The Marlins have a young and talented big league roster that includes Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Jose Fernandez, and Marcell Ozuna. But at this point, the farm system is a dog. With most of the high-end specs graduated or traded away, there are just not many left to get excited about here, and none that fall in the elite tier. There are some good prospects, but they mostly check in as long-shots thanks to distant ETAs. Compounding the issue for fantasy is the fact that Crayola Canyon will be the final destination for the hitters if they stay within this organization. But hey, I’m not here to crap on the Marlins. I’m here to talk prospects. So while Miami will be at the bottom of most prospect power rankings this preseason, I still managed to scrape together fifteen names I think we should know.
Tier 2: Floorboreds
Lacking the “star” upside. They might have some warts, but their ETAs are on the horizon.
Brian Anderson, 3B | Age: 22 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: A+
2015 Stats: 530 PA, .235/.304/.340, 8 HR, 2 SB, 8% BB, 21% K
If the Cal League inflates High-A statistics, then the flip side of that coin is the pitching-friendly Florida State League. Anderson spent the entire season there along with Austin Dean, and while Dean projects more as a line-drive hitter, Anderson has actually shown he can get to some pop in games. He’s a good enough defender to stick at third according to most scouting reports, and if he reaches his 20-homer ceiling there he’d be pretty useful in fantasy. Anderson has also had experience at second base and in the outfield.
Austin Dean, OF | Age: 22 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: A+
2015 Stats: 578 PA, .268/.318/.366, 5 HR, 18 SB, 7% BB, 13% K
Dean started out as a middle infielder before the Marlins converted him to corner outfield. To this point he’s shown more doubles/gap power than home runs, which limits his fantasy value if that’s how things continue to progress. He’s a good hitter with a sound approach, but more likely than not he tops out at 12-15 dingers, especially in Miami. It’s tough to see where he’d get regular playing time in the Marlins outfield, which means he might be an OF4 if he stays with the fish.
Avery Romero, 2B | Age: 22 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: A+
2015 Stats: 505 PA, .259/.315/.314, 3 HR, 3 SB, 8% BB, 14% K
Romero will hold more value if he stays at second base. There’s just not much to this profile outside of average pop and good plate discipline, which makes sense in deeper formats but lacks the upside you want in shallower ones. The 22-year-old should spend a good portion of 2016 in the upper levels and could get a call towards the end of the year if there’s a need. There’s more power upside than his three homers in the FSL suggest, but it’s also not enough to warrant getting too excited about.
J.T. Riddle, SS | Age: 24 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: A+/AA/AAA
2015 Stats: 392 PA, .283/.323/.368, 5 HR, 7 SB, 5% BB, 14% K
Riddle has the pop and speed to kiss double digits in both homers and stolen bases, but more than likely he ends up in a utility role in the major leagues. That would limit his playing time and in turn limit his production, so Riddle is a better fit as a depth piece in dynasty leagues with a large amount of prospects owned. At 24, he’s close to contributing to the big league club and should start 2016 in AAA.
Jarlin Garcia, LHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: A+/AA
2015 Stats: 133.2 IP, 3.57 ERA, 2.7 BB/9, 7.0 K/9
Garcia’s upside doesn’t get much higher than the back of a rotation, but he should stick as a starter and Miami’s pitching-friendly park will help keep his ratios in check. Garcia’s fastball is his best pitch, topping out at 95 and working comfortably in the low 90s. While he’s not the most exciting arm in the system, he’s probably the closest to contributing at the major league level.
Kendry Flores, RHP | Age: 23 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: A+/AA/AAA/MLB
2015 Stats: 118 IP, 2.52 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 6.5 K/9
What Flores lacks in stuff, he makes up for with plus command and control of his arsenal. That should help him adjust to the majors relatively quickly, and with a few major league innings under his belt already, Flores should see time in Miami this summer. He’s not going to lead a staff, but the high floor makes him an interesting name to round out deep league rotations. Shoulder tendinitis sidelined him in August – something to keep an eye on this offseason.
Tier 3: Long Shot Lolitas
Sexy ceilings, but these youngsters also come with risks and distant ETAs.
Josh Naylor, 1B | Age: 18 | ETA: 2019 | 2015 Level: Rk
2015 Stats: 105 PA, .327/.352/.418, 1 HR, 1 SB, 4% BB, 10% K
Naylor was the Marlins’ top pick in the 2015 draft, and he has the sexy combination of an average or better hit tool coupled with double-plus raw power. That’s a combo you can sink your teeth into. If you’re like me in thinking that bats are the way to go in fantasy, then Naylor trumps Kolek even though most traditional lists would have them flipped. Unfortch, he’s also 18, so it’s going to be a long wait for his bat to arrive.
Tyler Kolek, RHP | Age: 19 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A
2015 Stats: 108.2 IP, 4.56 ERA, 5.1 BB/9, 6.7 K/9
While there is a frontline starter ceiling, it’s definitely still under construction. Kolek has an elite fastball that reaches triple digits, but the rest of his arsenal lags behind. Control is another issue, and while Kolek is still just a pup at nineteen, it’s disheartening to see his walk rate nearly matching his strikeout rate in the low minors. This type of prospect isn’t my cup of tea in dynasty leagues, but Kolek will still get some love thanks to his nasty heater and upside.
K.J. Woods, 1B | Age: 20 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A
2015 Stats: 439 PA, .277/.364/.496, 18 HR, 1 SB, 10% BB, 30% K
Woods doesn’t seem to be a name popping up on a lot of lists, but I feel like he’s worth mentioning in a thin farm like this one due to the power production. He was a fourth round pick back in 2013, and while this was just his first full season of pro ball, Woods smacked 18 dingers and didn’t tank his average in the process. The strikeout rate is obviously less than ideal, but if you play in a league where under-the-radar prospects are valuable finds, I think Woods fits the description.
Isael Soto, OF | Age: 19 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: Rk/A(ss)/A
2015 Stats: 121 PA, .171/.231/.243, 1 HR, 0 SB, 7% BB, 36% K
Soto lost a big chunk of the 2015 season to injury, so there wasn’t a lot of new information to go on from his 2014 debut. He’s still super young, having just turned 19 earlier this month. His raw power is above average, and he could hit enough to be a regular. More likely he ends up as a solid fourth outfielder with some pop. It’s probably too early to jump in unless you’re playing in a league with really deep farms.
Stone Garrett, OF | Age: 19 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A(ss)
2015 Stats: 247 PA, .297/.352/.581, 11 HR, 8 SB, 8% BB, 24% K
Garrett offers a solid combination of raw tools with both his power and speed rating as above average. That’s usually the formula for some 20/20 upside, but Garrett has yet to face advanced pitching or even a full season for that matter. In deeper leagues where he can be stashed, I like him as a toolsy athletic type to dream on – a la Monte Harrison in Milwaukee.
Isaiah White, OF | Age: 18 | ETA: 2019 | 2015 Level: Rk
2015 Stats: 132 PA, .294/.321/.381, 0 HR, 13 SB, 2% BB, 33% K
White is a burner with elite speed and (according to scouting reports) good instincts as well. That’s a formula for gaudy stolen base numbers as he progresses. He’s just getting started in the rookie leagues, but in a weaker system this is one of the prospects I’m really interested in watching develop.
Anfernee Seymour, SS | Age: 20 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A(ss)
2015 Stats: 266 PA, .273/.338/.349, 0 HR, 29 SB, 8% BB, 20% K
Seymour is an easy profile since he’s basically a one-tool speedster. Originally an outfielder, the Marlins are playing this cat at shortstop, where his speed will be more valuable in fantasy. He could be a hit-for-contact table setter with zippo power if he makes it to the bigs.
Justin Twine, SS | Age: 20 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A
2015 Stats: 473 PA, .206/.235/.310, 7 HR, 8 SB, 1% BB, 23% K
Twine is another toolsy, athletic player that the Marlins are hoping to polish up into a major league regular. Twine’s best tool is his double-plus speed, but there’s some pop here as well, as you can see in the eight taters he hit during the 2015 season. Problems lie in the approach, where Twine is going to have to learn to be more patient, and unfortunately the quality of pitchers he’ll face is only going to get better. He’s a flyer at this point, and his value would take a hit if he moved off the dirt.
Brett Lilek, LHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A(ss)
2015 Stats: 35 IP, 3.34 ERA, 1.8 BB/9, 11.1 K/9
The Marlins took Lilek in the second round (50th overall) of the 2015 draft, but at 22 years old the college arm could move faster than his positioning in this tier suggests. In his first taste of pro ball the numbers were outstanding, although they came in a just a 35-inning sample in the low minors. The southpaw likely carves out a role in the back end of a major league rotation when it’s all said and done, making him deep league material in fantasy.