Miami Marlins Top 10 Prospects for 2012
1. OF Christian Yelich
- Scouting Report: 2010 MLB Draft Scouting Report
- Video: HR for Westlake High School (thanks to YouTube user VegasScout)
- Video: playing for Greensboro Grasshoppers (thanks to YouTube user bbnewshound):
- Video: hitting a walkoff HR for Greensboro (thanks to YouTube user HoppinFun):
Yelich was the best overall hitter in the Marlins system in 2011, hitting .312/.388/.484 in 461 at-bats. He hit 15 HR, hit 32 doubles and stole 32 bases, showing the kind of five-tool potential the former first-round pick has. Drafted 23rd overall in 2010, Yelich has immediately distinguished himself as the best prospect in Miami's system. He's got a good approach at the plate, and doesn't struggle with lefties as much as many left-handed hitters do. He'll spend all of 2012 in Class-A+ at 20 years old, unless he tears the cover off the ball and earns a promotion up to Double-A Jacksonville. He played centre and leftfield in 2011, and the Marlins would love for him to stay in the middle as he develops, but his speed and arm profile better in left. The Marlins have no issue promoting young players to the Majors, but would be served best giving Yelich another two full seasons in the minors before having him compete for a job in Miami. He's got the bat to be a average-to-plus hitter with average power in the big leagues, giving the Marlins yet another talented young outfielder.
2. 3B Matt Dominguez
- Scouting Report: 2007 MLB Draft Scouting Report
- Scouting Report: MLB Prospect Portal: Spring Training | 2011 Arizona Fall League
- Video: pitch-by-pitch at-bat | throwing | vs. Pirates RHP Gerrit Cole | RBI single
- Video: hitting a HR to LF during 2011 Spring Training:
Dominguez was tabbed as the potential starting third baseman for the Marlins going into the 2011 season, but he struggled during spring training and then had his left elbow fractured when he was hit by a pitch on April 1st. He spent the majority of the season in the minors after recovering from injury, but made his Major League debut in September.
He's playing in the 2011 Arizona Fall League to make up for some of those lost at-bats, and to continue to work on his offensive game, which is the only thing left holding him back from taking over the full-time thid base job in Miami. In over 1700 career minor league at bats, Dominguez is just a .255/.325/.418 hitter so there's still improvements to be made for this youngster. He's just 22 years old so the Marlins still have plenty for Dominguez to become a stronger, more polished hitter.
3. RHP Jose Fernandez
- Scouting Report: 2011 MLB Draft Scouting Report
- Video: warming up during AFLAC All-American Game (thanks to YouTube user farmsystem):
- Video: pitching in the 2010 AFLAC All-American Game (thanks to YouTube user rkyosh007):
- Video: pitching for the Short-Season Jamestown Jammers (thanks to YouTube user allendale101):
Fernandez was the Marlins first pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, and the team and the player are very familiar with each other. He was born in Cuba, but played baseball at Braulio Alonso High School in Tampa, Florida where he became just the second player ever drafted from the school. After signing, Fernandez got his feet wet with a start in the GCL and a start for Short-Season Jamestown, where he didn't fare well. It will be interesting to see whether Miami assigns the 19-year-old to full season Class-A Greensboro in 2012, or keeps him in extended spring and has him make a few more starts with Jamestown before advancing to the next level.
Fernandez throws a power fastball in the high 90's, and he keeps hitters off balance with a slider and developing changeup. He's also praised for his mound presence and has very good control for pitcher drafted out of high school. He instantly has one of the highest ceilings in the Miami system, so the Marlins will definitely take their time developing him.
4. OF Marcell Ozuna
- Video: hitting a 2-run double for Class-A Greensboro (thanks to MiLB.com)
- Video: batting for Greensboro (thanks to YouTube user WHils7):
Ozuna has displayed the best power in the Marlins minor league system since OF Mike Stanton took his talents to South Beach. However, it has come at the lower level. Ozuna exploded onto the scene in 2010 hitting 21 HR in just 68 games with the Short-Season Jamestown Jammers, for a ridiculous .289 isolated power, which would have put him in the 90th percentile among Major League hitters according to FanGraphs. Ozuna played full season ball in 2011, joining the Class-A Greensboro Grasshoppers. His ISO dropped to just .216 and it took him nearly twice as many games to reach the 20 plateau, hitting 23 in 131 games. On the bright side though, Ozuna improved both his walk rate and strikeout rate from 2010. His strikeout rate dropped drastically, from 37% in 2010 to just 21.9% in 2011. The pitcher friendly Class-A+ Florida State League should be an interesting challenge for the 21 year-old Ozuna in 2012. If he can continue to improve his strikeout and walk rates and is able to maintain his isolated power, the Marlins might have a very valuable big leaguer on their hands by 2014.
5. LHP Chad James
- Scouting Report: Baseball America 2009
- Video: pitching for the Class-A+ Jupiter Hammerheads (thanks to YouTube user baseballinstinct):
James is a prime example of why it's important not to read too much into the win-loss records for minor league prospects. Since being the 18th pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, James has posted a combined 10-25 record, for a measly .286 winning percentage. However, despite the poor record, he's got good stuff, with a plus fastball that sits in the low 90's, a sharp-breaking curveball and the feel for changeup that rates out as a future plus pitch. That's a pretty good arsenal, especially for a left-hander
He took the step up to the Class-A+ Florida State League in 2011 where he showed improvements. His ERA dropped by almost a run and a half, and he was able to throw a lot more strikes. James lowered his BB/9 rate from 5.1 in 2010 to 3.1 in 2011, showing great improvement and perhaps explaining why he got hit so much more. Trying to throw more strikes to get ahead in the counts may have made James a bit predictable as he surrendered 10.4 hits per 9 innings, and his K/9 rate dipped a little. That said, James has enough starts under his belt that he could pitch in Double-A as a 21-year-old next season. That being said, there's no rush and the Marlins could reap real rewards by starting him off back in the FSL in 2012. A good start could kick start his development. Watch for a possible breakout in 2012.
6. LHP Rob Rasmussen
- Scouting Report: 2010 MLB Draft Scouting Report | Baseball Prospect Report
- Video: warming up for UCLA | pitching for UCLA (thanks to YouTube user rkyosh007)
- Video: warming up for UCLA (thanks to YouTube user rkyosh007):
Rasmussen was the Marlins second-round pick in 2010 and made an impressive debut in the Class-A+ Jupiter Hammerheads rotation in 2011. He made 27 starts and logged 148 innings, striking out 118 batters while walking 71. He commands four pitches (low 90's fastball, slider, curveball, changeup) that he can throw for strikes, but will need to do a better job pitching ahead in the count and throwing the correct pitch at the correct time to miss more bats and induce weaker contact.
Rasmussen is a dogged competitor who's repetoire plays up in stints out of the bullpen. He projects as a possible mid rotation starter, but could move quicker in the bullpen. He'll give the rotation a shot with Double-A Jacksonville in 2012, with the bullpen a fallback options for the Marlins.
7. C J.T. Realmuto
- Video: hitting a home run in high school (thanks to YouTube user OKSportsExpress):
Realmuto will move up to the Class-A+ Florida State League in 2012 and it will be interesting to see if he's able to sustain his offensive success in the more pitcher friendly league. Known as a leader, it will also be interesting to see how he handles the Jupiter Hammerheads pitching staff, as he continues developing into a potential asset on both sides of the ball for the Marlins.
8. SS Noah Perio
- Video: batting for Greensboro (thanks to YouTube user WHils7):
Perio had a very strong first full season with Class-A Greensboro in 2011, hitting .295/.323/.406 with 6 HR and 15 stolen bases. His 30 doubles and 144 hits were also good indicators of the young middle infielders offensive potential. He has plus speed, but is still learing how to steal bases. He has the quickness to play shorstop, but his average arm may play better at second base. He has a good line drive swing to all fields and his averages didn't drop much against left-handed pitchers, which is always a good sign for a left-handed batter. Perio also posted consistent splits throughout the season, showing his consistency at the plate. He'll be just 20 years old for the entire 2012 season, which he'll likely start with the Class-A+ Jupiter Hammerheads in the Florida State League.
9. LHP Adam Conley
- Scouting Report: Baseball America
- Video: pitching for Washington State (thanks to YouTube user KXLY):
10. RHP Mason Hope
- Scouting Report: Baseball Prospect Report
- Video: pitching for the GCL Marlins (thanks to YouTube user baseballinstinct):
More notable players (no order): C Kyle Skipworth, RHP Jose Ceda, RHP Tom Koehler, RHP Elih Villanuev, LHP Charlie Lowell, RHP Austin Brice, OF Jesus Solorzano