The Miami Marlins finished last season 79-82, a slightly improved season from 2015 when they went 71-91. But their 2016 season will be remembered only for the tragic loss of superstar starting pitcher Jose Fernandez, who was killed in a boat accident on Sept. 25. The loss of Fernandez was not only a devastating loss on Marlins players and fans, but for all followers of the game who were excited to see what the future had in store for the generational talent. The game will not be the same without him.
The Marlins will have to move on without him and it will certainly be a major challenge, both from an emotional and production point of view. He looked like such an integral part of their future and one has to imagine there can be no replacing him in their rotation. Adam Conley will now step up into the role of No. 1 starter and the club will need to hope that the rest of the starters can step up their production. They may try to look in their farm system for help, but unfortunately for them, there does not appear to be much help on the way as they have one of the two worst systems in baseball.
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Miami Marlins Top Prospects for Dynasty Leagues
Today I am continuing my list of prospect systems in the NL East. I have already covered the Atlanta Braves. Later, I will delve into the New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals. To read more about my prospect coverage, click here.
Top Overall Talent: Braxton Garrett
Top Prospect who won’t debut in 2017: Braxton Garrett
The Marlins selected Garrett seventh overall in the 2016 draft and I think it’s safe to say they don’t regret the pick. Though Garrett has yet to throw a single pitch at any professional level, scouts have continued to be enamored with the upside of the 19-year-old southpaw. With an outstanding three-pitch mix of a low-mid-90s fastball, a tight, hard-breaking curveball and reliable changeup, Garrett figures to have the stuff necessary to fool even the best hitters.
Though he may be quick riser through the minors compared to most high schoolers, Garrett likely will have to wait until 2019 in order to make his Major League debut. But owners should be patient with him as he has as quite a high ceiling and considerably high floor for a pitcher out of high school.
Top Prospect to Debut in 2017: Brian Anderson
Biggest Sleeper: Brian Anderson
Anderson hit quite well in High-A before being promoted to Double-A where he struggled a bit to hit for the same average. He posted nearly identical walk and strikeout rates (0.58 BB/K ratio in High-A compared to 0.61 in Double-A) while also flashing a bit more pop than he had at any level outside of Class-A and Rookie League. He isn’t the best bat available, but he may have an impact at the hot corner in 2017 for Miami if he gets off to a hot start.
Biggest Boom or Bust: Tyler Kolek
I imagine everyone reading Kolek's name is probably just looking at the bust part of “Boom or Bust.” And you certainly would have every right to believe that he is a bust. Kolek had Tommy John surgery in early 2016 and has looked awful at every level of the minors since being selected second overall back in 2014.
But if he comes back from the surgery and Miami is able to fix his mechanics, he could still be steered onto the right track. He still has an electric fastball that may have lost some velocity since being drafted, but it now has more movement. His secondary stuff, however, requires a lot of work, which really does leave his future up for speculation. At this point, my gut tells me he makes it to the majors as a closer where his fastball will play out much better.
Top Prospect Hitters
Best Power Hitter: Austin Dean
Last season was the first year Dean actually started to turn his raw power into visible production. He mashed 11 home runs at Double-A, five more than his previous total at High-A and Rookie League in 2015 and two more than his previous career-high set in 2014 at Class-A. At the end of the day, 11 dingers is nothing to write home about and he still needs to find a way to crack the potent trio currently patrolling the outfield grass in Miami. He has work to be done before he is worth owning in dynasty leagues.
Most Likely to Hit over .300: Brian Anderson
Anderson’s best tool from an offensive point of view is his plate discipline. He has shown at every level that he is willing to wait for his pitch and that he has a solid understanding of the strike zone. This certainly bodes well for his chances of becoming a big league regular. Scouts love his swing, but he still needs to work on actually turning it into hits at a consistent pace. Anderson is the most likely to hit over .300 in the Miami farm system, but I wouldn’t want to put money on him actually coming through with that in the big leagues as he does not drive the ball enough to get that average up.
Best Burner on the Bases: Thomas Jones
Much like Dean, this is really all about projectability. Jones only played in 19 games in 2016 after being selected in third round of that year’s draft. In those games, he swiped six bags, consistent with the opinion of many scouts that his speed is by far his best asset. He could be a future top prospect given his size (6-foot-4, 195 lbs) and raw talent seen by scouts, but for right now he is really just a burner on the basepaths, and one who has to make a lot of progress with the bat if he hopes to carve out a big league role.
Top Prospect Pitchers
Strikeout Machine: Braxton Garrett
Best Command: Braxton Garrett
It cannot be emphasized enough just how much of a savior Garrett is for this system. Garrett is advanced for his age with well above-average command over an outstanding repertoire of pitches. His dominating stuff should experience little resistance through the minors and he should be easily the best strikeout weapon in this Miami system with his talent. And with his excellent command, expect him to be able to avoid getting into too much trouble with the walks and easily make a name for himself atop a future rotation.
Top 10 Dynasty Prospects for the Miami Marlins
1. Braxton Garrett (SP, NA)
Garrett has a lot of pressure to perform and it looks like he probably will. He is likely going to be the next ace for the Marlins.
2. Brian Anderson (3B, AA)
Anderson is easily the top bat in this system, but he lacks the game-changing power you like to see at third base.
3. Jarlin Garcia (SP, AAA)
Garcia profiles as an innings-eater for Miami with enough control to keep him in a big league rotation for some time. But he does not seem like a great bet to ever post a sub-4.00 ERA.
4. Austin Dean (OF, AA)
Dean has plenty of raw talent, but in the three-and-a-half years since being drafted, Dean has yet to translate those tools into much actual production.
5. Tyler Kolek (SP, A)
The flame-thrower has plenty of potential, but time is ticking and he has made no discernible progress to this point. Miami might eventually just use him in the bullpen to get that 100 mph heater to the big leagues faster.
6. Dillon Peters (SP, AA)
Lacking size and swing-and-miss stuff, Peters could still reach the big leagues in a relief or backend role. He will never produce more than a No. 5 starter.
7. Edward Cabrera (SP, ROK)
Cabrera is almost the exact opposite of Peters: big size and high-octane stuff, but lacks solid command. He is only 18 years old so he still has plenty of time to stand out and raise his ceiling a bit.
8. Thomas Jones (OF, ROK)
Jones is incredibly quick and has a large frame that could eventually develop power, Jones is another guy dynasty owners will have to wait for a bit to see if he can turn raw stuff into production.
9. Cody Poteet (SP, A-)
Poteet has a well-rounded arsenal and decent command, but his ceiling is not super high. He might eventually crack the big league rotation, however, if he can improve his changeup.
10. Jake Esch (SP, MLB)
Esch does not have much upside at all and does not profile as more than a No. 5 starter, but he may be able to provide dynasty owners with some value in 2017 if he impresses in Spring Training.
Entering the 2016-17 offseason, the Marlins had a bad farm system. Then they traded away Luis Castillo, Austin Brice and Isaiah White to the Cincinnati Reds for Dan Straily and their system actually got worse.
If it weren’t for Braxton Garrett, this system would be the worst system in baseball. Garcia isn’t exciting, Kolek is extremely risky, Dean has yet to translate his raw talent to in-game production and Anderson is only a so-so hitter, especially for a third baseman. Garrett is the clear guy to own here and everyone else’s value extends only to deep keeper leagues.