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Prospect Profiles: Miami Marlins

Prospect Profiles: Miami Marlins Image via Sportsgraphics36


A look at the farm system of the Miami Marlins

After finishing the season with a 79-82 record, the Miami Marlins entered the off-season with some questions. One of those questions arose when young and budding star Jose Fernandez was tragically killed in a boating accident in September. The loss of their ace prompted the Marlins to sign Edinson Volquez to a two-year deal this off-season. It is unclear if a pitcher with a 4.44 career ERA and 1.44 career WHIP can help a team that finished 2016 ranked 20th in team WAR.

By losing Fernandez, the Marlins are in a pinch with a club that is no better than .500.

Help is not on the way anytime soon either as the Marlins have one of the worst farm systems in the majors.

Here is a look at the top ten prospects in the Marlins weak system:

Braxton Garrett, LHP

Braxton Garrett was selected in the first round (7th overall) by the Miami Marlins in the 2016 MLB draft. Garrett is 19 years old and was drafted right out of high-school. He has an average fastball that sits around 90 MPH, but where he makes his living is with his curveball. Garrett struck out 131 batters in 65.1 innings pitched as a senior at Florence High.

To go along with his outstanding curveball, Garrett has shown a change-up that he is still developing.

Marlins fans did not get to see Garrett pitch in the minors in 2016 because the Marlins want to bring Garrett along slowly, but Braxton should hit the ground running in 2017.

If Garrett can add a tick or two to his fastball and bring his change-up along, he could become a force for opposing batters. With Edinson Volquez set to become a free agent in two years, and a Marlins starting rotation that does not have a true ace right now, Garrett could be exactly what the Marlins need. The only problem with that is Garrett is still about three or four years away and has not thrown a pitch in professional baseball.

ETA: 2021

Brian Anderson, 3B

Brian Anderson was taken in the third round of the 2014 draft by the Miami Marlins. Anderson began his career in Short-Season A ball and worked his way up to Full Season A by the end of the 2014 campaign. In 59 games between those two levels, Anderson hit .300 with 11 home runs and 49 RBI’s. Anderson also had a .363 OBP and a .496 slugging percentage.

Anderson was promoted to Single-A Advanced to begin the 2015 season and hit just .235 with eight home runs and 62 RBI’s in 132 games. His OBP dropped to .304 while his slugging percentage dropped to .340. After hitting .302 in 49 games at the same level in 2016, Anderson was promoted to Double-A. Again, his numbers dropped down as he hit .243 with eight home runs and 40 RBI’s in 86 games. He still had a respectable .330 OBP and a .359 slugging percentage.

If the trend holds, Anderson could be primed for a breakout campaign in 2017 at Double-A. He has solid power, but lacks the defensive skill to make an impact at the major league level.

With Martin Prado signed through the 2019 season, Anderson could be delayed a year from reaching the majors. Unless Prado’s production drops off or Anderson catches fire in the minors, Anderson will not have a position until at least 2020. That does not mean that Anderson will not get the call to the big league club sometime in 2018, but do not expect him to get much playing time until Prado is a free agent.

ETA: 2018

Jarlin Garcia, LHP

Jarlin Garcia was signed by the Miami Marlins out of the Dominican Republic in 2010. Then 18, Garcia is now 24 years old and getting old to still be a prospect. In 2011, Garcia pitched in the Dominican Summer League and made eight starts in 14 appearances. He tossed 52 innings and had a 3.29 ERA and a 5-5 record. At age 19, Garcia played at the rookie ball level for the Marlins and posted a 3.60 ERA in 12 appearances (4 starts). In 15 starts at Short Season A ball in 2013, Garcia had a 3.10 ERA with 74 strikeouts in 69.2 innings pitched.

Jarlin continued his rise through the minors in 2014 when he made 25 starts at Single-A Greensboro and racked up 111 strikeouts and a 4.39 ERA in 133.1 innings pitched.

He split the 2015 season between Single-A Advanced and Double-A, posting a 4-8 record and a 3.57 ERA in 25 starts. The following year, Garcia suffered a triceps injury that caused him to miss some time. The injury was suffered after Garcia returned to Double-A after a week on the major league roster. Garcia did not pitch in a major league game, but was with the team none the less. When healthy, Garcia posted a 1-3 record with a 3.73 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 50.2 innings pitched over three levels.

Right now, Garcia looks more like a reliever than a starter at the major league level. His fastball can hit 95 MPH, but his slider, curveball, and change-up all need work.

If he does end up in the bullpen for the Marlins, he will join good company led by A.J. Ramos and Kyle Barraclough.

Garcia’s short stint in the majors was just a taste compared to the action he should see in 2017.

ETA: 2017

Isael Soto, OF

Isael Soto was signed out of the Dominican Republic by the Miami Marlins in 2013. In 2014, at 17, Soto made his professional debut at the rookie ball level. He hit .251 with seven home runs and 23 RBI’s to go along with his .302 OBP and .426 slugging percentage. Soto started off the 2015 season in rookie ball, but earned a promotion after hitting .346 in seven games.

Soto split the 2015 season between three different levels, but never made it higher than Single-A. In 29 games, he hit just .171 with one home run and six RBI’s. His 43 strikeouts in 121 at-bats is a problem that Soto will need to address before he progresses much further in the minors.

Isael got a full season under his belt for the first time in 2016 at Single-A Greensboro. He hit .247 with nine home runs and 38 RBI’s in 113 games. Again, his strikeout problem reared its ugly head as he struck out 115 times in 448 plate appearances.

The power that Soto has could be a cause for all his swing and misses, but at 20 years old, he should have time to work out that problem.

With Giancarlo Stanton locked up on a 13-year deal, right field (where Soto has played most of his innings in the minors) seems to be accounted for.

Soto will either have to change positions or the Marlins will have to trade him because Stanton is not going anywhere for a long time.

ETA: 2020

Stone Garrett, OF

Stone Garrett was an eighth round selection by the Miami Marlins in 2014. He is another player who was drafted straight from high-school as he made his professional debut at age 18. In 2014, at the rookie ball level, Garrett played in 40 games and recorded a .236 batting average with a .269 OBP and 11 RBI’s. After a quick taste of professional baseball, Garrett was promoted to Short Season A ball where he hit .297 with 11 home runs and 46 RBI’s in 58 games.

Garrett split the 2016 season between rookie ball and Single-A as a hand injury kept him sidelined for the majority of the season. In the 55 games that Garrett played, he hit just .211 with six home runs and 16 RBI’s. The 6’2″ outfielder also struck out 74 times in just 221 plate appearances.

Stone has played all three outfield positions throughout his minor league career, but he has logged more innings in center field than left and right. The center field position is currently being held at the major league level by Marcell Ozuna. Ozuna is set to become a free agent in 2020 which is the same time that Garrett projects to be ready for the majors.

A full 2017 season from Garrett should give the Marlins a good idea of what they can expect from him moving forward. If Garrett can cut down on his strikeout rate, he should be in line to take over in the outfield for the Marlins in the next few years.

ETA: 2020

Tyler Kolek, RHP

Tyler Kolek was the second overall selection by the Miami Marlins in the 2014 MLB draft. Kolek is yet another player selected straight out of high-school by the Marlins. In 2014, Kolek made eight starts (nine appearances) in rookie level ball. In those starts, he had an 0-3 record with 18 strikeouts and a 4.50 ERA in 22 innings pitched.

Kolek was assigned to Single-A Greensboro to start the 2015 season. There, he made 25 starts and had a 4.56 ERA with 81 strikeouts in 108.2 innings pitched.

Kolek’s fastball touched 100 MPH in high-school, but that speed did not transfer to professional baseball as his fastball now sits around 93 MPH. He also has a solid change-up and breaking pitch that he can use to complement his fastball.

Last season was not a good one for Kolek as he missed the entire year after undergoing Tommy John surgery. It will be interesting to see what kind of impact the surgery will have on the 21 year old’s arm.

Kolek seems to be ahead of fellow prospect Braxton Garrett in the pipeline, but that could change if Kolek has problems after surgery.

ETA: 2020

Dillon Peters, LHP

Dillon Peters was drafted in the tenth round of the 2014 MLB draft by the Miami Marlins. Peters is just 5’9″ but can run a fastball up to as high as 94 MPH. With that pop, he recorded a 0.68 ERA in four starts at the rookie ball level to begin his professional career in 2015. Peters was then promoted to Short Season A ball where the competition caught back up with him as he posted a 4.83 ERA with 27 strikeouts and an 0-3 record in seven starts.

Peters began the 2016 season at Single-A Advanced where he posted a 2.46 ERA and an 11-6 record in 20 starts. He rode that success on to Double-A as he made four starts at that level in 2016, and posted a 1.99 ERA with 16 strikeouts and four walks in 22.2 innings pitched.

Last season, Peters threw 128.2 total innings, the most in his professional career. It will be interesting to see how his arm reacts to that workload in the 2017 season. If he can avoid the injury bug, Peters has the makeup to become a solid mid-rotation starter for the Marlins in about two years. Peters can mix in a curveball and change-up with his fastball to keep hitters guessing. His curveball is better than his change-up right now, but when he gains more feel for his change-up, he will be able to dominate hitters even more.

ETA: 2018

Edward Cabrera, RHP

Edward Cabrera was signed by the Miami Marlins out of the Dominican Republic in 2015, and began his professional career the following season. He made seven starts (11 appearances) for the Marlins in rookie ball last season, and posted a 4.21 ERA with 28 strikeouts and ten walks in 47 innings pitched.

Cabrera has a fastball that sits around 94 MPH. His secondary pitches are still developing, but there is a chance that he can have a good curveball and possibility change-up. If Cabrera could develop a solid third pitch, it could keep him out of the bullpen, but if he does not develop a good third pitch, he may end up in the bullpen at the higher levels.

The 6’4″ righty is about four years away from impacting this Marlins club, but if he puts in the work in the minor leagues, he could become a force at the major league level.

ETA: 2021

Thomas Jones, OF

Thomas Jones was drafted by the Miami Marlins in the third round of the 2016 draft. Once again, the Marlins drafted another young player straight out of high-school.

Jones made his professional debut last year and hit .234 with a .380 OBP and .313 slugging percentage. He also added in six RBI’s and six stolen bases to go along with his 11 walks and three doubles.

With his well above average speed, Jones has been used solely as a center fielder in his short minor league career. Right now, he and Stone Garrett are projected to make their major league debuts in the same season. That is a problem because both Garrett and Jones play the same position. One way around this problem is to move Garrett to a corner at the major league level (if the roster permits), or simply trade either Garrett or Jones. Jones has the better speed of the two, but Garrett seems to have more power at this point.

Jones has shown that he is good at getting on base, and that could be his ticket onto a major league roster in the next few years.

ETA: 2020

Drew Steckenrider, RHP

Drew Steckenrider was drafted in the eighth round of the 2012 draft by the Miami Marlins. He started his professional career in Short Season A ball in 2012, posting a 3.72 ERA in 36.1 innings pitched. Steckenrider eventually worked his way up to Single-A Advanced during the 2015 campaign. There, he made eight starts (15 appearances), and posted a 3.18 ERA with 44 strikeouts and 25 walks in 56.2 innings pitched.

Steckenrider spilt the 2016 season between three levels (Single-A Advanced, Double-A, and Triple-A), making 40 appearances. In those 40 appearances, Steckenrider recorded a 1-1 record with 71 strikeouts, 19 walks, and a 2.08 ERA in 52 innings pitched.

To start the 2016 season, Steckenrider made the switch to become a full-time reliever and it has paid off as he is on the fast-track to the big leagues. Steckenrider has a fastball that runs about 96 MPH, and a below average slider and change-up. The lack of secondary pitches is a big reason why Drew will be pitching out of the bullpen for the rest of his career.

Steckenrider should become a middle to late inning reliever for the Marlins in 2017. If he can draw off some of the success that he had in 2016, he could be an important piece to this Marlins bullpen next season.

ETA: 2017

Just Missed:

Austin Dean, outfielder, .238 batting average, 11 home runs, 67 RBI’s in 130 games at Double-A in 2016.

Jeff Brigham, RHP, 7-8 record, 4.04 ERA, 112 strikeouts, 47 walks in 122.2 innings pitched at Single-A Advanced in 2016.

The Miami Marlins have a top ten prospect list that is full of young players that they drafted straight out of high-school. While they may have been the best talent available, that now means that most of their top prospects are still about three years away. The Marlins do have two pitching prospects who are slated to make their debuts in 2017. Both look like they could be bullpen arms, so that will help shore up any holes that they may have.

Overall, the Marlins will have to wait until 2020 for much of their top prospects to start making it to the majors. That could be a problem for a team that finished below .500 in 2016 and lost their ace this off-season.