14 March 2012
Just like last year the Marlins do not have a whole lot of depth in their farm league. In the MLB rankings of the top 100 prospects only Christian Yelich (#35) and Matt Dominguez (#87) are the only Marlins on the list. Over the past few seasons the Marlins have seen most of their top prospects rise to the Major League level, this has left the Marlins with a list of top prospects who for the most part are a few years away from being Major League ready. Also it should be noted for this list I did take Jose Ceda out of the top 10 because he should be in the Marlins bullpen on Opening day.
1. Christian Yelich (OF)- The highest rated Marlins player on the MLB.com Top 100 prospect list looks as though he could be another star outfielder for the Marlins in the not too distant future. The former 1st baseman has played bother left field and center in the minor leagues and could be ready to join the Fist during fall call ups in 2014. He is another left handed bat, which the Marlins desperately need, and has the ability to hit to all fields and as he builds strength he should be a 20-25 home runs a year guy in the Majors, while also being able to hit for average as well. In the field he has a good amount of speed so he can cover a good amount of space and he has pretty good instincts for playing the field. The only draw back is he does not have a strong enough arm to be an everyday center fielder, so he is projected right now to be a let fielder and hit in the third spot. Yelich could eventually make Logan Morrison, another first-to-left conversion project, expendable. For now, though, he’ll move up to high-A ball but could see double-A by the end of the season.
2. Jose Fernandez (RHP)- The Cuban native who played his high school in Tampa was the Marlins 1st round pick in 2011. Right now his stuff is still pretty raw as you would expect. He has a 93-94 mph fastball and 3 off speed pitches (change-up, curveball, slider) that need some fine tuning, mostly on his accuracy. Frenandez is a big right hander, but some believe that he is going to need to watch his weight and conditioning as he matures. He played competitive ball in Cuba as a member of the Cuban national junior team so he already has some high-level experience. He should start off the 2012 season in low-A and projects out to being a No. 2 starter.
3. Marcel Ozuna (OF)- Ozuna is a right fielder who projects out to come to the Majors the same time as Yelich. Unlike Yelich he does not project to hit for average like Yelich, only expected to hit .260-.270, but he could average 30 home runs a season during his prime. He has a tendency to go outside the strike zone and will need to work on his place discipline. He has a strong arm and is very athletic, and should be fine staying in right field. People believe that Ozuna could have an extremely high ceiling and is expected to split time this year between high-A and double-A.
4. JT Realmuto (C)- Realmuto is really starting to come into his own as a catcher. He was a high school shortstop who the Marlins moved to catcher to take advantage of his strong arm. He is athletic, has good speed, and thre out more than 40% of runners in 2011 and has a pop up time that is sub 2.0 seconds, though at times he is still a little rough around the edges. His biggest draw back is that he is overly aggressive at the plate, but if he can control that tendency he should be able to hit for average with some power. Realmuto will move up to high-A to begin 2012 and seems to have leapfrogged Kyle Skipworth was the Marlins catcher of the future.
5. Matt Dominguez (3B)- Dominguez had every chance a player could ask for last spring to win the starting third baseman job for the Marlins, and he was unable to win the spot. No one questions Dominguez's ability to play third, and most scouts still believe that he can be an everyday player in the big leagues, but his stock is falling fast. It is his struggles from the plate that is keeping him down. His failure to recognize pitches and lack of discipline over shadows what power he does have at the plate. He is the only other Marlin on the MLB Top 100 list, but his future with the team does not look good. With Hanley Ramirez moved to third base and Jose Reyes at shortstop, he is blocked from advancing to the big leagues, and a change of scenery maybe the best thing for this potential future gold glover.
6. Chad James (LHP)- James is a solid pitching prospect with a fastball around 90-91 and occasionally jumping to the mid 90s and a good change up. He does need some time to work on his other pitchers. His slider does not have enough break on it, while his curve has so much spin it is unpredictable. James finished last year with a 5-14 record in single-A, but that had more to do with the poor play of his teammates than his play on the mound. Last year he had a 3.80 ERA with 124 strikeouts and 54 walks. Look for him to start 2012 in single-A and possible move up to double-A at some point this season.
7. Rob Rasmussen (LHP)- Views on Rasmussen seem to very greatly. Some people think he is a pretty good prospect, while others see him as nothing more than a future middle reliever. Ramussan has four pitches (93 mph fastball, a solid curve, slider, and change-up which seems to be by far his weakest pitch) but he needs to work on his location. When Rasmussen misses his pitches he tends to leave them up in the zone to the batter delight. Still he has time to mature as he was just in rookie ball last year and will be in the New York Penn League this year.
8. Adam Conley (LHP)- Conley was an inconsistent player in college, but seems to be able to fine consistent good stuff when he is coming out of the bullpen, which has caused some in the organization to disagree on what to do with him. Their are those who believe he could advance quickly threw the minor leagues if he stays in the bull pen while other wist to try and keep him as a starter. At his best Conley can sit at 92-95 mph with his four-seam fastball while sinking it at 88-90 mph. Conley lacks a real out-pitch and also has a funky delivery, but it seems to work as he does hide the ball and he is able to repeat the motion with consistency.
9. Noah Perio (2B)- Just like Dan Uggla was for the Marlins Perio is an offense first second baseman prospect, who was room for improvement on the defensive side. Originally a shortstop he was moved to second because he did not have the range for short and has a weak arm. He has good hand-eye coordination which allows him to make contact with ball outside the strike zone, but as he advances he is going to need to learn to stay away from those pitches. Unlike Dane Uggla, Perio does not have huge home run power, but he is a double machine and can really drive the ball. He is expected to move up to high-A in 2012 and could advance double-A at some point.
10. Mason Hope (RHP)- A fifth round pick in 2011 from Oklahoma, many like his frame to being with and expect big things once he starts to a major league workout regime, including possible a few more MPH on his fastball. Currently he has a 90-92 MPH fastball that at times can spike to the mid 90s. He is able to keep batters off balanced with his change-up and curveball. His curve is pretty good and is his out pitch, but he needs to keep it lower in the zone more consistently as he advances. He is projected to be a very good No. 3 pitcher.
Honerable Mention: Scott Cousins, Charlie Lowell, Kyle Skipworth, Kyle Jensen, Kevin Mattison, Chris Hatcher, Jesus Solorzano
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