The Midseason Top 10 Prospect lists are compiled from conversations with front office officials and scouts from all 30 teams. Players who have exhausted prospect eligibility or were in the Major Leagues as of June 22 are not eligible. Draftees from the 2016 draft and July 2, 2016 signees are also not eligible.
SEE ALSO: Midseason Top 100
If, as a Marlin Marlins fan, you were told that Dee Gordon would be suspended for 80 games at the end of April and that Giancarlo Stanton would hit .173 in May, you’d have packed your teal memorabilia and headed for South Beach. Instead, the Marlins are right in the thick of the National League wild-card race.
|2019 PROJECTED LINEUP
|C J.T. Realmuto
|1B Josh Naylor
|2B Dee Gordon
|SS Adeiny Hechavarria
|3B Brian Anderson
|LF Christian Yelich
|CF Marcell Ozuna
|RF Giancarlo Stanton
|No. 1 Starter Jose Fernandez
|No. 2 Starter Adam Conley
|No. 3 Starter Luis Castillo
|No. 4 Starter Tyler Kolek
|No. 5 Starter Chris Reed
|Closer A.J. Ramos
Led by a revitalized Marcell Ozuna—who was reportedly being offered for pennies on the dollar during the 2015 Winter Meetings—and a healthy Jose Fernandez, the Marlins were 47-41 at the all-star break and in the thick of the wild-card race.
Even Stanton, who had one homer in June, had begun heating up in July. Ichiro Suzuki was excelling in a reserve role and nearing 3,000 hits, Christian Yelich had evolved into the all-around star scouts had projected when he was the 23rd overall pick in 2010, and Justin Bour was blasting balls out of gaudy Marlins Park. Veterans Martin Prado and Derek Dietrich were batting .300 and young catcher J.T. Realmuto had lifted his offensive game to become a regular contributor.
Big-money free agent lefthander Wei-Yen Chen struggled to a 5.00 ERA, but an inexpensive bullpen built around A.J. Ramos, trade pickups David Phelps, Bryan Morris and Kyle Barraclough and callup Nick Wittgren buoyed the Marlins.
The Marlins had played well enough to consider adding—rather than subtracting—at the trade deadline. The problem is that injuries and underperformance had thinned Miami’s already-scant prospect purse from which to trade. Big righthander Tyler Kolek, the No. 2 overall pick in 2014, needed Tommy John surgery after an uneven first full pro season. Josh Naylor, the No. 1 pick in 2015, was briefly suspended after a prank gone bad resulted in an injury to promising outfielder Stone Garrett. K.J. Woods, the No. 15 prospect entering the season, was released because he just didn’t make enough contact.
In years past, July meant rumors of a possible Fernandez trade. This year it’s the Fish on the hunt for an arm to keep them in contention. They’ve already acquired Fernando Rodney from the Padres for Chris Paddack, who would have ranked No. 5 at midseason, and could be interested in adding rotation depth.
MIDSEASON TOP 10
1. Josh Naylor, 1b
The headline of Naylor’s season is ‘Knife Prank Gone Awry,’ but before the incident with Garrett, Naylor was having an impressive first full pro year at low Class A Greensboro. The Canadian strongman was showing the Marlins everything they wanted to see from the No. 12 pick in 2015, hitting for power, getting on base and playing solid defense. While most clubs centered on Naylor’s plus power, the Marlins felt comfortable drafting Naylor that high because of his feel to hit. The knife incident shows Naylor has some maturing to do and he was suspended for one day in June.
2. Brian Anderson, 3b
Anderson hit well enough to earn a promotion to Double-A Jacksonville and even though he’s struggling there, he has good feel to hit. He identifies pitches early and is selective and he’s capable of hitting 15-20 homers. At third base, he is a plus defender with a strong throwing arm capable of easily making throws from deep third.
3. Jarlin Garcia, lhp
Garcia was called up by the Marlins in May but did not make a big league appearance. He has not pitched since May 28 because of a mild triceps injury. Garcia has some of the best pure stuff in the system with a fastball that touches 96 mph, a curve that can be a strikeout pitch and a slider and changeup. At worst he profiles as a solid lefty setup man.
4. Tyler Kolek, rhp
Kolek is out for the season following Tommy John surgery, but maybe that’s a good thing. The burly Texan, the No. 2 pick in the 2014 draft, signed for $6 million that year but never had shown the Marlins the 100 mph velocity he had in high school. He has a chance now to get healthy, get in peak shape and rebuild his delivery, letting his natural arm strength take over.
5. Austin Brice, rhp
Brice has always had swing-and-miss stuff, but now he’s mixing a two-seamer for ground balls along with a downer slider. He’s showing the best command of his career at Double-A while still getting whiffs above league average. He moved to a relief role in preparation for a potential callup.
6. Luis Castillo, rhp
Castillo’s fastball has hit 101 mph and he has been consistently at 96-97 at high Class A. The pitch has easy velocity. His slider has a lot of depth and he has feel for the changeup, which has been a real weapon against lefthanders.
7. Austin Dean, of
Dean has a feel for the barrel, so Miami believed the power would come for the Klein Collins High product, and it has this year. Free of the power-suppressing FSL, Dean has 25 extra-base hits at Double-A and has swing has more loft than in previous seasons.
8. Anfernee Seymour, ss
Seymour already had the ability to be a game-changer with his legs, but he’s starting to get some feel to hit as well at low Class A. He has well-below average power, but he makes enough contact and can leg out hits with his top-scale speed. He’s a decent defender at short, but the Marlins plan to give him some reps at second base.
9. Stone Garrett, of
An unfortunate victim of the knife prank, Garrett had a slow start after rehabbing from a wrist injury sustained late in 2015. He’s got tons of raw skill that needs refinement but he’s perhaps the most tooled-up player in the system.
10. Dillon Peters, lhp
At high Class A, the smallish lefthander is not overpowering but is polished with superb command of a fastball that sits 88-92 mph. He spins a fair curveball and the changeup is solid-average as well.
Hard-throwing Castillo was unranked entering the season but has moved into the Top 10 . . .Seymour’s game has taken a step up and he has 31 steals, second-most in the South Atlantic League . . . Greensboro catcher Roy Morales has feel to hit. His backup, Angel Reyes, is the better defender. . . . 2011 first-rounder Chris Reed doesn’t overpower hitters, but at 26 is a good athlete with an improved slider.
K.J. Woods, the No. 15 prospect entering the season, was released after failing to make enough contact to warrant his power . . . The Marlins are still confident Isael Soto will hit, but he’s facing more spin than he ever has in full-season ball . . . Righthander Jordan Holloway, a breakout performer in 2015, has been hit hard this season and he was demoted to short-season Batavia.
Kolek is out for the season following Tommy John surgery . . . Stone Garrett hasn’t played since June 1 following the incident with Josh Naylor . . . Lefty Brett Lilek, the No. 20 prospect entering the season, has a strained shoulder and was rehabbing and expected to return soon.
Lefthander Adam Conley, the No. 4 prospect this time last year, has become a key part of the major league rotation. Lefthander Justin Nicolino has struggled at times and doesn’t miss bats, but doesn’t walk many.
COMING ABOARD (Check Draft Database for all picks)
The Marlins’ first five picks of the 2016 draft. (s-supplemental round)
1. Braxton Garrett, lhp, Florence (Ala.) HS. The prep lefthander has huge potential, especially if he can develop more velocity as he gets stronger. He has a feel for quality secondary stuff and the potential for a plus fastball as well.
3. Thomas Jones, of, Laurens (S.C.) HS. Jones has a chance to be a five-tool player if his bat gains more consistency.
4. Sean Reynolds, of, Redondo Union HS, Redondo Beach, Calif. Reynolds offers plenty of projection off the mound, but the Marlins like his lefthanded power bat and are playing him in the outfield.
5. Sam Perez, rhp, Missouri State. A closer in college, Perez is durable, pitching multiple innings like an old-school fireman.
6. Remey Reed, rhp, Oklahoma State. Reed was a key part of an Oklahoma State team that made a deep run into the College World Series. He’s got a solid fastball/slider combo.