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2015 Miami Marlins minor league depth: Outfield Pt. 2

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

Casey Soltis

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:

Casey Soltis

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.

Matt Juengel

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:

Matt Juengal

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.

Anfernee Seymour

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:

Anfernee Seymour

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.

Other notable outfielders to watch:

Cameron Flynn/6-foot-0 190 lbs./Drafted by the Miami Marlins in 2012 (23rd round) out of the University of Kentucky.
John Norwood/6-foot-1 185 lbs./Signed a free-agent contract with the Miami Marlins in 2015 out of Vanderbilt University.
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2015 Miami Marlins minor league depth: Shortstop

With Adeiny Hechavarria holding down the shortstop position at the big league level, Miami Marlins fans seemingly have nothing to worry about. His 2014 campaign earned him a .323 BABIP with 10 triples (2nd in NL) and a ranking as the second best defensive shortstop in the MLB behind the Atlanta Bravesshortstop Andrelton Simmons. If Hechavarria can continue to swing the hot bat we saw in the second half of last season, then the Fish might have just found their shortstop of the future. Making highlight reel plays on defense and driving the ball to the gaps at the plate have slowly started to become part of Hech’s M.O.

With that being said though, should Hechavarria struggle at the plate like he did in 2013 – slashing .227/.267/.298 – on a team that is in need of offense in 2015, or go down with an unforeseen injury, then the Marlins will most likely look to fill the position with stop-gap Triple-A options Miguel Rojas, Reid Brignac and Jordany Valdespin, receiving aid from Donovan Solano off the bench occasionally as the Marlins homegrown ultra-utility player.

Should those options dissatisfy you as a Marlins fan, don’t worry, hope is not lost. The Marlins have a bevy of minor league talent at the shortstop position, so let’s take a look at the Best of the Rest.

Best of the Rest

Austin Nola

You’re looking at the next best minor league option not in Triple-A. Drafted out of LSU in 2012 in the 5th round by the Miami Marlins, the 6’0″ 192 lbs. right-handed hitting Nola had gotten off to a slow start in his first season of professional ball. He ended the 2012 campaign at Low-A Greensboro with a .247 BABIP in 205 plate appearances. Nola quickly rebounded though in his first full season of professional ball in 2013 with a .295 BABIP in 489 plate appearances at High-A Jupiter. He started 122 games at shortstop with a .974 fielding percentage – statistics that ranked him within the Marlins Top 20 organizational prospects heading into the 2014 season. When you look at his 2014 statistics at Double-A Jacksonville, you see the continued improvement at the plate:

Austin Nola

After turning 25 years-old this off-season, Nola will have to continue his year-in-year-out improvements to stay atop the many other talented shortstop prospects in the Marlins minor league system if he hopes to be the next shortstop in the minor league system to crack the Marlins major league roster. Even with a healthy Adeiny Hechavarria holding down the shortstop position at the big league level, Nola could find time playing behind either he or Dee Gordon at second base – where he was showcased playing with the Marlins in spring training. At his late age though, it’s unclear how much more leash the Marlins will be willing to give Austin Nola, but if he can carry over his Arizona Fall League plate approach where he finished with a .311 BABIP in 59 plate appearances while striking out just three times, then the Marlins will be hard pressed not to find a spot for him in future major league lineup cards.

Justin Bohn

What can you say about the Miami Marlins MLB.com’s #20 prospect? He hasn’t registered a BABIP below .300 since his promotion to Low-A Greensboro at the end of 2013 season.  To be honest, there really isn’t much to say at all. Drafted in the 7th round by the Miami Marlins in 2013 out of Feather River Junior College in California, the 22 year-old 6’0″ 180lbs. shortstop has done nothing but make contact with the baseball at an alarming rate – shown in his 2014 statistics below:

Justin Bohn

Bohn also carried that same smooth swinging stroke from 2014 into the Arizona Fall League, where he finished with a .391 BABIP in 66 plate appearances for the Rafters, helping him regain his advanced approach at the plate after seeing a raise in his strikeout percentage – a jump from 17.2% in Low-A to 20.7% in High-A. MLB scouting analysts have described his play as:

“Bohn has a solid approach at the plate and knows how to work a walk. His simple swing enables him to make consistent contact, though he doesn’t produce much power. He’s a capable defender and gets rid of the ball quickly, but doesn’t stand out and may eventually end up in a utility role.”

These are all true facts when assessing Justin Bohn’s play up to this point in his minor league career. He won’t burn the opponent on the base paths and won’t wow you with web gem plays up the middle. However, if he can continue to consistently perform at the plate and make the easy plays look easy in the field, we should see Bohn promoted as high as Double-A Jacksonville this season – barring any unforeseen injuries.

J.T. Riddle

As Mr. Baseball in Kentucky in 2010, Riddle turned down the Red Sox in that year’s MLB draft out of Western Hills High School, KY, and took his game to the University of Kentucky. Kentucky was where he was eventually drafted in the 13th round by the Miami Marlins in the 2013 MLB Amateur draft after his junior season. A draft choice the Miami Marlins organization couldn’t be happier about. He uses every inch of his 6’3″ 175 lbs. wiry left-handed hitting frame to attack pitches at the plate with an aggressive approach – something that was showcased in his first full season of professional ball at Low-A Greensboro:

J.T Riddle

He was also able to showcase his defensive versatility. Labeled primarily as a second baseman coming out of college, the Marlins have had Riddle playing all over the infield – primarily on the left side seeing time at third base, but mostly at shortstop. Riddle started at shortstop in 58 games for the Greensboro Grasshoppers in 2014, flashing his strong arm while finishing with a .958 fielding percentage. This should convince the Miami Marlins front office and prospect gurus that with a little more growth and development in the minors this year, MLB.com’s Miami Marlins #21 prospect J.T Riddle, in just his second full season of pro ball, could be heading for a breakout season in 2015 – right behind the Marlins highly touted infield prospect Justin Bohn.

Justin Twine

The three-sport star that is Justin Twine brings a tremendous amount of athleticism to the shortstop position. Drafted by the Miami Marlins in the 2nd round of the 2014 MLB Draft, this 5’11″ 205 lbs. right-handed throwing and hitting middle infielder owned the baseball field as well as the track his senior year in high school, winning three gold medals – for the long jump and two relays – at the 2014 Texas State Championships. He also owned the football field as well, as a duel-threat quarterback for his high school football team, leading him to eventually turn down several Div. I offers for football to sign with the Miami Marlins. Based on his 2014 Gulf Coast League numbers fish fans are glad he did:

Justin Twine

Despite having a .327 BABIP in 179 plate appearances, there is still a lot of room for development in Twine’s game defensively as well as offensively with his approach at the plate. Striking out 52 times and only walking 6 while continually fine tuning his craft at shortstop, makes him more of a project prospect than a fast-track prospect in the Marlins minor league system at the early age of 19 years-old. Although, if Twine can use his exorbitant amount of athleticism to quickly master the shortstop position, with his already solid build and raw talent potential he could quickly dash the “project” tag and put himself on the prospect fast-track to the Marlins major league roster.

Other Notable Shortstops to Watch

Javier Lopez/6-foot-3 185 lbs./Signed with the Miami Marlins at 17 years-old in 2012 out of San Gregorio de Nigua, DR.
Danny Black/6-foot-3 180 lbs./Drafted by the Miami Marlins in 2010 (14th round) out of the University of Oklahoma.

Jason Tate reports on the Miami Marlins minor league system at http://www.fishstripes.com. Follow him @MarlinsRising on twitter or at http://www.marlinsrising.com. Make sure to view this article in its original form at http://www.fishstripes.com/2015/4/9/8373697/2015-miami-marlins-prospects-shortstop

Miami Marlins Opening Day Line-up

Atlanta Braves @ Miami Marlins, 4:10 P.M. ET

Braves

  1. CF: Eric Young
  2. 2B: Jace Peterson
  3. RF: Nick Markakis
  4. 1B: Freddie Freeman
  5. C: Christian Bethancourt
  6. LF: Kelly Johnson
  7. 3B: Alberto Callaspo
  8. SS: Andrelton Simmons
  9. SP: Julio Teheran
Marlins

  1. 2B: Dee Gordon
  2. LF: Christian Yelich
  3. RF: Giancarlo Stanton
  4. 1B: Mike Morse
  5. 3B: Martin Prado
  6. CF: Marcell Ozuna
  7. C: Jarrod Saltalamacchia
  8. SS: Adeiny Hechavarria
  9. SP: Henderson Alvarez

2015 Miami Marlins Prospects: First Base

Despite having only one prospect listed as a first baseman within MLB.com’s Miami Marlins Top 30 Prospects for 2015, the Marlins are actually well stocked at first base. There may have been little to talk about for the Marlins last season at this position, as Garrett Jones proved to yet another organization why he is not the guy to lean on as your everyday first baseman. This season will be a different story. The big bat off-season acquisition of Michael Morse can only improve the Marlins chances of being a playoff contender this season as long as he stays healthy. Even if it came at the cost of 2014 Comeback Player of the Year Casey McGehee, the Marlins are stacked with power in the middle of the 2015 Opening Day line-up.

Should Michael Morse’s health plague him this season, we can always turn to the Miami Marlins 16th ranked prospect in Justin Bour. After being selected in the 2013 Rule 5 draft by the Marlins from the Chicago Cubs, he has done nothing but impress the Marlins organization – sporting a .319 BABIP with 18 home runs at Triple-A New Orleans in 2014 during a period of promotions and demotions from the big league roster.  He will undoubtedly find a home this season as a regular coming off the Marlins bench, while we will be watching to see if he can continue to improve at the plate and showcase the big league power that his large frame possesses. In 74 at bats for the Marlins last season he was only able to muster one home run – an upper deck blast to right-center off the Nationals Doug Fister. Marlin’s fans are hoping to see more of these this season – especially after he was named the 2014 MiLB.com Organizational All-Star for the Marlins. There is nothing else for him to prove at the minor league level, so he will continue to play the waiting game behind Morse on the Marlins depth chart.

Although Morse and Bour are already starting to become household names in Miami, there are others who play first base in the Marlins Minor league system that might prove to be hidden gems and future household names.  Let’s take a look at the Best of the Rest down on the farm at first base for the Marlins.

Best of the Rest

Viosergy Rosa

After being drafted by the Marlins in 2010 in the 29th round, Rosa played two seasons fine tuning his craft for short-season Batavia Muckdogs.  At 6’3”and 190 Lbs., the 24 year-old lefty swinging Rosa bounced back in 2013 playing the full season for Low-A Greensboro. In 549 plate appearances he registered a .289 BABIP with 23 long balls. He continued to live up to his emerging prospect hype in 2014 with High-A Jupiter Hammerheads and again after being promoted to Double-A Jacksonville, where he was named the Southern League Championship  Series Most Valuable Player-  posting a .379 batting average to go along with four home runs in just seven post season games.

VR

And just so you know, we are talking about a player who was cut from his George Washington High-School baseball team every year but his senior one. He went on to play at Odessa Junior College in Texas, where I witnessed his play. This background makes what he has done in the past two seasons in the Marlins minor league system even more impressive, not only to me and Marlins advocates but to 2014 Double-A Jacksonville’s manager Andy Barkett:

“I thought [Rosa] would be able to hold his own here, but he’s excelled. He changed the whole dynamic of our lineup with his presence and power potential. He can fatigue and stress pitchers out for the hitters coming up behind him.” said Suns manager Andy Barkett. “[Rosa] is like the perfect piece of clay to work with,” said Barkett. “I love teaching a left-handed hitting first baseman because that’s what I was. He’s got the makings of a classic power hitter…”

If he can make a believer out of Andy Barkett, he should easily be starting to make a believer out of the rest of the Marlins Organization, making him a valued organizational prospect at an aged position for the Marlins.

Felix Munoz

As I mentioned in my earlier article, Critical year for Marlins prospect Felix Munoz, this is going to be a decisive year for Munoz. Turning the all-important age of 23, Munoz will look to build on the success he has had in the Marlins minor leagues over the past two seasons. Like Rosa, 2014 was a real breakout year for Munoz. Playing in 126 games during the 2014 Season at Single-A Greensboro, more games than he had in the past two seasons combined, he put together an impressive campaign with a slash line of .300/.368/.476 in 560 plate appearances with 16 home-runs. He was able to draw 57 walks to only 79 strikeouts while driving the ball for a .326 BABIP.

FM

Boosting almost comparable statistics to Rosa, the younger Munoz will look to start the season nipping at the heels of Rosa. Munoz is projected to start the season with High-A Jupiter Hammerheads, a level behind Double-A Jacksonville where Rosa is projected to start his 2015 campaign. Should Rosa fail to recapture the hot streak from his 2014 season, you could see Felix Munoz’s stock on the rise in 2015.

Carlos Lopez

This 6’2” 236 lbs. left-handed hitting and right-handed throwing Cal State Fullerton prospect was drafted by the Miami Marlins in the 10th round of the 2013 First Year Player Draft at the late age of 24. This was the same 2013 Marlins draft class that included the recently traded Cal State Fullerton teammate Chad Wallach. It didn’t take long for Lopez to make a name for himself in the Marlins minor league system. After being awarded the 2013 Big West Co-Player of the year, Lopez signed and immediately reported to the Batavia Muckdogs in the New-York Penn League. With an impressive .366 BABIP with 71 total hits in just 61 games in his first full season with the Marlins Organization, he showcased his clutch hitting ability. Based on his 2014 statistics for Low-A Greensboro below, 2013 looked to be just a prelude to what could become a valued prospect at first base in the Marlins minor league system. Unfortunately, at the age of 25 heading into the 2015 season, his window to the big league is getting smaller.

CL

Austen Smith

Before being drafted in the 33rd round by the Miami Marlins, this 2014 Tallahassee All-Regional team choice, Baseball America’s Preseason No. 34 ranked senior and Mid-Season Golden Spikes Watch List first baseman, put on a hitting display his senior year in college. He led the Alabama Crimson Tide with 19 runs batted in and 11 walks against conference opponents, while finishing the year with a .316 batting average, 27 walks and 39 total runs batted in in 57 games started. We also can’t fail to mention the walk-off home run Smith blasted to lift Alabama over the then #11 ranked Vanderbilt Commodores. He brought this home run stroke with him to the Miami Marlins rookie level instructional league, as shown in his 2014 stats below:

AS

Smith’s collegiate prowess his senior year at Alabama, is translating well to the professional level. At age 23, Austen Smith will have more time to develop and mature physically – if that is possible for someone already at 6’4” and 240 lbs. Either way, he has opened a lot of eyes in the Marlins system with his advanced approach and thunderous power at the plate, making him a possible hidden gem that with continued success could be on the fast track to the big leagues doorstep.

Other Notable First Basemen to Watch

Eric Fisher/6-foot-3 210 pounds/Drafted 2014 by Miami Marlins (17th Round) out of Arkansas University.

Scott Carcaise/6-foot-5 236 pounds/Drafted 2013 by Miami Marlins (14th Round) out of Florida Tech.

Ichiro Picks Up Two More Hits In Marlins Loss To Braves

CBS Miami

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KISSIMMEE (CBSMiami/AP) — The Miami Marlins strong Spring Training record took a hit on Thursday.

Even though he won 10 games for the marlins last season, Tom Koehler isn’t considering himself a lock for Miami’s rotation.

Johnny Gomes drove in two runs and Kelly Johnson went 2 for 2, leading the Atlanta Braves over the Marlins 6-3 Thursday.

Koehler allowed four runs and walked three in four innings in his second start of the spring.

“I’m extremely disappointed with the hits and not being able to put guys away,” Koehler said.

Koehler walked Braves pitcher Cody Martin to lead off the third inning.

“I can’t be walking pitchers,” he said. “I have to stop worrying about building myself up and start worrying about execution. We’re getting close now to the season.”

Braves starter Manny Banuelos allowed one run and three hits in two innings…

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Source: Marlins Sign Yelich To 7-Year Deal For Nearly $50M

CBS Miami

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MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — The Miami Marlins have remained busy since the end of the 2014 season constructing a roster that can compete for a championship for years to come.

The Marlins have made another long-term investment in their young, talented outfield.

Left fielder Christian Yelich agreed to a seven-year contract worth about $49.6 million, a person familiar with the situation said Thursday. The person confirmed the deal to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it hadn’t been announced.

Yelich is expected to sign the agreement this weekend, and a news conference tentatively is planned for Sunday.

Yelich, 23, is part of an outfield Miami considers the best in the majors, with $325 million slugger Giancarlo Stanton in right field and Marcell Ozuna in center. Two-thirds of that outfield will be under contract through at least 2021, with the 25-year-old Stanton signing a…

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Stanton’s 1st HR Since Beaning Helps Marlins Beat Nationals 5-4

CBS Miami

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JUPITER (CBSMiami/AP) — The Miami Marlins saw something on Wednesday that they had been waiting for since the end of last season.

Giancarlo Stanton homered for the first time since he was beaned last September, part of a three-hit game that helped the Marlins beat the Washington Nationals 5-4.

Stanton doubled in the first inning against Doug Fister, had an RBI single that made it 2-0 in the third and tied the score 3-3 when he homered leading off the sixth against Casey Janssen.

“Today was a good day, obviously,” said Stanton, who is hitting .286 with six RBIs in the exhibition season.

Stanton’s 2014 season ended Sept. 11 when he was hit on the face by a Mike Fiers fastball at Milwaukee. Stanton sustained facial fractures, dental damages, cuts that required stitches, two black eyes and concussion symptoms.

During the offseason, the Marlins…

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