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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.

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

Haren Goes 4 Scoreless For Marlins In Victory

Letting the Numbers Talk: Does Giancarlo Stanton Even Care?

Shitty Baseball Graphs

Join us as we use numbers to answer the questions all baseball fans ponder but don’t know how to solve. Our proprietary formulas let us make sense of the mounds of data out there on the inter-webs so we can tell you how to feel about some of your favourite players in the MLB

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This off season Giancarlo Stanton signed the richest contract ever in North American sport. A possible $325 million over the next 13 years of his life. We don’t have to run the numbers on that one to know it’s an ass tonne of money. It has almost unanimously been proclaimed as a great signing for the Marlins club who are looking to compete(ish) this season (just check our predictions of the NL East). But does that mean that it was a good signing over all? We’ll have to ask the numbers about that.

As we’ve previously established

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Marlins Rising Recap: Brignac keeps hot spring rolling, Marlins beat Cards 6-3

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.


  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Cardinals 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 3 11 0
Marlins 1 3 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 6 10 1

Marlins Rising

Mat Latos

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

Steve Cishek 

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!

Dee Gordon

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!

Reid Brignac 

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!

Don Kelly

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

Michael Morse

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

Reed Johnson

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


Marlins Falling

Mike Dunn

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.

Aaron Crow

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!

Sam Dyson

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!

Martin Prado

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!

Jarrod Salty

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

Avery Romero

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.

J.T Realmuto

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.

The Enigma Prospect: Miami Marlins Colby Suggs

Where do you rank a Jekyll and Hyde prospect like Colby Suggs? As Jekyll, Suggs is able to strut the pose and dominance that generated his “Bulldog” nickname. Lighting up scout’s guns with his 91-94 MPH fastballs, he also made some of the minor league’s best look ugly with what should be considered one of the best 12-6 hammers in the Marlins organization. As Hyde, Suggs has a tendency to allow his pitches to run wild on their way to the plate as he attacks the zone with a bull in the china shop mentality. Handing out walks at an alarming rate in 2014, he creates this mind boggling dilemma for the Marlins – as much as they want Jekyll night in and night out in 2015, have they seen the end of Hyde?

With a collegiate background as Jekyll, Suggs dominated in his time at the University of Arkansas, never finishing a season with an ERA higher than 1.74. He earned his “Bulldog” nickname by continually boosting his career stat line as a Razorback, finishing with a 1.36 ERA to go along with 53 walks and 65 strikeouts in a total of 79.2 innings pitched over three seasons. This gave the Marlins strong reasons to select him with their 2nd round, supplemental 73rd overall pick in the 2013 Amateur draft.  After all, what’s not to like when you can have a right-hand reliever whose physical attributes place him around 6’0″ in spikes and 235 lbs. strong on the mound? This physicality, combined with his show time curveball, contributed to MLB.com experts ranking him as the Miami Marlins Organizational #10 prospect in 2014. Unfortunately, Colby Suggs scouted talent is yet to catch up with his hype at this point. With a year and a half of seasoning behind him, Suggs has struggled to contain the presence of Hyde when he toes the rubber down on the farm – a presence that is undeniable when diving into his minor league resume.

As dominant as Suggs was in college, his struggles were real. As the team’s shutdown closer, he lead the Arkansas staff with 7.4 walks per nine innings pitched in 20 2/3 innings his senior season. This is the same unimproved statistical skid mark that is present in his game today. Let’s look at his stats from his first full professional season with the High-A Jupiter Hammerheads where mound presence continued to plague him night in and night out:  25 walks, six wild pitches and seven hit batsmen while pitching 58 1/3 innings in 46 appearances. He showed the same erratic tendencies on the mound that he showed in 2013 after signing with the Marlins and being promoted to High-A where he allowed 14 free passes in 18 1/3 innings, facing a total of 79 batters out of the pen.

As I have alluded to above, with Suggs there has always been two sides to his story. His Jekyll like moments on the mound have highlighted his ability to have master control of his devastating curveball making him a force to be reckoned with, especially when paired with his above-average fastball. These moments contributed to his 47 strikeouts last season and the 45 strikeouts he piled up in 2013 in just 39 innings pitched. Although he mustered a 2014 FIP of 4.09 and subpar strikeout-walk rate of 1.88, his Jekyll like appearances have cast a big enough shadow over other pitching prospects. He remains one of the Marlins top pitching prospects and a player to be watched heading into the 2015 season.

Assuming pitching coaches Joe Coleman at High-A Jupiter and Derek Botelho at Double-A Jacksonville can continue to tweak Colby’s mechanics, we hope to see the end of his Jekyll and Hyde ways. This will jettison the struggles with his command that we have seen up to this point, placing him back on the fast track to becoming a possible September call-up in 2015.

*Note: Please check out the article written by Jason Tate in its original form at http://www.fishstripes.com/2015/3/12/8196519/miami-marlins-prospect-colby-suggs

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