2013 Top 10 Prospects: Miami Marlins

Well, the big-name free agent thing didn't work out this time. This offseason, the Marlins basically stripped the big league club down to its bare bones are once again in rebuilding mode. While the basbeall forecast is for rough weather in Miami this summer, there is some serious young talent at both the major league and minor league level. If developed to full potential, this could end up being one of the better young teams in baseball two or three years down the road.

My Top 10
1. Jose Fernandez SP
2. Christian Yelich
3. Justin Nicolino
4. Jake Marsinick
5. Andrew Heaney
6. Marcel Ozuna
7. Jose Urena
8. Adeiny Hechavarria
9. Adam Conley
10. J.T. Realmuto
Star Potential
Jose Fernandez
Age by 4/1/2013: 20
Notes: The complete package: pure stuff, advanced command for his age and the numbers to back it up.
With my own eyes (video): Strong frame and good arm action. Easy velocity and a very sharp breaking slider.
Upside: One of the best pitchers in baseball.
Downside: Given what he has already shown, I would be shocked to see numbers any worse than a very solid #3.
Fantasy potential: See upside.
Christian Yelich OF
Age by 4/1 2013: 22
Notes: Has done nothing but hit at each level and show a plus ability to play centerfield. Advanced on-base skills and potential to add some power make him one of the more exciting prospects in the game.
With my own eyes (video): Very simple swing mechanics. Good balance and his front hand really pulls the bat through the zone well. He doesn't have the quickest hands I've seen, but that's a small criticism.
Upside: If his power develops, he could become a 25/30 threat that hits  .300 with top-notch on-base skills while playing an excellent defense in center.
Downside: The power doesn't develop and lefties find a way to give him trouble: .285/.365/.450
Fantasy potential: Value will depend on power numbers, but upside is five-category goodness.
Justin Nicolino SP
Age by 4/1/2013: 21
Notes: Plus stuff and the command to go along with it. Low-90s heat is complemented by a plus changeup.
With my own eyes (video): Maintains good balance throughout his motion and powers through his finish with strong hip rotation.
Upside: #2 starter with consistent mid-3 ERAs and better than averahe WHIPs.
Downside: Doesn't learn to work outside the strike-zone enough and he ends up a #3-4 starter.
Fantasy potential: A solid mid-round pitcher.
MLB Regular Potential
Jake Marsinick OF
Age by 4/1/2013: 22
Notes: A great athlete with speed and already plus defensive ability. Did some tinkering with his mechanics this past summer and could improve his pitch recognition.
With my own eyes (video): Very smooth and level swing, but has a tendency to get too far out in front, bringing his weight forward and losing some power.
Upside: 20/20 outfielder that hits. 285/.340/.470.
Downside: The hit tool never truly materializes and he's a very good defensive outfielder that has 15/15 upside.
Fantasy potential: 20/20 guys are always nice to have around, but there is definitely a bit of risk in investing in Marsinick's bat.
Andrew Heaney SP
Age by 4/1/2013: 21
Notes: Heaney only made a hand full of starts after being drafted in the first round last year, but reports of his game were impressive. He throws strikes and sits in the low 90s as a southpaw.
With my own eyes (video): Video from him at Oklahoma State shows some added motion to his delivery that could be cleaned up. He has a little "tilt" to his motion as he comes to his balance point. Easy velocity with room to grow through strength and conditioning.
Upside: I'll say #2 starter for now, but I'm curious to see how his command/control plays out at the higher levels.
Downside: Hard throwing, good command lefties tend to make solid starters, even if it's at the back-end of a rotation.
Fantasy potential: Wide range for now. I'd err on the side of caution.
Marcel Ozuna OF
Age by 4/1/2013: 22
Notes: Tons of power potential, most of which he has already tapped into. Good athlete with an arm for right field.
With my own eyes (video): Long swing and backwards weight shifting load are a big concern. Both factors could lead to struggles against advanced breaking balls.
Upside: Slugger who doesn't do much in the AVG/OBP categories, but smashed 30-plus bombs per year.
Downside: Swing remains way too long and better pitching eats him alive.
Fantasy potential: Power and not much else.
Jose Urena SP
Age by 4/1/2013: 21
Notes: Hard thrower who works the strike-zone. Still learning to harness his offspeed pitches. Reports indicate that he still needs to work on repeating his mechanics and release point.
With my own eyes (none): 
Upside: Given that he already has a plus fastball and a feel for the strike-zone, there is maybe a glimmer of hope that he could be a #1.
Downside: There is a ways to go in terms of the development of his secondary pitches.
Fantasy potential: Wide range at this point. Not for the risk adverse. 

Role Player Potential
Adieny Hechavarria SS
Age by 4/1/2013: 23
Notes: The only reason Hechavarria makes my top 10 is his defense, which is outstanding. I am not a believer in hit bat.
With my own eyes (live): I got to see quite a bit of Hachavarria in the AFL a couple years back. His swing is a bit too long for his skill-set and he showed very little feel for the strike-zone. 
Upside: .265/.320/.440 
Downside: No offensive value, but the glove keeps him in the bigs.
Fantasy potential: Maybe he has some BABIP luck for a stretch.
Adam Conley SP
Age by 4/1/2013: 22
Notes: Lanky lefty with plus velocity. If his offspeed pitches develop, he could fit at the back-end of the rotation.
With my own eyes (video): Good fastball movement. Arm drags a bit behind and is late getting to the drive zone. This could affect command/health.
Upside: Solid starter that is extremely tough on lefties.
Downside: If offspeed stuff doesn't improve, he could still be a lefty-killer out of the bullpen.
Fantasy potential: Late-round/waiver wire guy.

J.T. Realmuto C
Age by 4/1/2013: 22
Notes: Converted to catcher once he turned pro, Realmuto has received praise for his work ethic and improvements on defense. His bat is actually behind his defensive progress.
With my own eyes (video): When he loads his hands, his front elbow can "lock" creating a stiff, longer path through the zone. However, when he does get extension the ball can jump off his bat.
Upside: A strong defensive catcher with enough offense to be an everyday player.
Downside: The bat becomes too much of a liability, limiting his playing time.
Fantasy potential: Only for the deeper league.
About the author: Charlie Saponara is a former college baseball player who has coached at the high school and collegiate levels. He currently works for the Visalia Rawhide, high-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. You can find examples of his scouting reports from Project Prospect here (Mike Trout), here (Tyler Skaggs), and here (Billy Hamilton).


Marlins on TOC
End of Season Postmortem
Hope for the Hopeless
2013 Season Preview
You May Say I’m a Dreamer
2013 Burning Question
This Is My Nightmare
Top Ten Prospects