In his relatively short MLB career, Tanner Roark has already gone from afterthought prospect to surprise bullpen contributor to a 15-win starter and now back to relieving, somehow finding success at each stop. The former 25th round pick who lost 17 games at Triple-A the year before he debuted has become a baseball renaissance man. Ask him to do just about anything and he will do it well.
But before Monday night, there was one thing Roark had not done. He’s been excellent in middle relief, long relief, setup situations and as a starter, so what about closing? Sure, why not.
Roark finally got the opportunity to save a game in the Nationals’ 6-4 win over the Marlins on Monday night due to closer Drew Storen being unavailable. Storen had pitched on consecutive nights, so Matt Williams needed somebody to step in.
Rookie Sammy Solis was also warming up in the bullpen when…
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After purchasing Lexus President Club tickets (Pretty Expensive) at Nat’s ballpark on Stubhub.com yesterday afternoon, Marlins advocate Jason Tate thought he was finally going to live his dream – Purchasing two tickets for his girlfriend and himself to sit in the Luxurious all-inclusive section right behind home plate (its like winning the Lotto). Unfortunately, when Jason got to the park to watch Marlins batting practice, he nor his girlfriend could get through the gate. They were directed to the Ticket service center at Nationals Park, where they were told that the tickets they purchased were put on Stubhub.com with a stolen credit card and the tickets were voided by Nationals officials. The couple was now told, that if they wanted to attend the game they would have to buy tickets at the gate to be admitted (after receiving no info/refund from Stubhub for their Lexus President seat purchase).
After being completely deflated, dreams crushed, the couple was determined to see the game no matter how far away – buying two cheap nosebleed seats in CF. Jason of course, was still determined to get as close to his team as possible and make the best of a bad situation, so the couple left there far out sits to hang around the Marlins bullpen for the evening.
— Marlins Rising (@MarlinsRising) May 5, 2015
Even with the deflated feeling, the couple fought the frawns of what could have been to get behind their teams, especially Jason, who spent the whole night lounging by the bullpen to motivate his team. Even with Giancarlo Stanton at the plate in the 9th with two outs and a full count, Jason was pumping up Nick Masset saying, “Take it to them! Stanton’s going long here, be ready!”. Words like that were echoed throughout the Marlins Bullpen all night, as Jason stayed determined to make the best of it.
Unfortunately, Stanton struck-out to end the game, giving Masset no chance to shine in the bottom of the ninth, but that didn’t stop Masset from shining in the eyes of a fan. After the last out was called Nick Masset took the stage, ending the couples night on a positive note:
— Jason Tate (@jtater42) May 5, 2015
— Jason Tate (@jtater42) May 5, 2015
Editor’s note: I want to thank Nick Masset for being a class act and a great representation of what being a baseball player is all about. Of course its about winning and being the best, but as some often forget its about the fans – the one’s who support you no matter how many games you lose or win, no matter how wet, how cold and how hot. Thank you Nick Masset, A.J Ramos, Bryan Morris, Sam Dyson, Mike Dunn, Steve Cishek and the rest of the Marlins bullpen for proving why everyone should be a Marlins fan. I hope one day I can watch you guys mow down the competition from behind home plate!
As I mentioned last week in Pt. I of the 2015 Miami Marlins minor league depth at the outfield position, Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna are set in stone as members of the Marlins outfield for the future. Four-A players provide the supporting cast as they roam the gaps at Triple-A New Orleans – Brady Shoemaker, Austin Wates , Cole Gillespie and the versatile Jordany Valdespin. These players don’t help predict how bright the Marlins future truly is, but they do provide fill in value at the Major league level to keep the team competitive for the 2015 season.
Austin Dean and Isael Soto were highlighted in last week’s article as two of the best top prospects in the Miami Marlins minor league system playing the outfield position. Dean and Soto aren’t the only two outfield prospects that deserve mention – so, as I alluded to last week in my article, here are the Best of the Rest down on the farm for the Fish at the outfield position.
Best of the Rest
Drafted in last year’s MLB Amateur draft in the 5th round by the Miami Marlins, the left-handed hitting, 6’1″ 185 lbs. Casey Soltis from Granada, California astounded Marlins minor league management in his first season of pro ball in the Gulf Coast League – hitting a .364 BABIP in 138 plate appearances, as shown in his statistics below:
Before being drafted by the Marlins in 2014, Soltis was a two sport star at Granada High School – playing both football and baseball his senior year. On the diamond that season, Soltis hit for a .353 average at the plate with 16 runs batted in and 13 stolen bases, as well as four home runs and 9 triples. These statistics were the reason he was the first outfielder selected by the Marlins in the 2014 MLB draft, and why Marlins VP of scouting Stan Meek spoke so highly of his potential:
“It’s a good swing, it’s a good strong athletic body and we felt like, as an outfielder, we think he’s gonna hit,” said Stan Meek, vice president of scouting for the Marlins. “I think the question is how much power we’re gonna get.”
Listed as the Miami Marlins #15 organizational prospect by MLBpipeline.com heading into the 2015 season, it’s clear that the Marlins front office and fans alike are just as high on Soltis’s offensive capabilities as they are with his defense capabilities. Primarily listed as a centerfielder, Soltis has the strong arm and above average speed that will allow him to play all outfield positions – including right field. On the offensive side of the ball, Soltis has a quick compact swing that promotes line drives to all parts of the field – at the same time showing an advanced level of comfort at the plate for a teenager.
The biggest skill set to pay attention to in Soltis’s game this season will be to see if he can develop the Hawkeyes (advanced plate vision) approach at the plate. This will bring down his 23.9 strikeout percent at the plate in 2014. It will also foster better pitch selection and lead to a higher overall average at the plate as he is promoted throughout the Marlins minor league system. It should also help him tap into some of that raw power we are yet to see from him at this point in his early minor league career.
At the age of 25, the Texas A&M product and the Miami Marlins 24th round pick in 2012, Matt Juengal is on the proven block. Standing at 6’2″ 190 lbs., Juengal has finally found his stroke in the Marlins minor leagues the past two seasons. In a break out performance in 2013 at Low-A Greensboro, Juengal hit for a .280 BABIP in 499 plate appearances with 14 home runs and 22 doubles. Unfortunately though, as it happens to all prospects that stop through the friendly hitter confines at Low-A Greensboro, the promotion to the next level tends to lead to decreased power statistics as seen in his 2014 statistics below at High-A Jupiter:
Even if his power numbers were down in 2014, Juengal still put together a top prospect like slash line for the Hammerheads – .272/.330/.393 with 32 doubles. These statistics supported his end of year promotion to Triple-A New Orleans, where he flashed his power hitting one home run in a limited 13 plate appearance. If he can continue to work on shortening his swing at the plate, while still producing the kind of massive pop he is prone to generate from his swing, then we could see him up in Triple-A by the end of the season. With sub-par to average defense capabilities, it will be Juegnal’s right-handed bat that gets him promoted up to the big leagues, so continuing to work on his craft at the plate will be of the utmost importance to him this season. Off to a hot start, Juengal has already hit 4 home runs in 74 plate appearances with a .246 BABIP for Double-A Jacksonville this season and will look to continue that hot stroke for the rest of his 2015 campaign – in hopes of becoming a September call-up at seasons end.
One word describes the play of Anfernee Seymour – speed! Hands down the fastest prospect in the Miami Marlins minor league system, Seymour, standing at 5’11″ 168 lbs., was drafted by the Fish in the 7th round of the 2014 MLB draft out of American Heritage High School in Plantation, Florida – two picks behind high school outfielder Casey Soltis. After signing his contract with the Marlins, Seymour literally hit the ground running in the Marlins instructional Gulf Coast League, swiping 11 bags on 13 attempts while being a singles machine and registering a season ending .338 BABIP in 112 plate appearances, as shown in his statistics below:
Listed on the Marlins depth chart as an outfielder, Seymour has the speed to make up for mistakes with his developing footwork in the outfield. This also makes him a threat up the middle as an infielder – playing at shortstop in 9 out of his 26 games played. This is a position the Marlins like seeing him at – with his fluent hands and above average arm.
Rated as the Miami Marlins organizational #28 top prospect by MLBpipeline.com, Seymour will have his work cut out for him when he hits the field in 2015. He will hope that his speed and slap happy hitting approach can place him on the fast track to the big leagues, but will need to continue his polish to possibly become the next Jarrod Dyson or Terrance Gore. Their speed has allowed them to develop in the big leagues with the Kansas City Royals, and could do the same for Seymour – who could double as a utility infielder.
With everything being even, Seymour, with his speed, definitely shines in a pile of solid outfield prospects in the Miami Marlins minor league system. If we believe that he could develop into another super utility player down the line, you have another highly touted outfield prospect to follow this season, – one that should find his way to Low-A Greensboro before the end of his first full season of pro ball in 2015.