Game: 1:05 PM at Nationals Park
The Miami Marlins spun a gem this winter to solidify the third base position for the 2015 Season, trading flame thrower Nathan Eovaldi and top pitching prospect Domingo German to the New York Yankees in exchange for the versatile pitching of David Phelps and the ever consistent ultra-utility player Martin Prado. After the trade of Casey McGehee to the San Francisco Giants, Prado is now the Marlins starting third baseman. At this point of the season, this activity has to be one of the Marlins most successful trades this off-season. Casey McGehee has gotten off to a slow start with the Giants – loafing a .267 BABIP with a .238 average and 2 RBI’s in 22 plate appearances and has sat out the last two games with a left knee injury. Prado, on the other hand, a career .311 BABIP hitter with a career .966 fielding percentage at third, has played every game at the hot corner for the Fish.
Signed through 2016 for $11M a year, the Marlins are unlikely to re-sign Martin Prado after his contract runs out – making him another stop gap free agent signee at a position that has been a revolving door for years in the Miami Marlins organization. Prado became the 8th different third baseman since 2006 to start on the Marlins Opening Day roster. There has been so much turn- over at this position over the years that you have to go back to the Mike Lowell era (2000-2005) to find continuity at third base for the Fish. In the 10 seasons since the Lowell era, players like Miguel Cabrera,Jorge Cantu, Emilio Bonifacio, Donnie Murphy, Hanley Ramirez and Casey McGehee have all been slotted as the Marlins Opening Day third baseman.
The Marlins attempted to find continuity at third for the future in the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft – taking North Carolina Tar Heels third baseman Colin Moran with their first overall pick. Unfortunately, we all know how that turned out. After two half-seasons in the Marlins minor leagues, the front office decided he hadn’t shown enough power offensively, and polish defensively, to be considered the future at third base. Marlins management eventually traded him at the 2014 trade deadline for current Marlins pitcherJarred Cosart.
Even with Prado holding down the hot corner for the 2015 season with Donovan Solano, and Don Kelly and Jeff Baker mixing in off the bench, the Marlins are still hunting through their minor leagues and future collegiate/prep draftees to find that third baseman to carry them into the future. So while the Fish scour the globe for the next best option for them at third base, I will highlight two players listed in Marlin’s minor leagues that are the Best of the Rest down on the farm, and who might be able to put a stop to the revolving door at third base in the future.
Best of the Rest
Listed as the Miami Marlins #10 prospect by MLB.com, the 21 year-old right-handed hitting Anderson was the first collegiate player drafted by the Marlins in the 3rd round – out of Arkansas University in 2014. Primarily playing second base in college, his sophomore year he led the Razorbacks team in avg. (.325), runs scored (47), hits (68), doubles (12), triples (5), total bases (102), slugging percentage (.488), walks (41), on-base percentage (.448) and tied for a team-high with 36 runs batted in and four homers. He was then named a second team Preseason All-American by Baseball American heading into his draft year his Junior season at Arkansas. With that kind of prowess in college, it’s hard to deny the offensive capabilities of the Miami Marlins 76th overall pick in the 2014 MLB draft. Anderson carried over that smooth swinging power stroke from college to his first season of professional ball, as highlighted in his statistics below:
After showcasing both his advanced offensive capabilities and defensive versatility playing for the Batavia Muckdogs in 20 games, he was quickly promoted up to the hitter friendly confines at Low-A Greensboro. He started 26 of his 35 starts at third for the Grasshoppers. Standing at 6’3″ and 192 lbs., it’s his raw power at the plate that has the Marlins front office drooling over his future potential. As he starts this season at High-A Jupiter, he will look to continue his early success at the plate – hoping to become the future at third base for the Marlins.
Drafted by the Miami Marlins in the 4th round of the 2014 MLB draft out of Edison HS (CA.), the then 18 year-old right-handed hitting high school shortstop showcased an advanced prep player approach at the plate in the Gulf Coast league for the Miami Marlins, while learning his footing at the hot corner:
The successful statistics above aren’t a surprise to many though – especially the Brian Schales fans in SoCal. Mike Sciacca of the Huntinton Beach Independent newspaper described his play in high school:
“Schales, a four-year starter at shortstop for Edison, was a force in the field and at the plate. In 31 games, he hit .396, had 36 hits, homered seven times, walked 21 times, had 22 RBIs and struck out just eight times in 91 at-bats…”
“He does such a great job offensively but the one thing I think gets overlooked is his play on defense. He committed only four errors and I believe that says a lot about his abilities. He really saves us a lot this year.”
Even with the high-praise from his hometown supporters, the Miami Marlins #27 organizational prospect Brian Schales still has a lot to prove at the hot corner this season. With his hitting approach shown to be much more advanced than others of his age at times, the Marlins hope he can fill out his 6’1″ 181 lbs. frame, generating more power numbers down the line, while developing into the wall they are looking to have at third.
Brian has started 2015 with Low-A Greensboro starting six out of the seven games at third, where he will look to continue his development and growth. Improvement in his footwork and defensive approach will limit the mistakes made in his first season of pro ball, where he registered a .911 fielding percentage playing third base in 40 games with the GCL Marlins.
With that said, if Schales can avoid injury and continue to showcase the baseball make-up and raw tools that have got him to this point, it’s not crazy to think that he could be nipping at the heels of Brian Anderson this season – or even pass him – on the Miami Marlins minor league depth chart at third base.
Other notable third basemen to watch:
Rehiner Cordova/6-foot-0 155 lbs./Signed by the previously named Florida Marlins at the age of 16 on September, 4 2010 out of Maracay, Venezuela.
Rony Cabrera/5-foot-11 180 lbs./Signed with the Miami Marlins at the age of 16 in 2012 out of Coche, Venezuela.
What started as a possible rainy Friday afternoon at Roger Dean Stadium, ended up turning into a sunny vicotry for the Marlins. Kicking things off early by scoring Dee Gordon in the first and continuing to roll in the second inning, tacking on three more runs thanks to a clutch hitting bases loaded triple off the left field wall by Reid Brignac. Lifting the Marlins to a 6-3 victory over the Cardinals this afternoon.
Came out strong and didn’t disappoint in his first spring start. Working 3 strong innings, scattering 2 hits with 2 strikeouts and 2 walks. The down hill plain was there, his pitches looked sharp and generated weak contact. Making the hometown proud today!
Latos’s PFP Blooper
Comes in firing on all cylinders in the 7th, striking out the first hitter on a nasty outside slider in 3 pitches. The next batter can of corned it to center, followed by a chopper up the middle for a single and then got nasty with his last batter faced painting the black with a 2-seam hitter for the third out. A much needed bounce back performance after be slammed by Dan Uggla for an RBI double earlier in the weak. Stay strong Cishek!
Captian catalyst did again what we brought him here to do. Leading off the 1st with a base hit single, and was brought in for the first run of the game by a Morse hit & run single through the six hole. Going 2 for 3 on the day with another single that was lined the opposite way to left. Stay steady Flash!
Went 1 for 2 on the day. Drawing a walk and driving in three runs with an RBI triple down the left field line. After what he as down up to this point in spring training games, its hard to see him landing down with the Zephrys. Stay hot, and your dream might come true Brignac!
Brignac’s 3-run Triple, Get Some!
1 for 1 at the dish. Got his pitch it at bat and capitalized by dusting off his wheels and beating out a weak chopper up the middle for an infield base hit. Kelly, you did what your suppose to do, enough said!
Kelly Legging it Out
His our RBI guy and he did just that in the first. Driving in Dee Gordon on a full count single through the six hole. Finishing the day 1 for 3 at the dish. As i stated though he did what he’s here to do, so he makes my list. Flexing ain’t easy Morse!
Morse driving in Dee Gordon
Just like Don Kelly, Reed is here to come off the bench and produce. Doing just that on Friday by smoking a wind aided line drive off the Left field wall, driving in Donovan Solano.
Driving in Donny Boy
Continuing his struggles this spring working 2 innings on Friday while allowing one run on four hits, struggling to find his command on the mound registering only one strikeout. Just so you know Mike, we have other arms, just incase you forgot about our off-season moves.
Besides throwing 5 out of 6 first pitch strikes, he allowed a two out walk followed by two consecutive singles, causing him to give up one earned run. You cant have two out walks, you just cant!
Lead off walk coming out of the pen coming out of the pen should be all that’s needed to tell his story. After that though, he went on to pitch to five batters giving up a single and a sac fly, resulting in one earned run as he took home the save in the 9th. There are two many arms in the system for you to be playing around with the first batter Dyson!
0 for 3 at the plate. Killed the first inning rally by grounding into a double play, then went on to fly out to CF and strike out swinging in his last about to end his afternoon. Hang with um Prado, and show your worth!
Besides going 1 for 3 at the plate, with a weak broken bat blooper over second. Salty went on to do what we have been accustom to seeing, and that is striking out twice in his next two at bats. One looking and one swinging. I don’t know if you know this but Realmuto’s last name is much shorter and more cost effective on a jersey, just saying.
Marlins Rising Prospects Watch
Getting a pinch hit at bat for Reid Brignac in the 8th, Avery stepped up against Rosenthal hitting a weak grounder to second base for the final out of the inning. You cant hit bombs everyday Avery.
1 for 1 in a pinch hit at bat for Salty in the 8th, lining a Rosenthal outside fastball to left for a single. One hit at a time J.T!
Follow Jason Tate on twitter @MarlinsRising and at http://www.marlinsrising.com to receive news and analysis on the Miami Marlins. Also, make sure to check back in daily to get your full Marlins Rising Recap of whose stock is rising and whose is falling.
It’s clear baseballamerica.com and the Fish have dubbed their #1 prospect a giant right-handed high-school hurler. Who, on a consist basis cheeses up scouts radar guns to the tune of 100 MPH. Standing at 6’5’’/260 Ibs it’s easy to see why everyone is excited about the high-ceiling future of Tyler Kolek from Shepherd, TX. He possesses tools that are just un-teachable, and at the current age of 19 years-old he already has a progressive feel for two of his off-speed options, in his slider and curveball. Working to master his change-up, and gaining control of his arsenal in the strike zone so he doesn’t come out Rick Vaughn’ing the batter’s boxes like the plates got the plague. Only further seasoning will give us more insight into his future, but for the 2015 season is he the true number one?
Going against the theorist’s prospect ranking system, I have to put my stock in the player currently ranked as the organizations #3 prospect by baseballamerica.com:
Avery Romero, 2B, Miami Marlins
Age: 21 Ht: 5’8” Wt: 190 2014 Level: Class A-Advanced
Drafted by the Marlins in the 3rd round of the 2012 draft, this scrappy-aggressive style player has been eating up pitchers early-contact fastballs through the minor league system achieving promotions all the way up the ranks to Class A-Advanced Jupiter Hammerheads. Romero doesn’t wait for the game to come to him; he brings his energy and excitement to the game – Proven by his aggressive Vladi G. approach at the plate, effortless arm strength from second and strong hands, which could translate into increased power numbers as he fills out.
With a majority of Avery’s homeruns coming in 2014, during which he hit 5 of his 11 minor league career homeruns – a high percentage of them to his pull side of the field. We are going to have to wait and assess how the power comes along and contributes to his future slash statistics. But the steady build up in maturity and earnest to improve his footwork in the infield, paired with the tremendous raise in production on the offense side of the ball, all make him a strong consideration for the Marlins #1 prospect rating.
Since joining the organization in 2012 Avery Romero has registered slashes of:
2012 (GCL/SS-A): .246/.331/.352 in 164 PA
2013 (GBO/BAT): .276/.341/.391 in 265 PA
2014 (GBO/JUP): .320/.367/.423 in 507 PA
Now humor me for a minute and compare Romero’s 2014 slashes with the likes of the “Lazer Show” Dustin Pedroia at the age of 21 in the minors – (2005-.293/.385/.452) in 538 PA. Who stands at the same scarlet lettered 5’8” frame and contains the same scrappy-aggressive like tools on both sides of the ball, with strong-hands driving the ball to the pull side of the field. Showing flashes of long-ball capabilities as he filled out in the minor league systems. Combine the already stated similarities with the additional mirror image that they both contained the same hustle induced speed and a rise of in patience at the plate:
Avery Romero (2014-Afull/Aadv.): 10 SBA/ 32 BB
Dustin Pedroia (2005-AA/AAA): 8 SBA/ 58 BB
With all these strange similarities, it’s hard to argue that the future doesn’t look bright for Avery Romero. Though, I may have leaped into the world of wild imagination and large skepticism, that’s the glory of ranking prospects. Who’s to say he can or can’t turn into the next Dustin Pedroia or the next greatest Marlin. With the current upgrades of Dee Gordon and Martin Prado, the grand idea that Romero could shift over to third base and Martin Prado could be that plug player. Should get us excited to think we could be seeing Romero in the Show very soon.
So, with these facts at hand, and regards to other top Marlin prospects like Justin Nicolino, Tyler Kolek and J.T Realmuto. I have to give my #1 prospect vote to Avery Romero.