by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
A lot of the Marlins’ top young players are already in the Majors, leaving the farm system to look awfully depleted (especially when it comes to short-term solutions). That doesn’t mean that there isn’t talent, but it may not be impact talent and it also may still be a few years away. As it is there are significant questions about the “top” talents in the system and for a team that’s not quite ready to compete, it’s surprising how bleak things look in the minor leagues. Just how bad is it? Let’s take a look:
1) Tyler Kolek – Right-Handed Pitcher
ETA – 2018
Grade – B
The second overall selection in 2014, Kolek struggled at Single-A in his first full professional season (108.2 IP) posting a 4.56 ERA and 1.56 WHIP. His control was the biggest issue, as it’s been since being drafted:
- 2014 (Rookie Ball) – 5.32 BB/9
- 2015 (Single-A) – 5.05 BB/9
He needs to figure out how to harness his stuff, because he does bring a big fastball and he has the size teams look for (6’5”, 260 lb.). He also showed an ability to generate groundballs (1.15 GO/AO in ’15), but the strikeouts just haven’t been there (6.71 K/9). Can he figure it out? It’s possible, but there’s a very real chance that he ultimately settles into a bullpen role.
Could we be labeling him the closer of the future at this time next year? It’s possible, but for now he’ll continue to try developing as a starting pitcher and does have upside. It’s just a matter of if he can put it all together or not.
2) Josh Naylor – First Baseman
ETA – 2019
Grade – B-
You wouldn’t necessarily know that the 2015 first round pick (12th overall) has significant power potential, after he hit 1 HR over 98 AB in his first taste of professional baseball. However it’s there and it could come quickly. Couple that with his 11 K over 98 AB (10.5%) and he’s showing signs that his bat could carry him. People will downgrade him due to a lack of a true position, with first base seeming likely. Does that hurt his value? Maybe, but it shouldn’t. He can hit and that’s going to put him on all prospect maps before long.
3) Brett Lilek – Left-Handed Pitcher
ETA – 2017
Grade – C+ (borderline B-)
He has the potential to move quickly through the system, after being selected in the second round of the 2015 draft. He thrived in his first taste of professional baseball, posting an 11.06 K/9, 1.80 BB/9 and 1.15 GO/AO. While there are some that question the quality of his stuff, Lilek has drawn rave reviews for his knowledge of pitching. Maybe that’s why he dominated as a 22-year old at Low-A, but it’s promising just the same. We’ll see how he performs this season as he moves up against more advanced opponents, but there appears to be something here. This grade could ultimately prove to be low, though time will tell.
4) Stone Garrett – Outfielder
ETA – 2018
Grade – C+ (borderline B-)
Garrett’s rise up in the system shows how questionable much of the talent is, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t potential. Garrett hit 11 HR over 247 PA last season, adding 18 doubles and 6 triples to show off his power potential. He also stole 8 bases and could soon develop into an annual 20/10 threat. The question is going to be his average, as he posted a 24.3% strikeout rate at Low-A last season. With that expected to rise as he moves up the ranks there’s obvious risks involved. However, if he could fine tune his approach and keep that in check he could develop into the top prospect in the system.
5) Jarlin Garcia – Left-Handed Pitcher
ETA – 2016
Grade – C+
He was left exposed in the Rule 5 draft, which should at least tell us a little something. That said there is upside in the southpaw, who has shown great control throughout his minor league career (2.2 BB/9), despite it jumping to a 4.2 mark upon arriving at Double-A (36.2 IP). That said he hasn’t shown enough strikeouts, yet, with a minor league 7.7 K/9, and he also didn’t generate many groundballs (0.81 GO/AO in ’15).
The Next Five:
6) Isael Soto – Outfielder
7) Kendry Flores – Right-Handed Pitcher
8) Austin Dean – Outfielder
9) J.T. Ruddle – Shortstop
10) Brian Anderson – Third Baseman
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Grading System (still in development):
Grade A – Elite Prospects (aka potential future perennial All-Stars)
Grade B – Above Average Prospects (aka above average Major Leaguers, could develop into a potential All-Star)
Grade C – Average Prospects (aka solid, though unspectacular)
Grade D – Nothing More Than Roster Filler
Grade F – Move On
Make sure to check out all of our Top 10 Prospect Lists: