The MLB Prospect Portal series 'Prospect Pulse' brings you the latest performance updates from Top Prospects around baseball. The focus of the series is on statistical production rather than scouting projection.
Jose Fernandez (RHP) made the Marlins Opening Day roster after pitching just 138.1 combined minor league innings. He made a dramatic Major League debut against the New York Mets on April 7th, pitching five strong innings. He allowed just three hits, a walk and one earned run, while striking out eight batters. His best start of his young Major League career came on May 4th, as he threw seven shutout innings against the Philadelphia Phillies. He allowed just one hit and one walk, and struck out nine. On the season, Fernandez is 2-2 with a 3.48 ERA and 1.16 WHIP, and he's struck out 44 batters in 44 innings pitched. Those are impressive numbers for a 20-year-old pitching at the big league level.
Christian Yelich (OF) had his season delayed by injury, played one game with the Class-A+ Jupiter Hammerheads, and then was promoted to Double-A Jacksonville. In 23 games with the Suns, Yelich is batting .337/.409/.705 with a whopping six home runs, nine doubles and four triples. He's also driven in 23 runs, scored 23 himself, and has posted a 13/26 BB:K ratio. The left-handed swinging Yelich has absolutely dominated right-handed pitchers, batting .397 against them, compared to just .219 against left-handers.
Jake Marisnick (OF) also had his season delayed due to injury, but has played 16 games since returning. He played three games with Class-A+ Jupiter before being promoted to Double-A Jacksonville. He's combined to hit .232/.276/.362 through his first 69 at-bats, with two home runs, two doubles and nine RBI's. He's also scored nine runs, stolen four bases, and posted a 3/15 BB:K ratio.
Justin Nicolino (LHP) was promoted to the Class-A+ Florida State League, after being acquired in the blockbuster offseason trade with the Toronto Blue Jays. Through his first eight starts for Class-A+ Jupiter, Nicolino has posted a 3.32 ERA in 40.2 innings pitched. He's allowed 45 hits and eight walks, while recording 20 strikeouts. His strikeout rate is down significantly from 2012, when he struck out 119 batters in 124.1 innings pitched for the Blue Jays' Class-A affiliate, the Lansing Lugnuts. Nicolino's best start of the season came on April 16th against Bradenton, when he pitched five shutout innings, allowing just one hit and striking out two batters.
Marcell Ozuna (OF) played in four games for Class-A+ Jupiter before being promoted to the Jacksonville Suns for his first taste of Double-A ball. He absolutely tore up the Southern League in 10 games, batting .333/.383/.810 with five home runs, three doubles, a triple and 15 RBI's. He was then summoned to Miami by the Marlins to replace an injured Giancarlo Stanton. Ozuna got off to a strong start with a six game hit streak, that saw him record multiple hits in three of the games, including a 4-for-5 performance with two doubles, three RBI's and three runs scored against the Philadelphia Phillies on May 5th. Through his first 15 big league games, Ozuna is batting .298/.333/.474 with a home run, five doubles, a triple and six RBI's.
Zack Cox (3B) returned to Double-A Jacksonville to open the 2013 season, and was off to a strong start in rebuilding his prospect status before hitting the seven day minor league disabled list. He hasn't played since April 28th. In the 19 games before that, Cox was hitting .328/.438/.426 with four doubles, a triple and a 12/11 BB:K ratio.
Adam Conley (LHP) was promoted to Double-A Jacksonville after a very strong 2012 season that he split between Class-A Greensboro and Class-A+ Jupiter. Through his first eight starts in 2013, Conley is 3-1 with a 4.62 ERA. In 37 innings pitched, he's allowed 32 hits and 10 walks, while recording 33 strikeouts. He's had two very dominant starts so far this season, the first one being his first start of the season when he pitched five shutout innings against the Jackson Generals, allowing just one hit while striking out eight batters. Then on May 11th, Conley pitched six shutout innings against Pensacola, against allowing just one hit. He also racked up five strikeouts in the outing.
J.T. Realmuto (C) was promoted to Double-A Jacksonville for the 2013 season and he's batting .220/.288/.339 through his first 32 games. In 118 at-bats, Realmuto has hit two home runs, six doubles and legged out a triple. He's also posted a 10/24 BB:K ratio, driven in seven runs and scored 10. Surprisingly, he's struggling against left-handed pitchers so far, as he's gone just 4-for-32 (.125). He's really struggled to hit with runners on base (.184) and with runners in scoring position (.105).
Jose Urena (RHP) was assigned to Class-A+ Jupiter after a very strong first full minor league season with Class-A Greensboro in 2012. Through his first eight appearances (seven starts) for Jupiter, Urena has a 5.02 ERA. He's actually pitched much better than that ERA would lead you to believe, as he's allowed 36 hits and just nine walks, while striking out 29 batters in 37.2 innings. If you eliminate his relief appearance back on April 4th, Urena's starter's ERA is 4.50. He's still working on consistency as he's had several strong starts this season, but two rough outings have hurt his overall numbers. His best start of the season came on April 15th against Bradenton, when he pitched six shutout innings, allowing just one hit and one walk, while recording four strikeouts.
Mason Hope (RHP) was promoted to Class-A Greensboro to make his full season debut in 2013 after a stellar performance in the Class-A SS NY-Penn League with the Jamestown Jammers. Through his first seven starts in 2013, Hope has posted a 5.63 ERA, in large part due to a high number of walks. He's allowed 33 hits and 19 walks in 32 innings pitched, and has struck out 25 batters. The former 2011 fifth round pick is doing a good job of inducing groundouts as he's posted a 1.58 GO/AO ratio so far. He's actually pitched better than his ERA would indicate, as he's allowed three earned runs or less in five of his seven starts so far.