Tragedy struck the Marlins in September with the death of Jose Fernandez. How do they cope going into the 2017 with the loss of their ace and clubhouse leader? There is no way the club nor someone currently on the pitching staff can replace the caliber of player/character that was Jose Fernandez. The Marlins have been busy trying to shore up the rotation by making moves for Edinson Volquez, Jeff Locke, and most recently Dan Straily. The trade for Straily, from the Reds, included past UTR-OAS arms Austin Brice (2014) and Luis Castillo (2015). Castillo would have repeated this season, coming in at #4 below. The Reds receive a power arm that should start 2017 at Double-A and could very well work his way forward as Cincinnati’s future closer.
Some of the notable UTR’s who worked their way to Miami from the 2014 Organizational All-Star list were Ryan Newell, Jose Adames and Jarlin Garcia. Domingo German was also ranked in 2014 but was traded to the New York Yankees in the Nathan Eovaldi deal. Newell was my “One to Watch” heading into the 2014 season. He’ bounced back and forth from HiA (2015) and Double-A (2016) into the lower levels for an undisclosed reason, though an injury would be the most obvious.
Adames and Garcia both appeared in the 2015 UTR-OAS edition and earned the “Legit UTR” moniker. Adames repeated at LoA Greensboro and HiA Jupiter, but this time in a bullpen role due to his struggles with control (1.64 K/BB) in 2015. Things didn’t fare better in 2016, as the 23 year-old righty made 37 appearances posting a 6.38 ERA. Garcia began last season at Double-A Jacksonville and was having a strong April and May, before an injury (tricep) derailed him for the next two months. He came back in August and rehabbed from the bullpen in the GCL and HiA. Look for Garcia to make the push to Miami where he could help in eating some innings as a back-of-the-rotation type. The “One to Watch from 2015 was Ben Holmes, who also has moved into the relief role. The 9th round pick from 2014 had a successful 2016 (1.18 ERA in 35 apps/1 start) between Greensboro and Jupiter.
Coming into the 2016 season, my system fell in love with Chris Paddack and was named as the 2016 “One to Watch”. Though six starts, the 2015 8th round selection was blowing through hitters at LoA Greensboro, as a 20 year-old. At mid-season, the Marlins were 6.5 games back in the NL East and looking strong in the Wild Card standings. They traded Paddack to San Diego in acquiring Fernando Rodney prior to the All-Star Break. Stay tuned in late March to see where Paddack falls within the Padres UTR-OAS system when I post the NL West.
It wasn’t a good year internationally for the DSL Marlins in posting a 10-56 record. It would take some time to vet the DSL pitchers through my system, and on paper, nobody really stands out. Past graduates from that system to keep a sharp eye that were in the GCL in 2016 are: Eliezer Cuello, Humberto Mejia (2016 International Watch), and Alberto Guerrero.
Top 5 Starting Pitchers – Factor Score / TPS
1. LHP Dillon Peters – 22 / .109
23 years old – (HiA Jupiter / Double-A Jacksonville)
10th round – 2014
The say “Big things come in small packages” and with Peters’ measuring-in at 5″9″ 195 lbs, his mound presence isn’t what you can say…towering. The hang-up on his size is one thing, but also toss-in that he had TJ surgery prior to the draft and his lacking pitch repertoire, doesn’t spell a high-ceiling for the lefty. But don’t expect to see the term LOOGY associated with Peters. His pro debut began with the GCL Marlins where he tallied a 1-4 record with a 3.60 ERA, 40 strikeouts, and 13 walks over 45 innings (4 starts). In 2016, the Marlins skipped Peters over LoA Greensboro to HiA Jupiter. He had a breakout season and finished strong with his promotion to Double-A Jupiter. He logged 128.2 innings in 24 starts and posted 5.56 K/BB ratio. The Marlins were impressed enough with Peters’ performance in 2016 to offer him an invite to Spring Training.
During a Baseball America chat, Vince Lara-Cinisomo gave Mike Leake and Tom Koehler comps to Poteet, as an innings eating type. He looked the part of a 4th rounder (UCLA) with his strong first full season after only 5 appearances (4 starts) at Batavia in his pro debut. Poteet usually pitches to contact with an upper 80’s fastball, only allowed 108 hits in 117.1 innings, but has a knee-binding curveball.
Tough to get a read on Farnworth. His Factor Score buoyed him into the rankings, but his TPS number is left to be desired. I must relay that the right-hander moved-up the OAS scale only because Luis Castillo and Michael Mader were traded away by the Marlins. As I stated above, Castillo was sent to the Reds. Mader would have repeated this year, but was traded to the Atlanta Braves for LHP Hunter Cervenka. Farnsworth started the season from the bullpen at Greensboro, then to the rotation from late May to late July. He didn’t strikeout many (59 in 105.2 IP) and gave up too many dingers (1.9 HR9), which will elevate the Total Performance Score. The Marlins did promote Farnworth to HiA Jupiter, placing him back in the bullpen. Overall, his numbers as a starter were much better than that from the Pen, so we have to see were the chips fall in 2017 for the 23 year-old.
It Cavanerio’s season was a series of ebbs and flows. He started the season slowly before tag-teaming with three relief pitchers for a combined no-hitter on May 5th. From that moment, up until June 21st, we saw flashes of Cavanerio’s potential. During that period, the young righty made 9 starts going 5-3 with a 1.74 ERA along with 30/8 K/BB rate in 51.2 innings. Overall the 21 year-old proved hittable (156 in 128.1), but held his own at the Hi-A level with a 3.48 K/BB ratio.
The UTR silo for the Marlins is pretty much depleted once you get past Brigham on my list. This is what happens when you mortgage the farm in trying to break a streak of non-winning season. Brigham came to the Marlins by way of the Dodgers in convoluted 3-team, 13 player deal at the 2015 trade deadline. Brigham hasn’t yet show the wares to move him up the ladder in repeating HiA in 2016 as a 24 year old. The Marlins were taking a hard-throwing (mid 90’s FB) right-hander, but lacks a changeup. His fastball will touch in the upper 90’s, so he may be destined for duty in the bullpen.
Top 3 Relief Pitchers – Factor Score / TPS
1. LHP Jose Quijada – 9 / .064