Miami Marlins

Original Published Date: November 10, 2015

The Miami Marlins farm system is just not very good.  While we don’t formally rank them, if we did, they would be in the bottom five in all of baseball.  While we can blame some of the regression on questionable trades, most of it has been because of promotions; promotions that have helped the big league club over the past two years.  These players include Jose Fernandez, J.T. Realmuto, Christian Yelich, and Marcel Ozuna.  That’s four really good players!

Topping the Marlins list this year is 2014 first round draft choice, Tyler Kolek.  I know easy way to say it, Kolek is not the same pitcher the Marlins draft two years ago.  He’s still going to be a major leaguer, but his ceiling is now a number three.

While there’s not a lot in the farm system to help the major league club, things could change over the winter.  The Marlins have been known to make big and bold moves.  Unless they dip into free agency in a big way, the only other approach is to trade and build from within.  I’m guessing they go with the latter.

1. Tyler Kolek (RHP)

2016 Age: 20 Ceiling: #3 starter
Ht: 6-5 Weight: 260 Bats: Right Throws: Right ETA: 2018
Year Class IP H ER HR BB/9 K/9 ERA WHIP
2015 A 108.2 108 55 7 5.05 6.71 4.56 1.56

I never saw Tyler Kolek pitch in high school, but I read, like many of you read about his 100 MPH fastball.  I read one publication that comp’d him to a young Roger Clemens.  By the way, never believe that hype and never, ever, put a hall of famer label on a 17-year-old kid.  Anyway, the Marlins were sold and drafted him second overall in front of Carlos Rodon, Kyle Schwarber, Aaron Nola, Michael Conforto, and Trea Turner – who all have already contributed to the big leagues.  It’s easy to play arm-chair quarterback and we are doing that, but after 33 professional starts, a 4.61 ERA, a 6.82 K/9 and a 5.10 BB/9, the Marlins can’t be feeling too good about their decision.

Scouting Report:  Stats are stats and they need to be put into context, particularly when you are trying to evaluate players in the lower levels of the minor leagues.  However, when you combine a 6.82 K/9 and a 5.10 BB/9 with a pitcher who reportedly threw 100 MPH two years ago and is now throwing 93 to 95 (T96), it’s time to be concerned.  When I saw Kolek in mid-August, that was what I had him on my gun.  Plus, the fastball was straight with little life and the Lakewood BlueClaws were squaring it pretty well.  His secondary pitches were average with his slurvy breaking pitch better than his change up.  He did strikeout three batters when I saw him, two on his breaking pitch and one on his fastball, but he also gave up 9 hits in five innings.

What I did like about Kolek was his size.  He’s a big dude.  Listed at 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, he has the size to log big innings in the major leagues.  Plus, let’s face it, he throws hard – 93 to 95 MPH is nothing to sneeze at and despite his fastball being a little flat, he can still bring it.  Remember, arsenals can improve, new pitches can be learned (I would love to see the Marlins add a two-seamer), so all is not lost.  That said, he no longer has a top-of-the-rotation ceiling but instead the ceiling has moved to a number three.

Fantasy Impact:  If you drafted Kolek in a Dynasty League, you have to see how things will play out.  If you can get 80 cents on the dollar, I would be selling.  Fifty cents on the dollar and the answer is no.  Kolek is still young, he’s big and throws hard.  Those are three very valuable elements in a minor league player.  However, he’s not a one, not a two…I just hope he’s a number three and not a reliever.

2. Josh Naylor (1B)

2016 Age: 19 Ceiling: Solid Reg
Ht: 6-1 Weight: 225 Bats: Left Throws: Left ETA: 2018-19
2015 R 98 8 1 16 25 .327 .352 88.8 3.8 .352

It’s not often a team selects a first baseman in the first round, but that’s exactly what the Marlins did with Josh Naylor in the 2015 first year player draft.  They clearly believe in the bat, particularly his plus raw power that he generates from his 6-foot-1, 225 pound frame.  There is some worry about his weight as you don’t usually see teenage baseball players at 225 pounds.

After signing at $2.2 million dollar signing bonus, the Marlins assigned him to the Gulf Coast League where he played well in his 25 games, batting .327 with a .418 slugging percentage.

Scouting Report:  Despite being selected as the 12th pick in the draft, Naylor skills are very raw.  He does have a big left-handed swing that generates plus raw power but it’s power generated more from his strength and torque than premium bat speed.  There is also a lot of length in his swing and therefore he is likely to generate plenty of strikeouts.  What we don’t know is what type of approach he will have at the plate.  His 98 at-bats in Rookie League is just not enough to get a read on that skill, however, he did only walked four times.

Fantasy Impact:  There is a ton of raw power that could translate into big power for your fantasy team.  However, Naylor is going to have to prove that he can control the strike zone in order to get to his power.  He’s a first base only prospect which means he’s going to have to hit with power in order to make it.  He’s worth a flier in a Dynasty League with 300 minor league slots but fantasy owners will need to be patient.

3. Brian Anderson (3B)

2016 Age: 23 Ceiling: Solid Reg
Ht: 6-3 Weight: 185 Bats: Right Throws: Right ETA: 2017
2015 A+ 477 50 8 62 2 .235 .304 77.1 7.5 .287

Signed in the third round of the 2014 first year player draft, Brian Anderson struggled upon his promotion to High-A this year.  In 132 games, he batted only .235 but it did come with a below-average .287 BABIP.  He added eight home runs and in the Florida State League, that’s actually a slightly above average total.

Scouting Report:  There’s a lot to like with Brian Anderson.  The swing is solid with good bat speed and he is has enough physicality to project to average, if not more power.  It was disappointing that he didn’t hit better this year, but again his BABIP played a role.  He did make good contact at 78% and showed good plate discipline as he walked 7.5% of the time he came to the plate.  Both stats point to upside in his .235 batting average with a .260/.330 projection not out of the question.

The Marlins will likely start Anderson in Double-A to begin the 2016 season and with Martin Prado only signed through the end of the year, it could open up playing time for Anderson in 2017.  While he doesn’t have star potential, he has enough skills to get regular at-bats at the big league level.

Fantasy Impact:  Brian Anderson has the skills to post a .260 batting average with a possibility of 15 to 20 home runs.  That should make him a serviceable corner infielder for your fantasy team or a third base option in deeper leagues.

4. Jarlin Garcia (LHP)

2016 Age: 23 Ceiling: #3 starter
Ht: 6-2 Weight: 170 Bats: Left Throws: Left ETA: 2016-17
Year Class IP H ER HR BB/9 K/9 ERA WHIP
2015 A+,AA 133.2 134 53 13 2.69 7.00 3.57 1.30

Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2010, Jarlin Garcia has been making slow and steady progress through the Marlins system.  In 2015, he split time between High-A and Double-A and pitched well.  In 25 starts, he posted a 3.57 ERA while striking out 104 and walking only 40.  He was more hittable than you like to see, giving up over a hit per inning.

Scouting Report:  Garcia has a solid arsenal that is highlighted by his fastball that sits 91 to 93 MPH (T95). Because of his ability to throw it for strikes, the pitch plays up a grade.  When his curve ball is on, it can be a real weapon.  However, Garcia can lose the feel for it from game to game, or even inning to inning, and when he does, it comes in flat and can be hittable.  When on, the pitch has great downer action and can fool both arm and glove-side batters.

Garcia pitches from a high three-quarters delivery with clean mechanics.  He’s able to repeat his delivery quite well and that is leading to his ability to throw strikes.  He does pitch up in the zone and will likely always be a little homer-prone.

Fantasy Impact:  Lefties who can hit 95 MPH always need to be on the radar of fantasy owners.  Garcia has good stuff but until he can harness his curve ball, will not provide consistent results.  The ceiling is a number three starter with seven strikeouts per nine.  However, a more realistic ceiling is a number four or five starter.

5. Brett Lilek (LHP)

2016 Age: 22 Ceiling: #4 starter
Ht: 6-4 Weight: 195 Bats: Left Throws: Left ETA: 2018
Year Class IP H ER HR BB/9 K/9 ERA WHIP
2015 SS 35.0 30 13 1 1.80 11.06 3.34 1.06

Brett Lilek was taken in the second round of the 2015 first year player draft and hit the ground running in the New York Penn League.  In 10 starts, he struck out 43 while walking only 7.  As is typical in short season ball, particularly for college pitchers who have logged big innings, Lilek was limited to around three innings per outing.  However, the Marlins did let him go five innings in two starts towards the end of the season, where he was very impressive.

Scouting Report:  At 6-foot-4 and 195 pounds, Lilek has a great pitchers body.  The delivery from the left side is smooth with great balance.  The extension to the plate is not great but he’s able to repeat his delivery and his 1.80 walk-per-nine rate could be a harbinger of good things to come.

Lilek’s arsenal is solid but lacks a plus offering.  His fastball sits 89 to 92 MPH but if the Marlins can improve his extension to the plate, the pitch could move up a grade.  He also throws a curve ball and slider with the curve being the better of the two pitches.

Overall, the package gives Lilek a ceiling of a number four starter with a realistic ceiling of a number five.

Fantasy Impact:  Lilek should be on Dynasty League owner’s radar. He has decent stuff but knows how to pitch and can throw strikes.  Plus, there is a potential for him to add a mile or two on his fastball and if that happens, the calculus could change very quickly.

6. Kendry Flores (RHP)

2016 Age: 24 Ceiling: #4/#5 starter
Ht: 6-2 Weight: 175 Bats: Right Throws: Right ETA: 2015
Year Class IP H ER HR BB/9 K/9 ERA WHIP
2015 A+,AA, AAA 118.0 83 30 6 2.21 6.48 2.29 0.95

Kendry Flores was signed out of the Dominican Republic as a 16-year-old in 2008 by the Giants and was traded last December for Casey McGehee.  He’s been making slow and steady progress through the minor leagues that culminated in six relief appearances and one start for Miami this year.  He has excellent control with a 2.18 walk-per-nine rate in 106 career starts in the minor leagues.  He’s more command and control over stuff, but has the polish to be a back-of-the-rotation starter in the major leagues or at worse, a middle reliever.

Scouting Report:  Flores has a large arsenal of pitches but nothing that grades out as plus.  He throws a two and four seam fastball, three breaking pitches (curve, slider, and cutter), and a change-up.  His best pitch is his change-up that he throws with a nice 10 MPH separation from his four-seamer with good deception.  His four seam fastball is an average pitch that sits 91 to 92 MPH (T93) and comes in fairly flat to hitters.  He could be homer prone, particularly in smaller ballparks as was evidence by the 14 home runs he gave up in the Cal League in 2014.

Flores has very simple and smooth mechanics and that allows him to pound the strike zone with regularity.  At 175 pounds, there is still hope that he could add some velocity as he fills out and if he does, that could change the ceiling for him.

Fantasy Impact:  Flores could see time in the Marlins rotation next year and could be an interesting option for NL Only Leagues.  The home park is great and the offense should be better next year for the Marlins, so there is a chance that Flores could post league average ratios with six to seven strikeouts per nine.

7. Stone Garrett (OF)

2016 Age: 20 Ceiling: Solid Reg
Ht: 6-2 Weight: 195 Bats: Right Throws: Right ETA: 2018
2015 SS 222 36 11 46 8 .297 .352 73.0 7.7 .355

Stone Garrett was drafted in the eighth round of the 2014 first year player draft.  He got off to a very slow start last year, posting a .539 OPS in 40 games in the Gulf Coast League without showing off his plus raw power.  Things started to come together this year as he slashed .297/.352/.581 in the New York Penn League where he pounded 11 home runs.

Scouting Report:  Garrett is a big strong kid at 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds with plus raw power.  The swing can get long and therefore swing and miss will likely always be part of the equation.  While he did have a respectable 73% contact rate this year that is likely to regress as he plays against stronger competition.

While the Marlins have been playing Garrett in center field, he profiles better as a corner outfield.  He has average speed but doesn’t have a quick first step.  He stole eight of 13 bases this year and should be good for 8 to 12 bags annually early in his career.

Fantasy Impact:  Garrett is an intriguing player for deep Dynasty League owners.  He has 20 future home run potential with the chance to steal double digit stolen bases.  However, that will likely come with a challenging batting average.  However, if he can cut down on his strikeouts and continue to improve his approach, there could be something there.

8. K.J. Woods (1B)

2016 Age: 20 Ceiling: 2nd Div
Ht: 6-3 Weight: 230 Bats: Left Throws: Right ETA: 2017-18
2015 A 383 53 18 58 1 .277 .364 65.3 10.3 .376

Signed in the fourth round of the 2013 draft, K.J. Woods spent two years in the Gulf Coast League (GCL) before finally be assigned to a full season affiliate this year.  He did well, showing off his plus power by hitting 18 home runs which was good for third most in the league.  When you consider that at 19-years-old, he was one of the youngest players in the league, it makes it even that more impressive.

Scouting Report:  At 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, Woods is a big boy.  Drafted as an outfielder, the Marlins moved him to first this year and that move will be a lot of pressure on his bat.  His carrying too is his plus raw power that is born out of strength and leverage, which leads to a very long swing and a ton of swing and miss.  In 383 at-bats, he posted a 30.3% strikeout rate.  He does have a good knowledge of the strike zone and showed that by walking 10% of the time.

Fantasy Impact:  Woods is your classic three true outcome player.  He’ll hit a lot of home runs, strikeout a lot, and assuming he continues to work on his plate discipline, walk a lot.  So the question is will he hit enough to get to his power.  He’s still very young, but there is a lot of work left to do before we can put a high likelihood on that prediction.  He can be ignored in all but the deepest of Dynasty Leagues.

9. Austin Dean (OF)

2016 Age: 22 Ceiling: 2nd Div
Ht: 6-1 Weight: 190 Bats: Right Throws: Right ETA: 2017
2015 A+ 519 67 5 52 18 .268 .318 85.4 6.7 .299

Austin Dean was signed in the fourth round of the 2012 first year player draft out of Klein Collins High School in Texas.  The Marlins have been moving Dean slowly through the system and he’s been responding.  In 136 games in the Florida State League this year, he was able to control the strike zone well with 76 strikeouts and 39 walks over 578 plate appearances.  He also added five home runs and 18 stolen bases but was also caught 10 times.

Scouting Report: Dean has a quick and compact swing with plenty of bat speed.  His current swing mechanics point to more doubles power than over-the-fence power, but he has enough physicality to eventually change that.  Dean also has average foot speed but clearly needs to work on his base stealing ability as 18 stolen bases in 28 attempts will not cut it as he moves to the upper minors.

Dean’s contact rate has improved since he was drafted as has his ability to control the strike zone.  The upside could be a second division starter with 12 to 15 home runs with a .260 batting average and a .320 on-base percentage.

Fantasy Impact:  Dean is a player to be monitored in all Dynasty Leagues.  If the hit tool continues to develop, he could be rosterable in Dynasty Leagues with 300 or more minor league players.

10. Trevor Williams (RHP)

2016 Age: 24 Ceiling: #5 starter
Ht: 6-3 Weight: 230 Bats: Right Throws: Right ETA: 2016
Year Class IP H ER HR BB/9 K/9 ERA WHIP
2015 AA,AAA 131.0 141 56 9 2.95 6.94 3.85 1.40

At 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, Trevor Williams is a strong, solid right-handed pitcher that is getting very close to making his debut in the major leagues.  Drafted as a college junior out of Arizona State, he has pitched well in his three years in the minor leagues, posting a 3.35 ERA in 63 games.  While he lacks a quality out pitch, he knows how to pitch and has a chance to be a number five starter in the major leagues.

Scouting Report:  Williams pitches with an average fastball that sits 88 to 91 MPH (T94).  The pitch does play up as he’s able to throw it for strikes while pitching in bottom half of the zone.  His best secondary pitch is his curve ball.  He shows a feel for a change-up and just needs more time with the pitch to make it an average offering.

There is definite effort in Williams delivery but he gets good extension and momentum to the plate.  He is able to repeat his deliver which is leading to his excellent career 2.50 walk-per-nine rate.

Fantasy Impact:  Williams should see time in the major leagues in 2016 and therefore should be on all fantasy owner’s radar.  The question is…will he be any good?  Yeah, he should be alright with a chance for league average ratios and six to seven strikeouts per nine.  With his stuff, he should get a ton of ground balls and that should reduce the likelihood of big blowup innings.

2016 Emerging Prospect

Anfernee Seymour (2B)

Anfernee Seymour’s carrying tool is double-plus speed which he demonstrated by stealing 29 of 35 bases in the New York Penn League.  As a hitter, Seymour has a classic slappy approach where he is simply trying to put wood on the ball and use his legs to get on base.  The Marlins are working on adding strength so that Seymour can hang in better against hard throwers.  If that happens, he could…stress could…turn into a Dee Gordon type of player.  He’s someone to watch.

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