Tag Archives: Miami

2015 Miami Marlins Prospect Profile: Jose Urena

Rising to the occasion in 2014 while playing for Double-A Jacksonville Suns, Jose Urena came out guns blazing – something we have become accustomed to seeing the Bani, Dominican Republic native do since joining the Miami Marlins organization in 2009. Urena is not only highlighted for being ranked on the Marlins top ten prospects lists, but is notable for his high-powered right-arm that features a fastball touching a maximum effort velocity of 98 mph. This same arm regularly sits on auto pilot at around 92-95 mph. The advanced feel for and  dominant control of this fastball, marked his path to being capped a 2014 Mid-Season All-Star –  recording a 6.8 K/9 ratio and 3.42 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) while walking just 29 hitters in 162 innings pitched. Urena averaged six innings a start and went seven strong on 10 occasions over 25 starts this past season.

Showcasing his electric fastball with a loose sling-shot type arm-action is, of course, the bread and butter of Urena’s whole arsenal, allowing his other off-speed pitches to play up. His best secondary offering is the change-up, which he tends to throw at an above-average capacity more consistently than his slider and curveball. Although the slider can be effective as another out pitch for Urena, it tends to be thrown below-average more often than not. His curveball is more of a “show-me” curveball that is scarcely used as a developmental 4th pitch at this time.

While the limber slinging arm-action will have to be worked on as well as his off-speed offers, he has the stats to back up his hype. They highlight what every front office GM likes to see in their young stars – a steady progression in their stat line from year to year. Over his last four seasons in the minors he has reduced his WHIP from 1.417 (2011) to 1.136 (2014), increased his SO/BB ratio from 1.66 (2011) to 4.17 (2014), striking out a total of 121 batters in 2014 and stranded 73% of runners on base.

Unfortunately, the Marlins are already heavily stocked with right-handed arms, especially once we see the return of rookie sensation Jose Fernandez. Jose Urena’s path to making his big league debut in 2015 will not be an easy one, unless there are unforeseen injuries to the Marlins staff. This assumes of course that the Miami Marlins front office view Urena’s prospect value higher than that of his right-handed counterpart, Trevor Williams. Williams pitched for the High-A Jupiter Hammerheads in 2014. He pitched only 15 innings at the Double-A level last season and tallied a 1.87 WHIP and a .368 BABIP, but he also posted a noble 3.17 FIP with a 6.87 K/9 ratio in 129 innings with the Hammerheads.

If the theory behind the reliever idea holds true, then there is a chance you could see Jose Urena go lights out in early spring minor league performances and make the Marlins big league pen as a reliever by mid-season. If that theory doesn’t entice you, then reality looks for him to open the season as a starter at Triple-A New Orleans, or possibly at Double-A Jacksonville for some extra polishing – a move the Marlins organization is prone to making to protect their top prospect pitchers. Hoping that with some extra seasoning at the minor league level, Urena can make an impact later on in the season as a September call-up, hopefully slotting in the big league rotation as either a spot starter or long reliever.

With everything considered, Jose Urena will be an exciting prospect to follow in 2015.

**Note: Please View & Share the original posting of this article at (http://www.fishstripes.com/2015/2/26/8066559/jose-urena-2015-miami-marlins-prospect-profile)

Critical year for Marlins overshadowed prospect Felix Munoz

Entering his seventh season of professional baseball, after signing with the Marlins in 2008 as a non-drafted free agent at the age of 17, the Dominican Republic’s Felix Munoz finally has a chance to legitimize himself as a top prospect in the Miami Marlins farm system. Munoz should join the ranks of Justin Nicolino, Tyler Kolek, J.T. Realmuto and several others who are projected to be on the fast track to seeing their pictures in a glossy program at Marlins Park.

Docketed by many analysts as a “Sleeper” prospect for the past two seasons, Munoz has given hope to the Miami Marlins organization – along with all the Felix Munoz fans of the world – who had been waiting for his power tools to develop at the plate. 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. Despite playing in a minor league ballpark that scouts believe to be a “cracker jack box,” Munoz sprayed home runs to all fields. All the while, he showed an advanced level of comfort at the plate drawing 57 walks and only 79 strikeouts and driving the ball for a Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson eyebrow-raising .326 BABIP.

 This impressive showing makes his numbers comparable to Top Positional Prospects in the Marlins organization in that same early-20’s age range like Brian Anderson and Austin Dean, who both produced almost parallel slash lines at Single-A Greensboro:
  • Brian Anderson (3B/2B): .300/.361/.496 in 257 PA (Drafted 76th overall in 2014 MLB Amateur Draft)
  • Austin Dean (OF): .308/.371/.444 in 449 PA

Unfortunately, what you do not see in his stat line are the negative intangibles. Standing at 6’2” 180 lbs. it’s hard for Felix to find a home at his listed positions of first base and left field. His lack of speed, proven by swiping just one stolen base over his last four minor league seasons, hurts his chances to be projected as an everyday left fielder. Meanwhile, a proven year-to-year track record of power production is needed to be a lock at first base. These two aspects of his game have kept him off the Miami Marlins Top 20 prospects board since signing in 2008.

Munoz will turn the all-important 23 years old in 2015, and with his notable surge of power at the plate over the past two seasons, he will be out to prove he can become an everyday regular. With High-A Jupiter Hammerheads, he will take the opportunity to become that left-handed power-hitting, homegrown product the Marlins have been searching for. Felix Munoz’s recent performance almost challenges everyone to not have him on their watch list’s for the upcoming 2015 season.

*Note: Please check out the original article posted at (http://www.fishstripes.com/2015/2/19/8042769/miami-marlins-prospects-felix-munoz-2015-season-overshadowed)

Important Spring Training Dates to Note for Marlins Fans

February 20th, 2015 will mark the beginning to a successful era of Miami Marlins Baseball. In less than 24-hours Marlins pitchers and catchers will report to Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida. The site that’s been the spring training home of the Marlins since 2003, after spending 10 years prior to that at Viera’s Space Coast Stadium in Viera, FL. Sharing their spring training digs with the ballyhooed franchise of the St. Louis Cardinals, the Miami Marlins will hope all the off-season transactions made to boost the roster on a team that finished 4th in the NL east last season and will hope to mirror the success of their training mates the Redbirds for the 2015 season.

Now let’s take a look at important dates for fans to mark on their calendars:

February 20th: Pitchers and Cather’s report to camp

February 21st: First workout for Pitcher and Catchers

February 21st: Players will be at Marlins Park to attend the Winter Warm-Up festivities

February 24th: Position Players report to camp

February 25th: First Full Team Workout

March 2nd: First exhibition game vs. Florida International University

March 3rd: Second exhibition game vs. University of Miami (FL)

March 5th: First Spring Training game at Roger Dean Stadium vs. St. Louis Cardinals

*Note: All Exhibition/Spring Training games listed have a scheduled start time of 1:05 pm EST

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to watch the young, new and today’s Miami Marlins stars from the beginning. Our march to the 2015 playoffs starts February 20th. See you there!

David Phelps Takes The Loss At Arbitration Hearing

When David Phelps sat down with the Miami Marlins Front Office last month, he was asking for a 1 year deal that would pay him around $2 million for the season.

A deal of that magnitude was never considered by the Marlins organization, sending Phelps to his Arbitration Hearing, where again he came out a loser. Phelps requested $1.875 million from the arbiter hearing his case, but was quickly denied his number and forced to settle for a 1-year deal worth $1.4 million.

Time will tell if Phelps is actually worth the 1.875 million is was asking for, as he will start this season battling for the 5th spot in the Marlins opening day rotation. More than likely he will end up as a long reliever, with the occasional spot start here and there based on how he does coming out of the pen in 2015.

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.