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Melotticus Presents - The Miami Marlins Top 20 Prospects

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A couple of offseason trades led to a loss of minor league talent in the Marlins organization, but a much improved MLB product.

The top position player in the Marlins system, catcher JT Realmuto.
The top position player in the Marlins system, catcher JT Realmuto.
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

If you didn't get a chance to read my primer on the series, click here to get the recipe to my "secret sauce" and how I go about ranking prospects. Here is a quick review on how the grading system works.

The Grading System

My grading system will be familiar to those who keep up with college football recruiting or played the MLB2K video game series as I use a star rating system from one to five stars with half grades in between. An outline of what each level would represent looks like this, but remember these are examples and not definite.

5 star
The cream of the crop. A five star rating is reserved for the elite talents of the minor leagues. These players do not have a glaring weakness and if there is a blemish on their record, it is miniscule. Don't expect to see many of these, as this is reserved for players with the best chance to become super stars or top of the rotation stalwarts. Call this a 75-80 or A rating.

4.5 star
The rest of the elite. A 4.5 star rating encompasses players that are still elite, but not the potential mega stars a five star player would have. Receiving a 4.5 star rating means the player has all-star caliber potential with a good chance of being in a contending team's starting line up and have a long career. A 4.5 star pitcher could be generalized as a future #2 or 3 starter. Equal to 65-70 or A-/B+ type.

4 star
Garnering a four star rating means the player has the potential to be a productive major leaguer with an all-star season or two in his career. Four star players should develop into regulars in the lineup, dominant relief arms or a mid-rotation starters. This kind of player may have a true talent level higher but injuries may hold him back from reaching their full potential. Similar to a B/B+ or 55-60 rated player.

3.5 star
A player receiving 3.5 stars projects to see time as starters in the majors, but more than likely on a team out of the playoff picture where a below-average season once in awhile won't kill them. Innings eating strike throwers would fall into this category, as would set up men and defensive-oriented starters. This would be a 50 or B-/C+ type of player.

3 star
Three star players are your back end starting pitchers and 4th outfielders. Relievers with live arms and control problems would fall into this category as would hitters who may lack enough tools to hold down a starting gig. Futures as a platoon player and swing men type capable of spot starting would be three star players. Recent IFA's with little or no track record usually are included here. A 45 grade or C+/C type player would fall here.

2.5 star
Not every one gets to collect MLB paychecks, but some get them every once in awhile. 2.5 star players are your up and down guys who shuttle between the big leagues and AAA. September cups of coffee cielings fall here, as are the injury replacements and players riding the waiver wire. These players aren't expected to make any serious impact. 40 grade players and C type or lower organizational filler.

Anything below 2.5 stars is someone who doesn't project to be a major league player, therefore they are not mentioned.

Now for the Top 20 Prospects in the Miami Marlins organization, sorted by star rating. All ages are how old they will be for the 2015 season, and affiliates mentioned are where I expect the player to begin next year.

Miami Marlins

4.5 star

1. RHSP Tyler Kolek - 19 years old, A- Batavia

tyler kolek

Photo courtesy of Jerry Baker/Houston Chronicle

2014 Stats -

0 3 9 8 22 22 17 11 0 13 18
4.50 3.92 1.59 13.1 18.2 1.38 9.0 0.275 0.374 0.388 0.761 0.333

Going second overall in the draft puts a lot of pressure on Kolek to perform, as does the sizable signing bonus he received. The 6'5, 260 pound Texan is a long term project with an electric arm that could pay huge dividends down the line. The massive right hander saw his velocity drop over the course of his pro debut by over five miles per hour, possible due to the exhaustion from the long season. Kolek has regularly touched triple digits as a prep starter with a potentially plus hook. Kolek's frame suggests the ability to eat innings like BBQ with the usual injury caveats. Give him a few years and he could wind up alongside Jose Fernandez atop the Marlins rotation.

2015 Outlook -

Miami will more than likely take it slow with Kolek, advancing him to short season Batavia in the New York-Penn League once he spends some time in extended spring training. I don't think he'll make it to Low A Greensboro until the end of the year or some time next year, but he will be just 19 years old the entire season.

4 star

2. LHSP Justin Nicolino - 23 years old, AAA New Orleans (PCL)

3. C JT Realmuto - 24 years old, MLB Miami (NL)

4. RHSP Jose Urena - 23 years old, AAA New Orleans (PCL)

5. RHSP Kendry Flores - 23 years old, AA Jacksonville (SL)

3.5 star

6. LHSP Jarlin Garcia - 22 years old, A+ Jupiter (FSL)

7. RHSP Trevor Williams - 23 years old, AA Jacksonville (SL)

8. 2B/3B Brian Anderson - 22 years old, A+ Jupiter (FSL)

9. RF Isael Soto - 18 years old, A- Batavia (NYP)

10. RHSP Ryan Newell - 24 years old, A+ Jupiter (FSL)

11. LF Austin Dean - 21 years old, A+ Jupiter (FSL)

12. SS Justin Bohn - 22 years old, AA Jacksonville (SL)

13. RHSP Austin Brice - 23 years old, AA Jacksonville (SL)

14. 2B Avery Romero - 22 years old, AA Jacksonville (SL)

3 star

15. 1B Viosergy Rosa - 25 years old, AAA New Orleans (PCL)

16. CF Austin Wates - 26 years old, MLB Miami (NL)

17. LHP Miguel Del Pozo - 22 years old, A+ Jupiter (FSL)

18. SS Justin Twine - 19 years old, A- Batavia (NYP)

19. 2B Mason Davis - 22 years old, A+ Jupiter (FSL)

20. RHP Nick Wittgren - 24 years old, AAA New Orleans (PCL)

Honorable Mentions (other 3 star players) - LHSP Adam Conley, LHSP Sean Townsley, RHP Sean Donatello, C Blake Anderson, and RHP Colby Suggs.

Miami Marlins Age Pos Team Stars
1 Tyler Kolek 19 RHSP R 4.5
2 Justin Nicolino 23 LHSP AA 4
3 JT Realmuto 24 C MLB 4
4 Jose Urena 23 RHSP AA 4
5 Kendry Flores 23 RHSP A+ 4
6 Jarlin Garcia 22 LHSP A 3.5
7 Trevor Williams 23 RHSP AA 3.5
8 Brian Anderson 22 2B/3B A 3.5
9 Isael Soto 18 RF R 3.5
10 Ryan Newell 24 RHSP A 3.5
11 Austin Dean 21 LF A 3.5
12 Justin Bohn 22 SS A+ 3.5
13 Austin Brice 23 RHSP A+ 3.5
14 Avery Romero 22 2B A+ 3
15 Viosergy Rosa 25 1B AA 3
16 Austin Wates 26 CF AAA 3
17 Miguel Del Pozo 22 LHP A 3
18 Justin Twine 19 SS R 3
19 Mason Davis 22 2B A 3
20 Nick Wittgren 24 RHP AA 3

Team code: AAA - New Orleans Zephyrs, AA - Jacksonville Suns, A+ - Jupiter Hammeheads, A - Greensboro Grasshoppers, A- - Batavia Muckdogs, R - Gulf Coast League Marlins, DSL - Dominican Summer League Marlins