Tag Archives: Cincinnati Reds

2015 Miami Marlins minor league depth: Catcher

Yes, it’s true – Baseball Prospectus and the rest of Major League Baseball have dubbed the Miami Marlins the second to last minor league system in the big leagues. But are they wrong? The Marlins did trade away their 2013 first round draft pick (fifth overall) in Colin Moran midway through the season last year to the Houston Astros for players named Jarred Cosart and Kike Hernandez – who has since been traded away again this off-season. Hernandez wasn’t the only youngster on the move though, as the Marlins continued to back up the moving truck, sending top pitching prospects Andrew Heaney to the Los Angeles Dodgers and righty Anthony Delscalfani to the Cincinnati Reds. The Marlins received just one high-ceiling prospect in return, major league doormat-ready reliever Kendry Flores from the Giants. If you combine those roster moves with the loss of mid-level catching prospects Austin Barnes and Chad Wallach, and then look at the Marlins aggressive approach to making minor league promotions, it’s easy to see why Baseball Prospectus and the baseball world in general see the Miami Marlins weak on the farm.

Given that everything I stated above is true, and you find yourself sitting there wondering what I’m going to say next, don’t be concerned. It’s my mission to doubt the doubters and dive deep into the Marlins organizational depth charts, in hopes of proving the nay-sayers wrong by finding hidden gems.

This week I will be diving into the Marlins depth at the catcher position. We already know that Salty will start behind the dish for the Marlins and Mathis will back him up while touted Marlins top prospect J.T Realmuto will play the waiting game.  So let’s look at the best of the rest, because three catchers do not constitute a franchise.

Best of the Rest

Arturo Rodriguez

Call me crazy, but I really like what Arturo brings to the Marlins organization. After signing a minor league contract this off-season, this 6’0″ 235 lbs. Monterrey, Nueva Leon, Mexico native has the build and the bat to make an impact this season. At age 23, he is a long shot to raise through the Marlins prospect ranks, but he put up solid enough contact and power numbers in 2014 with the Toros de Tijuana and Sultanes de Monterrey teams of the Triple-A Mexican League to be ranked above Miami Marlins 2014 first-round CBA pick Blake Anderson.

ARIn the 93 games played in the Mexican League, Arturo started 62 games behind the plate – throwing out forty percent of runners attempting to steal on his arm. He also had 15 starts at first base with a perfect fielding percentage. Not only does his bat show promise, so does his defensive abilities. This makes Arturo Rodriguez a strong candidate to watch in the Marlins minor league system this season.

Blake Anderson

As mentioned in the Arturo summary, Anderson was the 36th overall pick drafted in the first-round CBA by the Miami Marlins out of West Lauderdale HS in Collinsville, Mississippi. Fresh off his 19thbirthday Anderson will look to improve his numbers from his first taste of pro ball.

BALooking at his first year statistics at the plate it’s easy to see what scouts already know: he was drafted for his 6’4″ tall frame, an absolute hose for an arm, and his strong glove hand framing pitches. We all know the fast track to the big leagues for prospect catchers is based on their defensive ability, and Anderson has plenty of ability. The thing to watch though this season will be the comfort and improvement Anderson shows as he handles the bat at the plate. As his body matures and produces more power in his bat we might just have a Baltimore Orioles Matt Wieters comparable player down the line.

Brad Haynal

Brad is a 6’3″ 215 lbs. right-handed swinging 18th round draft pick of the Miami Marlins and the only catchers besides Chris Hoo selected in the 2014 Amateur Draft to have collegiate experience. He played for San Diego State University and this should give him a leg up on the rest of his competition. After crushing the ball his first 30 games for the Batavia Muckdogs, he was quickly promoted up to Low-A Greensboro to end the season splitting time with another 2014 draft selection in catcher Chris Hoo. Take a look in at his stats from 2014:

BH

It’s easy to see why Haynal could easily become a hidden gem for the Marlins. Even if he can’t hide behind his tall frame, Haynal offers advanced defensive abilities behind the plate that no one else in his draft class came in with, with the possible exception of Blake Anderson. It’s Haynals bat though that will carry him up the ranks. Already 23 years-old, he needs to  accelerate his time frame to make adjustments at the minor league level if he hopes to crack the big league roster one day. He is defintely another solid candidate to watch out for this season.

Other Notable Catcher to Watch

Roy Morales/6-foot-1, 210 pounds/Drafted 2014 in the 12th Round out of Colegio Angel David HS, PR.

Chris Hoo/5-foot-9, 190 pounds/Drafted 2014 in the 27th round out of Cal Poly.


*Please feel free to read this article in its original form at http://www.fishstripes.com/2015/3/19/8254347/2015-miami-marlins-minor-league-depth-catcher

Jason Tate writes for SB Nation-Fishstripes (A Miami Marlins News Website). Follow his blog at http://www.marlinsrising.com and on twitter @MarlinsRising.

Marlins Park to host 2017 MLB All-Star Showcase

marlins.tumblr.comIt didn’t take long for the new commissioner Rob Manfred to make an impact in the Miami Marlins community.

Come July 2017, the phrase “Going to Miami” will no longer be linked to the 1998 Will Smith song “Miami”. Instead, that phrase will carry a new meaning as baseball fans travel from across the country to fill Marlins Park for the 2017 All-Star Showcase.

A long time coming for the Marlins franchise, Jeffrey Loria has finally got the approval from Rob Manfred to hold the 2017 All-Star Game at Marlins Park. A saga that will have two decades once the All-Star festivities commence at Marlins Park, in downtown Miami.

The saga began in 1997 when the formerly named Florida Marlins won the World Series and were chosen by Bud Selig as favorites to host the 1998 All-Star Showcase that next season. Only to have Marlins fans dreams shattered quicker by owner Jeffrey Loria, when he unloaded all the teams’ talent. Compelling Selig to turn on his words, and give the honor of hosting the 1998 All-Star showcase to the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field.

Furthermore, Loria thought he was a shoe in to host the 2015 All-Star showcase based on his unveiling of the Miami Marlins new stadium, Marlins Park in 2012. A line of thinking that led him to getting shot down again by Selig as he watched the honor of hosting this year’s All-Star showcase go to the Cincinnati Reds to hold at Great American Ballpark.

Finally though, after two decades of All-Star host envy and a recent recognized commitment to his team’s future success shown in Loria this off-season, Rob Manfred and MLB has dubbed Marlins Park the host of the 2017 All-Star showcase.

2015 Prospect Outlook: Justin Nicolino

If everything evolves as predicted, the future for Justin Nicolino, one of the most decorated Minor League pitchers, looks bright. However, where does he fit in a talented Miami Marlins rotation that will feature a dominant Top 3 with the return of Jose Fernandez mid-season from Tommy John surgery to join Mat Latos and Henderson Alvarez?

Rated as the Miami Marlins organization’s  #2 prospect by Baseballamerica.com, there’s hope within the front office that we will see the Marlins most coveted left-handed pitching prospect wearing the vibrant big league uniforms in 2015. Having recently traded Andrew Heaney to the Angels and the 2012 Mega Deal’s Anthony DeSclafani to the Reds for Mat Latos, the organization has slotted Nicolino as “The Next Man Up” if in need of mid-season help. The likelihood that he breaks camp in the Marlins big league rotation is slim, even though the need for a left-handed starter in the rotation is strong. The Marlins are hoping Brad Hand can land that job coming out of spring training, even though the organization believes Nicolino is the better option. This suggests that he is more likely to debut after the Super 2 Deadline in July. Alternatively, the Marlins may wait to bring him up late in the season, hoping he will make a 2003 Dontrelle Willis like impact, after some further fine tuning at either Double-A Jacksonville or Triple-A New Orleans.

Labeled by scouts as a Command & Control style pitcher, he registered an impressive BB/9 rate of 1.06 in 2014. This is attributed to his tall frame, high baseball IQ and a deceptive overhand throwing motion that creates a downward plane on his pitches, allowing him to keep his strikes low in the zone, and generating weak contact. His .03% HR/FB ratio in 2014 is evidence of this. This type of pitchability allows his arsenal of pitches to play up at the next level. However, he carries a mediocre Fastball that clocks in around 89-92 MPHs and a below-average Curveball that has been labeled more of a Slurve at 77-80 MPHs. The one pitch in his arsenal that is already tailor-made for the big leagues is his change-up. It generates excellent late fade, and paired with his deceptive arm speed, it has become his go to swing and miss option when ahead in the count on hitters.

Despite being equipped with all these tools, there are concerns he may not reach his maximum potential. Seen by his dramatic regression in his K/BB rate from 24% in Single-A, to 11.8% after being promoted to Double-A Jacksonville in 2013. This appears to reflect his inability at this point to develop tighter spin on his Curveball. This is needed to improve its consistency and late break, adding that “whiff” factor needed for him to be successful not only at the next level, but at the Major League level. In addition, scouts are worried how his arm will hold up as he takes on more innings. The aggressive manner he throws across his body leads to a lot of arm side run and deception on his Fastball, but scouts are worried he could develop serious shoulder issues.

With growth and development we all hope he can astound at the Major League level like he has at the Minor League level. It will be difficult to surpass his current awards of being the 2014 Minor League Pitcher of the Year and finishing 2014 Ranked #1 as the Top-Control Starter in the Minor Leagues. There is little reason to think he couldn’t become a future Ace, or even a strong #2 in the rotation behind Jose Fernandez. For now though, don’t expect to see him on the opening day roster unless the Marlins suffer injuries during spring training, and without a consistent “whiff” factor present in his Curveball he projects to me, at best a #4 in the Marlins Rotation.