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Miami Marlins Top 20 2015 PRE-SEASON prospects in review

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Justin Bour and J.T. Realmuto
Justin Bour and J.T. Realmuto
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Today we continue our summer reviews of the pre-season Top 20 Prospects lists with the Miami Marlins.

This is a review of the pre-season list.
It is not a new list.

These are the pre-season grades.

This list was originally published February 22, 2015

1) Tyler Kolek, RHP, Grade B+: 4.43 ERA with 73/52 K/BB in 102 innings in Low-A, 100 hits. Not showing the 100 MPH heat he demonstrated in high school and secondary pitches, command are not good enough to compensate at this point. Disappointing but still young enough to get much better.
2) J.T. Realmuto, C, Grade B/B-:
Playing regularly in majors, hitting .252/.283/.401 with seven homers, 14 walks, 52 strikeouts in 329 at-bats. Sound receiver and will show some pop but needs to improve on-base skills. Still young enough at age 24 to refine his bat.
3) Jose Urena, RHP, Grade B-:
Excellent in Triple-A (2.66 ERA, 41/19 in 68), erratic in the majors (5.11, 21/18 K/BB in 49 innings, 57 hits), now on disabled list with knee injury. Not much left to prove in the minors. He needs to pitch and adapt.
4) Justin Nicolino, LHP, Grade B-:
3.52 ERA with 63/29 K/BB in115 innings in Triple-A, 4.24 ERA with 7/6 K/BB in 23 innings in the majors. Efficient, throws strikes, low K-rate remains a caution flag. Wants to be Mark Buehrle when he grows up.
5) Brian Anderson, 2B-3B, Grade B-:
Hitting .231/.300/.345 with eight homers, 36 walks, 97 strikeouts in 420 at-bats in High-A. I was very high on him coming out of the University of Arkansas last year but this production is very disappointing. Will need to dig into the final end-of-year scouting reports on this one to determine what went wrong.


6) Avery Romero, 2B, Grade B-:
Hitting .259/.314/.311 with three homers, 37 walks, 69 strikeout in 437 at-bats in High-A. Still makes contact well but lost more than 100 points of SLG moving from Low-A to High-A. Young enough to rebound at age 22.
7) Trevor Williams, RHP, Grade B-:
4.00 ERA, 88/36 K/BB in 117 innings in Double-A, 126 hits, 1.65 GO/AO. Ground baller found Double-A more difficult to dominate than High-A, still projects as back-of-rotation workhorse.
8) Austin Dean, OF, Grade B-/C+:
Hitting .260/.310/.365 with 30 doubles, five homers, 34 walks, 68 strikeouts, 14 steals in 466 at-bats in High-A. Another bat that faded compared to 2014 but league/park context is tough. Still young at 21.
9) Jarlin Garcia, LHP, Grade C+:
3.19 ERA with 92/32 K/BB in 119 innings, 126 hits combined between High-A and Double-A. Pretty decent year from 22-year-old lefty who throws strikes with low-90s fastball, workable change-up and breaking ball.
10) Michael Mader, LHP, Grade C+:
4.66 ERA with 75/52 K/BB in 122 innings, 123 hits in Low-A. Another low-90s arm, secondary pitches need more polish, which is reflected in low strikeout rate.


11) Austin Brice, RHP, Grade C+:
5.20 ERA with 112/59 K/BB in 107 innings in Double-A, 101 hits. Fastball/curveball guy maintains strong strikeout pace but still struggles with consistency, overall command. Back of rotation potential remains.
12) Adam Conley, LHP, Grade C+:
Solid in Triple-A (2.52, 81/40 in 107, 85 hits, very good for the PCL), scuffling to find role in majors (5.82, 16/6 in 22, 27 hits) used as both starter and reliever. Another arm with not much left to prove in the minors but with an unclear big league future.
13) Arturo Rodriguez, C, Grade C+
: Hitting .281/.331/.435 with 16 homers, 28 walks, 51 strikeouts in 409 at-bats in Low-A. Problematic defense at catcher has resulted in considerable playing time at first base, where his bat is less attractive, also old for the level at age 23.
14) Isael Soto, OF, Grade C/C+:
Just 18 years old, slow start in Low-A (.125/.164/.141 with 27 strikeouts in 64 at-bats) but went on DL in early May with an elbow injury and hasn’t returned. Big power potential from the left side if he can cut down on the whiffs.
15) Justin Bour, 1B, Grade C/C+:
Minor league slugger successfully brought power to majors, hitting .247/.322/.431 with 12 homers, 26 walks, 57 strikeouts in 255 at-bats. At age 27 he’s likely maxed out skill-wise, but he’s done enough to establish himself as a useful role player.


16) Nick Wittgren, RHP, Grade C/C+:
Impressive season in Triple-A, 2.89 ERA with 51/7 K/BB in 53 innings, 48 hits, 14 saves. Ready for big league bullpen trial.
17) Zach Sullivan, OF, Grade C/C+:
Another disappointing bat, .203/.249/.240 with zero homers, 13 steals, 18 walks, 90 strikeouts in 325 at-bats in Low-A. Just 19, has tools, but a long way to go.
18) Andrew McKirahan, LHP, Grade C:
Rule 5 pick, claimed on waivers by Braves at the end of spring training, 5.28 ERA with 13/2 K/BB in 15 innings, missed much of season with PED suspension. Could be useful LOOGY.
19) Matt Ramsey, RHP, Grade C:
Out all year with back troubles.
20) Colby Suggs, RHP, Grade C: On disabled list since mid-April with a "strained forearm."


The pre-season Marlins list had mixed results. On the positive side, J.T. Realmuto looks like he can hold the job behind the plate. Pitchers Urena, Nicolino, Conley, Wittgren, and possibly Garcia and Brice (plus reliever Brian Ellington) are all in line for extended big league trials in 2016. Justin Bour has emerged as a solid role bat. Right-hander Kendry Flores (2.34 ERA, 84/29 K/BB in 115 innings, 82 hits) has had a fine season in the high minors and is also ready for a full big league trial. Speedy Anfernee Seymour is a player to watch for 2016. Low-A first baseman K.J. Woods has shown good power at age 19 in Low-A (.279/.370/.529, 18 homers) but with significant contact issues (114 whiffs in 384 PA).

On the negative side, many of the mid-level hitters have failed to perform up to expectations, with toolsy Justin Twine and first baseman Viosergy Rosa being particular disappointments in addition to many of the names mentioned in the main report. The biggest disappointment of all is Tyler Kolek, who doesn’t have the command to compensate for losing six MPH off his fastball.

The 2016 list will look considerably different thanks to trades and the draft. Catcher Tomas Telis, right-handers Victor Araujo, Jeff Brigham, Kevin Guzman, and Ivan Pineyro, and lefties Cody Ege and Chris Reed are new acquisitions worth tracking. They are all Grade C or C+ types but at least they add depth.

The most advanced of the ’15 draft class includes lefty Brett Lilek out of Arizona State, right-hander Cody Poteet out of UCLA, and polished southpaw Justin Jacome out of UC Santa Barbara. First-round pick Josh Naylor looks great so far, the Canadian first baseman hitting .353/.380/.447 thus far in rookie ball. Third round toolshed outfielder Isaiah White out of high school in North Carolina is hitting .330 with nine steals but an ugly 2/32 BB/K in rookie ball.

Overall, the Marlins have some decent depth on the mound but lack impact hitting.