (DOB 9/4/1995)
Rindlefleisch showed some great plate discipline with a .371 OBP in first taste of pro-ball. Power should develop but definitely worth keeping tabs on in 2017.
37. Luis Pintor, 2B
Age 21 (DOB 6/6/1995)
In his first taste of action Pintor put together solid OBP (.344) and showed some decent speed with 7 SB in 109 at bats.
38. J.J. Gould, 3B
Age 23 (DOB 8/22/1993)
Gould showed some power with 9 Hr and 15 doubles in 238 ab. Average and OBP need improvement to get to the next level.
39. Walker Olis, OF
Age 22 (DOB 5/4/1994)
Olis had 18 stolen bases in 199 at bats. He also showed his batting eye with a .345 OBP. He should start out in A ball again and if he can improve his average should be moving up the prospect list.
40. Parker Bugg, P
Age 22 (DOB 10/26/1994)
Used as RP and in first year had a great whip (.91) and also went 4 for 4 in saves.
41. Preston Guillory, RHP
Age 23 (8/16/1993)
Averaged about a strikeout per inning, and had a stellar whip in rookie ball but in A ball that whip jumped. Guillory did go 3 for 3 in save opportunities.
42. Colby Lusignan, 1B
Age 24 (DOB 11/15/1992)
Lusignan had great rookie ball numbers but awful in A short. If he replicates that .422 OBP in A ball this year and adds some pop he will make the elite prospect status.
43. Branden Berry, DH
Age 23 (DOB 5/19/1993)
Started off strong but the move to A(short) slowed him down. If he can replicate his .402 and add some power numbers he will be on the move through the organization.
44. Trenton Hill, LHP
Age 22 (DOB 3/10/1994)
Hill’s first taste of proball was solid averaging close to a strike out per inning, but mainly used in relief.
45. Sam Perez, RHP
Age 22 (DOB 8/17/1994)
Perez had a good showing in first taste of pro ball low whip 1.16 started half of the games.
46. J.T. Riddle, SS
Age 25 (10/12/1991)
Riddle needs improvement on OBP, avg around .275 not much speed, double type power depending on what he can add in the muscle dept., many scouts view as a utility player.
47. Shane Sawczak, LHP
Age 21 (DOB 11/20/1995)
Swaczak started strong but when called up got hammered in 2 IP in rp. Overall in first taste of pro-ball he pitched 34.2 innings with a 1.33 WHP.
48. Eric Gutierrez, 1B
Age 23 (DOB 12/28/1993)
Gutierrez showed some power with 12 doubles and 5 HR in 200 ab, OBP and AVG need work.
49. Alejandro Mateo, RHP
Age 23 (1/8/1994)
Mateo was used as a RP in his first taste of pro-ball. 33 strikeouts in 34.1 innings suggest that he may have some ability.
50. Zachary Daly, OF
Age 23 (DOB 12/13/1993 0
Daly was selected in round 37 of the 2016 draft and he makes the list as number 50 on the marlins top 50 prospects. Daly had 7 SB in 109 Ab but low average and OBP also did hit a couple HR, potential is there but more of a long term project.