By Scott Barzilla

The Miami Marlins made a run for the playoffs this year financially and that run ended up badly for them. Fortunately, they were able to unload some of their more expensive pieces and acquire some really good prospects along the way. Their farm system was middle of the road before and might still be considered that in some circles, but there are are some usable pieces after the trades were made.

Unfortunately, there are also some major holes in the system as well. Of course, that goes without saying when you’ve had a franchise that has finished middle of the road or worse since last winning the World Series in 2003. The most likely culprit has been a lack of spending on the draft and in international scouting.

   

AGE

Level

How

BP

BA

MLB

POS

C J.T. Realmuto

21

A+

D

4

5

7

NR

1B Mark Canha

23

A+

D

19

 NR

19

NR

2B Noah Perio

20

A+

D

11

8

9

NR

3B Zack Cox

23

AA

T

7*

4*

4

10

SS Chris Gutierrez

28

AA

T

NR

NR

NR

NR

OF Christian Yelich

20

A+

D

1

1

2

4

OF Marcell Ozuna

21

A+

I

3

2

6

NR

OF Jesus Solorzano

22

A-

I

7

NR

10

NR

P Jacob Turner

21

AAA

T

1*

1*

1

7

J.T. Realmuto– Catcher

One of the places you look in a farm system is how well they are doing at positions of need. John Buck has been a bust for the most part in Miami, so they need some big time help. The Marlins have catchers at the seventh, thirteenth, and sixteenth spots on the MLB.com list. Included in that was Rob Brantly (who came from the Tigers in the Anibal Sanchez/Omar Infante trade). So, between the three you would expect catcher to be covered. Realmuto is still very young, so one of the other two might be making it before him.

Mark Canha– First Base

The likely plan moving forward is to move Logan Morrison to first base after the club traded Gaby Sanchez to the Pirates. Morrison can hit plenty, but he was miscast in left field. Very few teams invest heavily in first base, so it isn’t surprising that someone like Canha is the best the Marlins can up with. He has a .808 OPS in the Florida League, so you take that for what it’s worth. His power from last season has disappeared, but he is getting on base at a .389 clip, so he will continue to get a look.

Noah Perio– Second Base

We’ve looked at Perio as he lists as a top ten second baseman at Hardballchat. So, you know from reading those scouting reports that Perio has fallen flat on his face in Jupiter. At 20, there is still hope he can repeat at this level and turn things around. It’s happened before, so there is still hope for this kid.

Zack Cox– Third Base

He was highly thought of in St. Louis coming into the season and then turned in some disappointing numbers in AAA. The Marlins got him in a deal for Edward Mujica and promptly moved him to AA. Ironically, he was playing better in AAA. He essentially replaces Matt Dominguez on the pecking order, so all expectations have to be measured against that. He projects to be a better hitter over the long haul than Dominguez, but he will never be a stud.

Chris Gutierrez– Shortstop

The man is 28 years old and registers as the best shortstop prospect the Marlins have. Both of the shortstops in AAA are older than Jose Reyes and the shortstop in A ball is barely hitting his weight. Jose Reyes is signed long-term so this isn’t an area of immediate need, but the Marlins better start looking somewhere for a shortstop.

Christian Yelich– Outfield

Yelich stands as the best homegrown prospect that the Marlins have. With Logan Morrison moving to first base, there is presumably a hole in the outfield for someone to step in. Yelich is still just in advanced A ball, so he probably needs a full season in AA before the Marlins consider him as a realistic option. So, the Marlins will have to find someone to fill in left field for at least a season so Yelich isn’t rushed.

Marcell Ozuna– Outfield

Ozuna is another good looking prospect that happens to play for Jupiter. It’s always good to have options and the Marlins may go out and sign themselves a legitimate center fielder and move Justin Ruggiano to left field. Doing so might make the Marlins an interesting team in 2013 and Ruggiano is good enough to hold down the fort for a season while both of these young outfielders develop.

Jesus Solorzano– Outfield

He has been labeled as one of those five tool players, but the tools haven’t necessarily all come out on the field yet. He is playing in short season ball, so we can temper all expectations for the time being. He is demonstrating the hit tool and the power tool so far. The speed hasn’t come out on the base paths and he swings and misses a little too often, but he has exciting talent and that is what matters at this point.

Jacob Turner– Pitcher

Anytime you get another team’s top prospect you have made a successful trade. Anibal Sanchez is a nice pitcher, but he’s not a top of the rotation starter and he was going to be too expensive for the Marlins to afford. Infante is a nice middle infielder, but they have Emilio Bonifacio. So, for that they get one of the few pitchers that is capable of being a number one guy. If he doesn’t reach that lofty status then he should be a solid number two. Pair him with Josh Johnson and you have something special.

 

 

Scott Barzilla

Scott Barzilla is the editor in chief at hardballchat.com. He is also the author of four books, including The Hall of Fame Index. The Hall of Fame Index was nominated for the Sporting News Award for statistical innovation in 2011.

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