Miami Marlins Top 20 Prospects for 2017
The list and grades are a blending of present performance and long-term potential. Comments are welcome, but in the end all analysis and responsibility is mine. All of these grades are subject to change as the winter progresses. The final grades will be finished sometime in February when all 30 teams are complete.
QUICK PRIMER ON GRADE MEANINGS
Grade A prospects are the elite. In theory, they have a good chance of becoming stars or superstars. Theoretically, most Grade A prospects develop into stars or at least major league regulars, if injuries or other problems don’t intervene. Note that is a major "if" in some cases.
Grade B prospects have a good chance to enjoy successful careers. Some will develop into stars, some will not. Most end up spending several years in the majors, at the very least in a marginal role.
Grade C prospects are the most common type. These are guys who have something positive going for them, but who may have a question mark or three, or who are just too far away from the majors to get an accurate feel for. A few Grade C guys, especially at the lower levels, do develop into stars. Many end up as role players or bench guys. Some don’t make it at all.
Finally, keep in mind that all grades are shorthand. A Grade C prospect in rookie ball could end up being very impressive, while a Grade C prospect in Triple-A is likely just a future role player.
1) Braxton Garrett, LHP, Grade B-/B: Age 19, first round pick in 2016 from high school in Alabama; hasn’t pitched professionally yet so all we have are high school reports; fastball 88-94 MPH; best pitch is very strong curve; change-up needs development, which is normal for his age and background; clean mechanics should help with healthy and command; projects as mid-rotation starter. ETA late 2020.
2) Brian Anderson, 3B, Grade B-/C+: Age 23, third round pick in 2014 from University of Arkansas; hit .264/.348/.389 with 11 homers, 58 walks, 97 strikeouts in 483 at-bats between High-A and Double-A; when he’s locked in he shows good command of the strike zone and plenty of doubles power, but production against pro pitching has been erratic; former second baseman is solid enough at third, not a gold glove but certainly playable with better range than often advertised; I don’t see a star here but should be productive in a good role player way. ETA 2018.
3) Jarlin Garcia, LHP, Grade C+: Age 24, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2010; missed part of season with triceps strain; posted 3.73 ERA in 51 innings across three levels, 38/12 K/BB; spent several days on MLB roster but didn’t get into a game; low-90s fastball as a starter but can hit 95-96 in shorter outings; mixes in curve, slider, change-up; secondaries are inconsistent, resulting in low strikeout rate; he throws strikes though and it wouldn’t take much improvement with the secondaries for his dominance ratios to improve; this is more likely to happen in bullpen than in rotation. ETA 2017.
4) Isael Soto, OF, Grade C+: Age 20, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2013; hit .247/.320/.399 with nine homers, 43 walks, 115 strikeouts in 401 at-bats in Low-A; one of the few Marlins minor league bats with impact potential, 60-grade raw power from left side, also has 60-grade arm, giving him classic right field profile; still working on plate discipline and overall approach and has trouble with left-handed pitching; he played ’16 at age 19 in a full-season league so he has youth on his side. ETA 2020.
5) Stone Garrett, OF, Grade C+: Age 21, eighth round pick in 2014 from high school in Texas; hit .213/.295/.371 with six homers, 11 walks, 71 strikeout in 197 at-bats in Low-A, missing much of season with a hand injury suffered in knife “prank” incident involving teammate Josh Naylor, who was subsequently traded to San Diego; I liked Garrett a lot pre-season following his fine ’15 campaign in New York-Penn League, but ’16 was a disappointment as the strike zone got away from him and swing mechanics did not improve; still has considerable upside but a lot of work to do. ETA 2020.
6) Tyler Kolek, RHP, Grade C+: Age 21, first round pick in 2014 from high school in Texas, missed 2016 with Tommy John surgery; hit 100 MPH in high school but didn’t show that in pro ball pre-injury, working in low-to-mid-90s; breaking ball and change-up were also marginal pre-injury, as was his command, and it remains to be seen how all this responds to surgery; could reasonably rank anywhere from third to 10th on this list; when he comes back, watch his K/IP and K/BB ratios for clues to his progress. ETA 2020.
7) Dillon Peters, LHP, Grade C+: Age 24, 10th round pick from University of Texas in 2014; posted 2.38 ERA with 105/20 K/BB in 129 innings between High-A and Double-A; undersized even for a lefty at 5-9 but there’s some zip in the arm with 92-94 MPH fastball and a solid curve; also has a decent change-up and throws strikes with everything; quite polished with good mound presence and make-up; potential number four starter. ETA 2018.
8) Edward Cabrera, RHP, Grade C+: Age 18, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2015; 4.21 ERA with 28/10 K/BB in 47 innings in rookie ball, 54 hits; numbers aren’t special but scouting reports are promising, pointing to 92-94 MPH fastball and the potential to develop a plus curve and change-up combination; he’s raw and a long way off but highly projectable (6-4, 175) and that stands out in this system. ETA 2021.
9) Thomas Jones, OF, Grade C+: Age 19, third round pick in 2016 from high school in South Carolina; hit .234/.380/.313 with 11 walks, 20 strikeouts, six steals in 64 at-bats in rookie ball; 70-grade speed is impact tool on bases and in the outfield; 6-4, 195 pound build promises more power to come as well as he matures and refines hitting mechanics; arm just average but range would work well in center field; another raw-but-has-upside guy. ETA 2020.
10) Drew Steckenrider, RHP, Grade C+: Age 26, eighth round pick in 2012 from University of Tennessee; 2.08 ERA with 71/19 K/BB in 52 innings between High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A, with just 25 hits; saved 14 games; impressive 94-97 MPH heat; everyone likes the fastball but reports on slider vary between plus and below-average depending on source; lacks change-up by all accounts; could be similar to Kyle Barraclough or Brian Ellington in middle relief. ETA 2017.
11) Austin Dean, OF, Grade C+/C: Age 23, 4th round pick in 2012 from high school in Texas, hit .238/.307/.375 with 11 homers. 48 walks, 110 strikeouts in 480 innings in Double-A; numbers aren’t terrific but he scouts better in person, at least in terms of raw power, strong enough to hit 15-20 homers at maturity; will draw some walks as well but can be streaky and defensive limitations (his arm and range make him a LF) add pressure for more offensive development. ETA 2018.
12) Jeff Brigham, RHP, Grade C+/C: Age 24, fourth round pick by Dodgers in 2014, traded to Marlins in Mat Latos transaction; posted 4.04 ERA with 112/47 K/BB in 123 innings in High-A, 115 hits; impressive 93-96 MPH fastball and a very good slider; change-up lags behind and he’ll move to the bullpen unless that improves; the Marlins have gotten results with similar pitchers at least as relief assets. ETA 2018.
13) Cody Poteet, RHP, Grade C+/C: Age 22, fourth round pick in 2015 from UCLA, posted 2.91 ERA with 106/44 K/BB in 117 innings in Low-A, 108 hits; solid season but given experience level he should be expected to perform well in the Sally; fastball 88-92 MPH, sometimes higher, mixes in curveball and change-up, throws strikes most of the time which helps stuff play up, at least against less-experienced hitters; four/five starter potential. ETA 2019
14) Andy Beltre, RHP, Grade C+/C: Age 23, signed by Marlins out of Dominican Republic in 2010; posted 1.74 ERA with 54/16 K/BB in 47 innings between Low-A and High-A, 30 hits; fastball 94-97 with reported peaks at 99; slider inconsistent but workable; control comes and goes but when he’s on he can dominate out of the bullpen. ETA 2018.
15) Tayron Guerrero, RHP, Grade C+/C: Age 26, signed by Padres out of Colombia back in 2009, came over to Marlins in Andrew Cashner deal; posted 4.35 ERA with 51/22 K/BB in 50 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 43 hits; another hard-thrower with 94-98 MPH fastballs and peaks at 100; good slider, too, but command and control are erratic and hold him back; small adjustments could make him bullpen force. ETA 2017.
16) Destin Hood, OF, Grade C+/C: Age 26, former second round pick by Nationals back in 2008; hit .267/.316/.435 with 15 homers, 11 steals, 37 walks, 113 strikeouts in 476 at-bats in Triple-A, then went 6-for-25 (.240) with a double and a homer in the majors; tools player held back by injuries and pitch recognition issues for several years but has made enough progress to be in the picture as a role player; now entering the age 27-28 window when “surprise” seasons become a bit less of a surprise. ETA 2017.
17) Sam Perez, RHP, Grade C+/C: Age 22, fifth round pick in 2016 from Missouri State University; posted 3.54 ERA with 36/16 K/BB in 48 innings in New York-Penn League; fastball 92-95, with movement; breaking ball and change-up inconsistent but have potential, will reportedly be developed as a starter with relief work possible long-term depending on how secondaries come along; ETA 2020.
18) Jose Quijada, LHP, Grade C/C+: Age 21, Venezuelan lefty signed in 2013; posted 2.32 ERA with 69/10 K/BB in 50 innings between Low-A and High-A, 30 hits; held lefties to combined .188 average; there’s little information available about him at this time but numbers stand out and he has LOOGY potential at least; I’m trying to find out more about him. ETA 2019.
19) Humberto Mejia, RHP, Grade C/C+: Age 19, Panamanian signed in 2013; posted 2.90 ERA with 49/10 K/BB in 50 innings between rookie ball and NY-P; projectable 6-3, 175 frame; average fastball that may get faster, already has a good curve and throws strikes; we need to see him at higher level but there’s some promise here, albeit with the typical young pitcher caveats, etc etc etc. ETA 2020.
20) James Nelson, 3B, Grade C/C+: Age 19, 15th round pick in 2016 from Cisco Junior College in Texas; hit .284/.344/.364 with 14 walks, 30 strikeouts in 162 at-bats in rookie ball; no power yet but may show more pop in time, has 60 speed, 60 arm, and natural actions to play third base though more refinement is needed; has received little notice as yet but has more upside than the typical 15th round pick. ETA 2020.
OTHERS: Justin Cohen, C; Jake Esch, RHP; Isaac Galloway, OF; Jordan Holloway, RHP; Ben Holmes, LHP; Justin Jacome, LHP; Garvis Lara, SS; Raudel Lazo, LHP; Brett Lilek, LHP ; Cam Maron, C; Ben Meyer, RHP; Austin Nola, SS; John Norwood, OF; Yefri Perez, INF; Sean Reynolds, OF: J.T. Riddle, INF; Jhonny Santos, OF; Tomas Telis, C; Justin Twine, 2B.
The general consensus is that the Marlins system is very thin. In this case, the general consensus is correct. There’s good raw material here for a bullpen but even the best pitchers have unanswered questions and all of the position players have at least one significant flaw. I’ll be around in the comments to answer questions.