- C – John Silviano – 21 yo
- 2.70/.696 – PAG/APPA – (LoA Greensboro)
- 2016 stats: .212/.281/.449; .729 OPS; 13 doubles, 8 home runs
I take pride in being honest with both myself and mostly readers when analyzing an organization and their positions. Yesterday, the Braves commenced the N.L. side of our Organizational All-Star series offering quite a current wash at the catcher position. Two things: 1) Marlins fans should be thrilled to have an exciting young player like J.T. Realmuto behind the plate because, 2) based on 2016 stats alone, there isn’t much for fans to be excited about in the minors. Twenty five year old Tomas Telis and 2015 – 6th rounder Justin Cohen are the only two backstops listed within MLB Pipeline’s Marlins top 30. Telis (pronounced ‘the-liss’) is past UTR criteria; and Cohen has only played 22 games in the last two seasons because of right hand and left hip injuries, but shows promise due to his athleticism, supreme defense and bat potential. Next up is Silviano, whose first three seasons came from within the Blue Jays organization. Toronto drafted the 5’11”- 190 pounder out of Summit Christian School (West Palm Beach, FL) mostly for his defense. He possesses plus arm strength and regularly posted sub-2 pop times. The bat however didn’t translate. In 80 games (over three seasons) with Toronto, Silviano posted a P/A of 1.74/.541. He left the organization to attend Lynn University (Boca Raton, FL) and in his only season with the Fighting Knights he batted .405, hit 31 homers and drove in 75 in 51 games. So, where did that go? I’m hoping Silviano can soon tap into the collegiate-version of his resume and give Miami another viable backstop, because Silviano obviously has some tools to work with.
- 1B – Colby Lusignan – 23 yo
- 3.13/.714 combined – PAG/APPA – (GCL – 3.42/.779; Short Season Batavia – 2.11/.487)
- 2016 stats: .267/.379/.390; .770 OPS; 10 doubles, 2 home runs
One of the more exciting times of the baseball season is the MLB trade deadline. Of course there have been trades on the final day (July 31), but a good portion of deals occur days before. This past July, the 29th to be exact, the Marlins and Padres completed a deal that sent major league starters Andrew Cashner, Colin Rea and minor league pitcher Tayron Guerrero to the Marlins for starting pitcher Jarred Cosart, reliever Carter Capps, minor league starter Luis Castillo and first baseman Josh Naylor. Some deals make you say, “That was a good trade for both clubs” while others make you shake your head and ask, “Why?” In reference to the Marlins minor league first base landscape, this one left me asking a resounding “Why?” Josh Naylor was THE first baseman of the future for Miami. The 2015 Canadian first-rounder has it all: Plus-plus power, bat speed and advanced hand/eye coordination. What makes this a tough pill to swallow is there wasn’t and currently isn’t much behind him in the minors. Once Naylor was dealt, that moved Colby Lusignan to the UTR OAS list. He didn’t have a bad season. He beat up GCL pitching (3.5 years his younger) batting .267 with a .367 on-base percentage. He was promoted to the New York-Penn League in late July and in 9 games hit .091 with one double and 19 strikeouts. The Division II Lander University grad has big time power, but the conclusion to the 2016 season isn’t the way you want to bring up the rear after the organization trades one of the system’s top first base (and overall) hitting prospects.
- 2B – Justin Twine – 20 yo
- 2.22/.570 combined – PAG/APPA – (LoA Greensboro)
- 2016 stats: .249/.308/.334; .643 OPS; 17 doubles, 3 home runs
As we move onto the second base vector for the Marlins, the low minors proved to be rather dismal in 2016. The only prospect worth any statistical recognition is 2014 – 2nd rounder Justin Twine. Drafted out of Falls City HS (TX) the 5’11”- 205 lb. righty was assigned to the Gulf Coast League. He logged 44 games and batted .229 with 8 doubles, a home run, but posted a dreadful 9-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio. The following season Twine received a promotion to LoA Greensboro. He rapped out 20 doubles, hit seven home runs, but the colossal walk-to-strikeout ratio actually grew, as he drew only six free passes to 108 strikeouts. That’s 12 walks to 160 strikeouts in his first two seasons folks. Twine repeated LoA in 2016 and showed minor improvement despite moving from shortstop to second base. Scouts say Twine fails to recognize breaking stuff, his plate approach has no plan and his overall athleticism is severely hampered by weight gain. All this adds up to the notion that Miami fans should overly appreciate Dee Gordon as well as high minors multi-positional prospect J.T. Riddle. You can say all you want about how a player projects. But does any of that matter if he just isn’t getting it done on the field? Twine has a long way to go.
- 3B – Brian Anderson – 23 yo
- 2.81/.687 combined – PAG/APPA – (HiA Jupiter – 3.20/.784; Double A Jacksonville – 2.58/.643)
- 2016 stats combined: .265/.348/.389; .737 OPS; 21 doubles, 11 home runs
Now, we’re finally talking about some substance. Despite Brian Anderson not being the only prospect who garnered heavy OAS consideration, choosing the 6’3″- 185 lb. righty is partly because of UTRMinors history. After Anderson was drafted in the 3rd round back in 2014 out of the University of Arkansas, he was assigned to Short Season Batavia. After spending only 20 games with the Muckdogs, he packed his bags for LoA Greensboro of the Sally League. Between these two stops, Anderson posted a combined P/A of 3.75/.860, which helped him become UTRMinors inaugural Miami Marlin’s Organizational All-Star third baseman. Anderson spent the following season with HiA Jupiter and saw his batting average and P/A dip (.235/2.39/.596), but the power Miami saw when they drafted him began to show, as he hit 20 doubles and blasted eight home runs for the Hammerheads. Anderson began 2016 with Jupiter then received a late May promotion to Double A Jacksonville. He may not be the sexiest third base prospect in the minors, but the Marlins sorely need him. With added experience, strength and polish to his overall game, Anderson could soon entrench himself into the Marlins everyday lineup within the next season or two. Which could be an interesting story to follow with All-Star veteran Martin Prado signed through the 2019 season.
- SS – JJ Gould – 22 yo
- 2.66/.639 combined – PAG/APPA – (Short Season Batavia – 2.68/.634; LoA Greensboro – 2.55/.667)
- 2016 stats combined: .227/.306/.403; .709 OPS; 15 doubles, 9 home runs
The Marlins selected the 6’0″- 195 lb. righty out of Jacksonville University (FL) in the 24th round of the 2016 draft. Gould came to Miami after quite the trek through the collegiate ranks. Gould walked onto Florida State out of Sarasota HS (FL), but only logged seven at-bats in 15 games. He transferred to Eastern Florida State College the following season and hit .325, scored 42 runs and drove in 27 in 47 games. The following season he fled to Jacksonville University and in 55 games for the Dolphins posted a slash line of .272/.362/.377/.739. The Marlins saw conceivable power potential and after drafting Gould, assigned him to Short Season Batavia. He led the Muckdogs in doubles, home runs, slugging percentage and total bases. Gould was promoted to LoA Greensboro in late August, but struggled batting .154, drawing two walks to 19 strikeouts, but he did pop three home runs. This is another situation where there’s really nothing sexy here. Gould does have nice sleeper potential on both sides of the ball. However, Gould has a long way to go to become an impactful prospect at a position in the system that could really use one.
- LF – Dexter Kjerstad – 22 yo
- 2.66/.639 combined – PAG/APPA – (Short Season Batavia – 2.68/.634; LoA Greensboro – 2.55/.667)
- 2016 stats combined: .227/.306/.403; .709 OPS; 15 doubles, 9 home runs
Nearly 27 percent of MLB Pipeline’s current top 30 are outfielders, led by 2012 – 4th rounder Austin Dean. A Klein Collins HS (Spring, TX) draftee, Dean spent all of 2016 with Double-A Jacksonville. In 130 games he posted a 2.74/.664, batted .238 with 23 doubles, 11 homers, 67 RBi’s and 60 runs scored. Aside from his batting average, this sounds like your prototypical future left fielder. So, when we here face a situation like this, it can actually help us choose an OAS. Actually, I sometimes have to remind myself that this isn’t an organizational breakdown; and one thing I’ve learned is in order to be successful in fantasy leagues, know the top performers, and most importantly, positional pecking order. This brings me to Dexter Kjerstad. The 6’1″- 210 pounder traveled a rather lengthy road to the Marlins. He was drafted in 2010 by the Cincinnati Reds out of Canyon Randall HS (Amarillo, TX), but opted not to sign, heading to the University of Texas. In his freshman year, he scored a solitary run in only five game appearances. He transferred to Howard College (Big Spring, TX) for his sophomore season and batted .329 with five homers and 10 stolen bases. This helped springboard Kjerstad to transfer to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette for his junior year. He proceeded to lead the Sun Belt Conference in batting with a .388 average and 99 hits. This garnered attention from the Kansas City Royals. So, instead of playing his senior season with the Ragin’ Cajuns, Kjerstad chose to sign a free-agent contract with the Royals. He debuted in 2014 in the LoA Sally League and posted an 80-game P/A of 2.64/.699. After one season, Kjerstad also logged playing time for Amarillo of the Independent League, then finished the 2015 season with HiA Wilmington. He batted .247 with only six extra base hits in 51 games. This season with the Marlins, he led all Miami prospects HiA down in home runs and ranked fourth among all full-season prospects in hits with 105. Despite the respectable production, I don’t think Kjerstad will be anything more than organization filler. Especially with the current log jam of younger outfielders gracing the system.
- CF – Rosandel Reyna – 19 yo
- 3.35/.763 – PAG/APPA – (DSL Marlins)
- 2016 stats: .323/.402/.448; .850 OPS; 2 doubles, 9 triples; 6 stolen bases
I’ve always made pretty clear that I’m not big on player comparisons. I recently had a discussion with a fellow fantasy league mate about some of yesterday’s Atlanta Braves prospects, but the most talked about future Brave however was Venezuelan teenager Kevin Maitan. Several mainstream prospect outlets have already given him quite lofty player comparisons such as Miguel Cabrera and former legendary Atlanta Brave third baseman Chipper Jones. Now, I don’t find anything wrong with comparisons, but it just isn’t my thing. I’d rather see a kid become/find himself than try living up to the expectations of others. The ironic part is I’d rather compare stats, particularly when it comes to our UTRs because that’s pretty much how Under the Radar began. This brings me to 19-year-old Dominican Rosandel Reyna, and how he compared to Marlins top outfield prospect, 2016 – 3rd rounder out of Laurens HS (SC) Thomas Jones. I’ll reiterate. It’s a stat comparison. I’m not claiming Reyna is a better prospect than Jones, who’s deemed the top overall athlete in the organization. But when it came to 2016, Reyna finished atop the P/A rankings. In only 26 games with the DSL Marlins, the 5’10”- 165 lb. switch-hitter led the DSL Marlin squad in triples, batting and stolen bases, on-base percentage and OPS, while finishing in the team’s top five in hits (31), runs scored (15), RBi’s (11) and total bases (43). Like Reyna, Jones made his debut in 2016, but in the Gulf Coast League, where he posted a respectable 19-game P/A of 2.84/.675. It’s easy to view a fundamental comparison to see that Reyna led Jones in several categories having played 9 more games. But again, we’re not here to compare and replace. Just add another player to the prospect mix and point out that (based on stats alone) guys like Reyna shouldn’t be ignored.
- RF – John Norwood – 23 yo
- 2.89/.691 – PAG/APPA – (HiA Jupiter)
- 2016 stats: .271/.347/.397; .744 OPS; 24 doubles, 9 home runs; 14 stolen bases
It’s fairly easy to see why the Marlins list 19-year-old Dominican Isael Soto as one of their brightest young stars. He has all the makings of a prototypical right fielder. He became the inaugural Miami Marlins right field Organizational All-Star after posting a 2.76/.693 P/A in his pro debut with the Gulf Coast League in 2014 as a 17-year-old. Do I think Soto could see Marlins Park in the future? Heck yeah I do. Especially after his first showing in full-season ball with LoA Greensboro this past season. However, the UTR OAS nod this season goes to another kid I highlighted as last year’s Marlins UTR Organizational All-Star, 2011 – 12th rounder John Norwood. The former Seton Hall Prep School (West Orange, NJ) draftee played all year for HiA Jupiter and led the team in runs scored (68), hits (127) doubles and total bases (186). One thing that stood out (for me personally) is how Norwood’s success in 2015 with LoA Greensboro was in a sense given an asterisk, mostly because it was highly likely that he was going to receive a promotion to HiA Jupiter in 2016 (which he did) and his numbers might prototypically suffer due to the Florida State League’s “where hitters go to die” reputation. Sure, the 6’1″- 185 lb. righty clubbed seven fewer home runs this season than in 2015, but his batting average improved (.233 to .271), he scored 15 more runs and posted career highs in on-base percentage, slugging and OPS. Let’s see if Norwood can keep going. He should see a promotion to Double-A Jacksonville in 2017 and if he stays consistent with his 2015 and 2016 numbers, you’ll have to add him into the Marlins prospect discussion.
PitchersTragedy 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.
- 22 years old – (LoA Greensboro)
- 4th round- 2015
- 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.
- 22 years old – (LoA Greensboro / HiA Jupiter)
- 23rd round – 2014
- 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.
- 21 years old – (HiA Jupiter)
- International Free Agent – 2011
- 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.
- 24 years old – (HiA Jupiter)
- 4th round – 2014
- 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.
- 20 years old – (LoA Greensboro / HiA Jupiter)
- International Free Agent – 2013
- 23 years old – (LoA Greensboro / HiA Jupiter)
- 16th round – 2014
- 23 years old – (LoA Greensboro)
- 18th round – 2015