Prospects in the Blockbuster Marlins/Blue Jays Trade

Tom Szczerbowski

Prospects in the Toronto/Miami Blockbuster

The Miami Marlins gutted their major league roster Tuesday evening, sending Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, John Buck, Emilio Bonifacio, and cash to the Toronto Blue Jays. Heading south to Florida are Yunel Escobar, Jeff Mathis, and Henderson Alvarez, plus prospects Adeiny Hechevarria, Jake Marisnick, Justin Nicolino, and Anthony DeSclafani.

Here is a look at the prospects involved.

Adeiny Hechavarria, SS: Signed by the Blue Jays from Cuba in 2010, Hechavarria is a 5-11, 180 pound right-handed hitter and thrower, born April 15, 1989. Renowned for his defensive skills, he features above-average range and a very strong throwing arm.

His bat draws mixed reviews. He hit .312/.363/.424 in 102 games for Triple-A Las Vegas this year, but just .254/.280/.365 in 126 at-bats for the Blue Jays, with four walks and 32 strikeouts. Poor plate discipline is his biggest issue, though it looked like he was making some progress in that department before being promoted to the majors.

Jake Marisnick, OF:
Marisnick was drafted in the third round in 2009, from high school in Riverside, California. He is a right-handed hitter and thrower, born March 30, 1991. His physical tools are first-class, with premium athleticism, good speed, a strong arm, and a chance to hit for power.

His glove is ahead of the bat at this point. He hit .263/.349/.451 in 266 at-bats for High-A Dunedin this year, but just .233/.286/.336 in 223 at-bats for Double-A New Hampshire. He stole 24 bases, but a hyper-aggressive approach cut too much into his hitting skills against advanced pitching. Marisnick has the physical tools to be a star, but the skills are still quite raw.

Justin Nicolino, LHP:
Nicolino was drafted in the second round in 2010, from high school in Orlando, Florida. A 6-3, 190 pound lefty, he was born November 22, 1991. His 2012 season was excellent: 10-4, 2.46 with a 119/21 K/BB in 124 innings for Low-A Lansing in the Midwest League.

Nicolino works with an 88-92 MPH fastball that he locates with precision. He has an excellent changeup, and his curveball is also solid, giving him three pitches to conquer hitters with. Command and control are his best attributes, and he projects as a number three starter if all goes well.

Anthony DeSclafani, RHP:
DeSclafini was drafted by the Jays in the sixth round in 2011, from the University of Florida. A 6-2, 195 pound right-hander, he was born April 18, 1990. He had a decent year alongside Nicolino in the Lansing rotation, going 11-3, 3.37 with a 92/25 K/BB ratio in 123 innings, allowing 145 hits. He got a lot of ground balls, with a 1.88 GO/AO and just three homers allowed.

Mainly a reliever in college, he was moved to the rotation as a pro to build up his innings and work on his secondary pitches. DeSclafani works with a low-90s fastball, mixing in a slider, curveball, and changeup. His control is good and he keeps the ball down, but he's hittable when he misses his spots.

The Marlins got some decent prospects here, although none of them are sure things. Hechavarria and Marisnick have loud tools, but their hitting skills are questionable. Nicolino is one of the best southpaw prospects in baseball, and he's a good pickup, while DeSclafani adds more depth to a farm system that really needs it.

The talent exchanged doesn't match what the Marlins gave up, but that wasn't the goal from Miami's point of view.

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