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The last time the Marlins held the second overall pick in the draft, they went to the Texas prep pitcher ranks and got a future World Series MVP in Josh Beckett. Going to the same well last June, they nabbed Kolek, a countrystrong fireballer whom they signed for $6 million. That broke Beckett's 15-year-old club record for the largest bonus in Marlins history. Baseball America research indicates that at 6-foot-5, 260 pounds, Kolek is the heaviest first-round high school righthander in draft history. Long-time scouts consider Kolek the hardest-throwing amateur in draft history, both for peak velocity (102 mph) and for consistently hitting 100. This after his junior year was cut short due to a broken arm he sustained during a baserunning collision. He came back hitting 99 mph in Texas' Area Code Games tryouts. His younger brother Stephen also is a big-bodied, hard-throwing righty who is drafteligible in 2015. Kolek has unprecedented size and arm strength, and he has coordination and arm speed to boot. The combination creates top-end velocity, even by today's radar-gun standards. Area scouts in Texas often had side bets with each other to see who could guess the velocity of his first warmup pitch, which often was as high as 97 mph, and he hit 100 virtually every time out in the spring. However, his fastball backed up a bit to 91-94 mph in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League after signing due to a back issue and inconsistent direction in his delivery. The Marlins got him back on track in instructional league, with improved arm speed and more consistent stride, and they believe he'll pitch with a heavy, 95-97 mph heater consistently . Another key aspect of Kolek's fastball is its heavy sinking life, and scouts believe he'll break a lot of wood bats and induce a lot of groundballs. He gets tremendous extension in his delivery at his best, with a long stride to the plate and the ability to get over his front side and finish his pitches. Kolek's top-of-the-scale fastball helps his secondary stuff play up. He's shown an ability to spin the ball, with proper arm speed, though both his slider and power curveball need polish. He doesn't land either pitch consistently for strikes at this point, but both have flashed above-average, with an upper-70s curveball with depth and mid-80s slider with some tilt. At times they blend into one pitch, and he may wind up concentrating on one breaking ball as he develops. Kolek's changeup will be a focal point for his 2015 development, because while he threw it in bullpens and showcases, he didn't throw it in games as a senior. Kolek is considered a solid athlete who's coordinated even at his massive size, but he'll be tested holding runners and fielding his position. He showed improvement in his debut but at times was a slow as 1.5 seconds to the plate. Heading into the draft, the industry had no comparison point for Kolek, who is off the charts in so many ways. He encouraged Marlins officials by improving in instructional league after encountering a bit of adversity and losing something off his fastball in the GCL. Look for Kolek to open 2015 at low Class A Greensboro. The progression of his changeup and fastball command will be key early indicators to see if he hops on a Jose Fernandez-like fast track or if he'll need more time to develop. He could become the next great Texasbred power pitcher.
When he wasn't throwing touchdown passes in high school, Realmuto was manning shortstop on the baseball field. After signing him for $600,000 as a third-round pick in 2010, the Marlins transitioned him to catcher, and it proved a savvy move. When starter Jarrod Saltalamacchia missed time with a concussion in 2014, the Marlins called up Realmuto from Double-A Jacksonville to make his big league debut rather than summon Kyle Skipworth or Rob Brantly from Triple-A. Realmuto's athleticism and plus arm strength shine behind the plate. He runs well for a catcher and his game-calling and handling of pitchers have earned praise from Miami manager Mike Redmond. Realmuto threw out 39 percent of basestealers in 2014, posting pop times of 1.85 seconds on throws to second base, and he projects as an above-average defender overall. His offensive numbers in 2013 suffered as a result of his emphasis on defense, but he got back on track in 2014, focusing on a shorter swing and all-fields approach. His bat stays in the zone longer, and he has the strength for gap power, though consistent double-digit home run seasons aren't likely in his future. Realmuto profiles as an everyday catcher with two-way potential, but he may have to wait a bit at Triple-A New Orleans for his opportunity. Saltalamacchia is signed through 2016, and the Marlins exercised their 2015 club option on Jeff Mathis.
The Marlins acquired Nicolino from the Blue Jays as part of the November 2012 megadeal that sent Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and others to Toronto. Nicolino won over Miami manager Mike Redmond when he pitched for him at low Class A Lansing in the Blue Jays system. He pitched effectively at Double-A Jacksonville in 2014, winning Southern League pitcher of the year honors after leading the circuit in wins (14), ERA (2.85) and WHIP (1.07). Nicolino struck out just 4.3 batters per nine innings in 2014--fewer than all but six qualified minor league starters--but the Marlins aren't worried. He induces plenty of weak contact early in the count thanks to off-the-charts pitchability and a smooth, repeatable delivery. Nicolino has elite control, as evidenced by ranking third in the minors with 1.1 walks per nine. He incorporated a cutter in 2014 that he showed five or six times a game, but often he could log several innings using nothing but fastballs and changeups, precisely placed. He has to be fine, for only his changeup earns above-average grades. Nicolino's 88-91 mph fastball can reach 93 but lacks life. His mid- to upper-70s curveball bounced back to average late in 2014 after he'd struggled with it early. Nicolino likely will advance to Triple-A New Orleans in 2015. His overall profile is rare--most scouts project him as a No. 4 starter--but with his plus command he could reach a higher ceiling.
Originally signed for $52,000, Urena capped his 2013 season with a solid second half as a starter at high Class A Jupiter. He teamed with lefty Justin Nicolino in 2014 to give Double-A Jacksonville a pair of aces in the Suns' Southern League championship season, ranking second in the league to Nicolino in wins (13) and WHIP (1.14) while also ranking second in strikeouts (121). Urena's fastball/changeup combination is reminiscent of ex-Marlins reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo (formerly Leo Nunez). His plus fastball can sit at 94-95 mph, bumping 96, while his plus changeup is firm in the upper 80s with run and sink. Though his delivery is on the funky side, Urena repeats it and generally doesn't have issues controlling the strike zone, though below-average command makes him more hittable than his stuff suggests. Once Urena started trusting his stuff, he was able to get over a slow start in 2014 (6.66 ERA in April). His breaking ball, a hard slider, remains below-average but has its moments, and it remains the biggest obstacle to him missing more bats. The Marlins will have to decide whether Urena is a starter or a reliever. He has expressed a desire to keep starting, and the Marlins for the time appear willing to accommodate him, aware that patience now could yield a bigger payoff later. Don't be surprised to see Urena make his big league debut in relief sometime in 2015.
Romero's older brother Jordan, who played at NAIA Embry-Riddle (Fla.), was the better-fielding shortstop in high school, pushing Avery off the position when they played on the same team. He shifted to second base full time upon turning pro. At low Class A Greensboro in 2014, he ranked fifth in the South Atlantic League in batting (.320), helping lead the Grasshoppers to the league's best record. The Marlins sent him back down for the playoffs after he also hit .320 during a month-long promotion to high Class A Jupiter. Romero might have the quickest bat in the organization, consistently showing the ability to turn on good fastballs. He showed improved balance and worked on plate-coverage issues in 2014 as well. A below-average runner, Romero is a gap-to-gap hitter who has the strength to drive pitches out of the park as his pitch recognition improves. Defensively, he has improved significantly since his amateur days, showing that despite his stocky body he has quick enough feet and solid hands to handle second base, along with a solid-average arm. Romero already has shown he can hit in the Florida State League and should return to Jupiter to start 2015. He could hop on the fast track if he keeps hitting, though Dee Gordon now blocks his path at second base.
German had never pitched in full-season ball until 2014, when he broke out in a big way at low Class A Greensboro. The Marlins' lone representative at the 2014 Futures Game, he impressed with a scoreless inning that featured strikeouts of top prospects Kris Bryant and Joey Gallo. Pitchability isn't German's strength right now, but throwing strikes is. He has an easy delivery he repeats well to go with a loose, live arm that produces aboveaverage life on a heavy sinking fastball that sits in the 91-96 mph range and touches 97. He got his share of groundballs with his fastball and with his low-80s changeup, a pitch he's shown he knows how to use and that flashes average potential. German throws his slurvy curveball with low-80s power and 10-to-4 break. It's his third pitch at this point, which has some scouts projecting him as a future reliever. He's still in the early stages of learning pitch sequencing and how to set up hitters. German's control of a plus fastball makes him a prospect, but he'll need to develop his secondary stuff to be a future rotation option in Miami. Added to the 40-man roster in November, he is set to move up to high Class A Jupiter for 2015 and hopes to follow the career path of fellow live-armed Dominican Jose Urena.
Part of Miami's 2013 international signing class, Soto signed for $310,000, and the Marlins jumped him straight to the U.S. when he made his pro debut in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League as a 17-year-old in 2014. His present strength was evident, as he slugged .426 and ranked second in the GCL with seven home runs. Soto is raw, but he opened eyes in the GCL, putting up better numbers at a younger age than Marcell Ozuna did at the same level. He earns some comparisons with Ozuna, and other comps to a lefthanded version of Raul Mondesi, thanks to his stocky body and plus, right-field arm. The ball sounds different coming off Soto's bat, and he's aggressive, at times to a fault, as are many young sluggers. He also has short, stocky arms that contribute to his short swing and direct path to the ball. He makes fair contact and consistently gets to his power in games, driving the ball to all fields. He's an average runner now, and the Marlins may give him some time in center field in 2015. The Marlins don't need young outfielders'they already have three in Miami'so Soto doesn't need to be fast-tracked. Nevertheless, he's headed to low Class A Greensboro for 2015. He fits the profile of a corner outfielder as long as he keeps hitting.
Williams previously pitched for two traditional powers. The San Diego native attended Rancho Bernardo High, where he played for coach Sam Blalock, and he attended Arizona State. A down junior season in 2013, in which his ERA doubled to 4.12, dropped him to the second round, where he signed for a $1,261,400 bonus. He made the high Class A Florida State League all-star team in 2014, then finished at Double-A Jacksonville. Marlins officials consider Williams among the system's most cerebral pitchers, and his advanced approach makes up for not having a plus pitch. He throws both a four- and two-seam fastball from a drop-and-drive delivery, pitching up and down in the zone with low-90s velocity and keeping the ball down. He has reached 96 mph in shorter stints when pitching as a reliever. Williams gave up just five home runs in 2014 and gets his share of groundball outs. He added an upper-80s cutter-type slider in 2014 and has more confidence in his changeup than his low-70s, early count curveball. Williams lacks a putaway pitch but has a chance to be an innings-eating No. 4 starter. He should start 2015 back at Double-A and could approach his career minor league innings total (178).
Like many picks of scouting director Stan Meek, Anderson has Oklahoma ties, and he was a prep teammate of Mets farmhand Michael Fulmer. A 20th-round pick out of high school (Twins), Anderson didn't sign and helped lead Arkansas to the College World Series while playing the outfield as a freshman. He was a consistent hitter for the Razorbacks while playing several positions and signed for $600,000 as a 2014 third-rounder. In Anderson, the Marlins landed a hitter with a fluid, smooth, fundamentally sound swing and plus raw power. The ball jumps off his bat thanks in part to an advanced feel for hitting and strength that belies his slender but athletic frame. He played second base at short-season Batavia but moved to third base, in deference to Avery Romero, at low Class A Greensboro. He showed mid-90s velocity in fall workouts at Arkansas and has plenty of arm for third. He's an above-average runner whose defensive shuffling has kept him from developing proficiency at any position. At times the game speeds up on him defensively, and he'll need plenty of reps to prove he can handle third. If Anderson continues to tap into his power as a pro--he hit 11 homers in his debut after hitting 13 in three college seasons--he could give the Marlins a profile third baseman. He's ticketed for high Class A Jupiter to start 2015.
Garcia signed as a 17-year-old and it took him three seasons to reach full-season ball. In the interim, he grew physically and developed one of the organization's better curveballs. He led the low Class A South Atlantic League in lowest walk rate (1.35/9 IP) while leading Greensboro in victories, and he didn't give up an earned run in his final four starts, spanning 18 innings. Athletic and live-bodied, Garcia shows excellent control of a live, above-average fastball in the 90-95 mph range. His curveball still flashes above-average as well in the upper 70s, but somewhere between instructional league and the 2014 season, he lost the feel for it. His slinging delivery sometimes makes it tough for him to stay on top of the pitch. To avoid going through a full season without a breaking ball, Garcia started throwing a hard slider, and he has a changeup with some fade that is firm in the low 80s. Despite his athleticism, he needs polish defensively, both fielding and holding runners. Garcia's strong finish restored optimism to what had been a season of struggles. He wasn't protected on the 40-man roster but he wasn't picked in the Rule 5 draft, so the Marlins can send him to high Class A Jupiter. A consistent breaking ball would give him a mid-rotation ceiling.
An infielder in high school, Dean has logged no professional innings on the dirt. The Marlins immediately moved the 2012 fourth-rounder to left field, where he projects as an everyday player with power. Dean has totaled just 14 homers in 784 minor league at-bats, but the Marlins expect the power to continue developing. He hit a career-best .308 in 99 games at low Class A Greensboro in 2014, building on his solid debut at short-season Batavia in 2013. An aggressive, hard-nosed player, Dean does just about everything well offensively. His best attribute is outstanding bat speed. He lowered his strikeout rate from 20 percent in 2013 to 16 percent in 2014. What he lacks is a plus throwing arm, which may not be as much of an issue if Dean ultimately moves back to first base from left field. Dean probably doesn't have sufficient foot speed to man center field, but he has recorded average run times from home to first.
Signed away from Oregon State for $525,000 in 2013, Bohn will man shortstop at Double-A Jacksonville in 2015 after delivering a strong full-season debut between two Class A levels. While he doesn't have flashy tools, with average range and arm strength, scouts watching him over a five-game series see him make all the plays at shortstop and consistently drive balls to the gaps. Bohn hits for a solid average from a simple set-up and level swing, and the Marlins anticipate the hit tool to continue developing through the upper levels. Bohn ruptured a ligament in his finger toward the end of the 2014 season, and the Marlins thought he might not be able to fulfill his Arizona Fall League assignment. The injury did not require surgery, and he ranked among Salt River's top hitters (.328/.409/.431) in 58 at-bats. He logged some AFL innings at second, learning the nuances of the position with an eye toward increasing his versatility. He's an average runner who's becoming a more aggressive baserunner. Bohn should arrive at spring training in 2015 brimming with confidence and ready for the upper minors.
The Marlins acquired Ramsey from the Rays in July 2014, sending their second, third and fourth international bonus slots--which totaled just more than $1 million--to Tampa Bay. Already in the Double-A Southern League with the Rays, he made the move from Montgomery to Jacksonville and exhibited better command with a mid-90s fastball and power curveball repertoire. After opening his season with a 1.16 WHIP while with the Biscuits, Ramsey finished the campaign with a 0.94 WHIP in Jacksonville. Talent evaluators who saw Ramsey during the Suns' SL title run--when he saved three of their six victories and struck out eight in four innings'said he was good enough to retire major league hitters. Ramsey's fastball/curve combo should get him to the big leagues at some point in 2015. Built like a bulldog, he brings those same traits to the mound. Everything about his game is power and attack. He also shows a changeup as a third offering, but rarely uses it. Added to the 40-man roster in November, Ramsey has a chance to break camp with Miami.
The raw but tooled-up Twine rushed for 534 yards as a sophomore for Hemphill (Texas) High, and after his family moved across state to Falls City, he scored five touchdowns on just 13 touches in his first football game. Baylor offered him a scholarship, but Twine declined in part because football might be his second-best sport. The Marlins drafted Twine as a shortstop, the position he played in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2014 after signing for $1,316,000. How his stocky frame develops and whether his throwing mechanics hold up will determine whether he stays there. Twine arrived with a tendency to throw everything to first from a low slot, giving his ball a two-seam action instead of the necessary backspin. A plus runner with plus arm strength, he also projects to have better than average power. The Marlins would like to keep him at shortstop, but his physicality makes him a candidate to move to second or third base. He didn't see a lot of quality breaking stuff in high school, so Twine tended to swing early in the count to avoid two-strike breaking stuff. His focus offensively in 2015 will be pitch recognition and strike-zone awareness. He'll need a strong spring to earn a spot at low Class A Greensboro.
Bour rose from minor league Rule 5 draft selection in 2013 to big leaguer a year later with the Marlins, who called him up for an interleague road swing through American League parks in June to be used as a DH. He spent five seasons in the Cubs system, missing two months in 2013 with a hairline fracture in his wrist but still slugging 18 home runs at Double-A Tennessee. Nevertheless, the Marlins sought out Bour in the Triple-A phase of the 2013 Rule 5 draft and landed him for just $12,000, acquiring a slugger for their Triple-A New Orleans lineup who earned a September callup. A hulking, lumbering first baseman with bottom-of-the-scale speed, Bour has the most power in the system, with a chance to hit enough to be a regular, even at first base. He has some pre-swing movement in his swing, but when he's on time, he's short to the ball. He has the strength to drive the ball out to all fields with plus power. He has good hands at first base but below-average range. Bour's lack of athleticism and struggles with lefthanders may limit him to part-time duty. He's shown the feel for hitting and power to be a low-cost option at first base for the 2015 Marlins.
Schales was set to play at Long Beach State before the Marlins enticed him into pro ball with a $490,000 signing bonus as a fourth-round pick, and he may be the most accomplished of the young hitters Miami took in the 2014 draft. He has a smooth, functional swing in place and shows advanced ability to recognize pitches. He projects to have slightly above-average power and slightly below-average speed. The Marlins sent him to instructional league to work him at shortstop to get a feel for him there, though he played mostly third base after signing. Schales likely will stay at the hot corner moving forward based on his bat and an organizational logjam at shortstop. A good spring should earn him a spot at low Class A Greensboro, a step behind fellow 2014 draft pick Brian Anderson on the organizational ladder.
The Marlins don't anticipate having a need for a shortstop any time soon with slick-fielding Adeiny Hechavarria still in his major league infancy, but they have a nice stockpile in the minors. Riddle played mostly third and second base in the first half alongside Justin Bohn but took over as low Class A Greensboro's shortstop in the second half after Bohn's promotion, and the team didn't skip a beat. Riddle's numbers don't jump off the page, but the Marlins love his tools. Some in the organization liken him to Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer. Riddle has all the essentials--an above-average arm, great hands and footwork'to play short at a high level. The lefthanded hitter has solid gap power, some leverage in his swing and solid-average speed. He shows good range up the middle and in the hole, and rarely does he get caught fielding a ball flat-footed. The Marlins also love Riddle's leadership ability and clubhouse presence, which along with his lefty bat profiles him well as a future utility infielder. He's headed to high Class A Jupiter with a chance to reach Double-A Jacksonville in 2015.
Elbow tendinitis robbed Conley of a chance to build on a stellar 2013, when he shined at Double-A Jacksonville. Limited to 12 regular season starts in 2014, mostly at Triple-A New Orleans, he was hammered in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. That cost Conley an opportunity to make his major league debut in 2014, but he remains an intriguing lefty who ultimately could make a permanent move to the bullpen. He pitches off an average 88-92 mph fastball with some tailing action, with a fringe-average slider and solid-average changeup that flashes better. In spite of the elbow issue, Conley was able to repeat his delivery more consistently in 2014 than the year before. Prior to that, Conley would tend to fly open and would be late on his delivery. The Marlins are hoping that, if healthy, he will develop more of a bulldog mentality. Conley seems destined to remain in the New Orleans rotation in 2015. He's already on the 40-man roster, so he could be called upon any time he's pitching well.
Tampa resident Chuck Hernandez, the Marlins' big league pitching coach and former assistant coach at South Florida, knew of Mader from his days Marianna (Fla.) High, which is the alma mater of Marlins backup catcher Jeff Mathis. Mader spent two years at Chipola (Fla.) JC, and the Marlins signed the 2014 supplemental third-rounder away from a Florida State scholarship for $499,500. The strong-bodied Mader impressed the Marlins with his solid delivery and three-pitch repertoire. His fastball sits 90-93 mph and he complements it with a 12-to-6 overhand curveball that flashes plus and a changeup that requires more consistency. Mader went through a transitional period in pro ball, looking tentative at times but occasionally dominating at short-season Batavia. One Marlins' front office executive said Mader improved each of the three times he saw him, and he concluded his first pro season having allowed four earned runs over his final 23 innings. He should be ready to move up to low Class A Greensboro in 2015 and has a ceiling as mid-rotation starter.
The tall and slender Castellanos remains raw but has plenty of projectability. Through two Dominican Summer League seasons, he had trouble finding the zone, so the Marlins were prepared to keep him in the DSL a third season in 2013. However, former minor league pitching coordinator Wayne Rosenthal encouraged the club to bring Castellanos to the U.S., and the added instruction proved beneficial. While his stuff is live, he struggled with command at short-season Batavia in 2014. Nevertheless, the Marlins are excited. Castellanos has an easy delivery and good sink on the fastball, which sits 91-93 mph. Those figures should rise as he adds strength. He also throws an inconsistent slider that has flashed two-plane break at its best. Among the priorities for him in 2015 are gaining consistency with the slider and additional touch on the changeup. Castellanos will head for low Class A Greensboro in 2015.
A product of the Bahamas who relocated to South Florida to attend high school, Seymour is the fastest player in the system after joining the Marlins as a seventh-round pick in 2014. Scouting director Stan Meek timed him at 6.14 seconds in the 60-yard dash, making him the fastest player he's ever timed. Signed for $400,000, Seymour made his debut in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2014 and stole bases on pure speed, but he also shows good technique for a player his age. He does have to work on staying low when he breaks and eliminate the tendency to make his first move standing upright. The Marlins taught Seymour to switch-hit after turning pro, and he showed an impressive feel for slashing the ball from the left side. He has shown plus range and a plus arm at shortstop, with one talent evaluator characterizing him as very good on plays he doesn't have to think about. Many of Seymour's defensive miscues came on plays where he had too much time to make his throws. He doesn't bring much power to the table, but he has the potential to be a disruptive baserunner in the Billy Hamilton mold.
Ellington took a circuitous route to pro ball. In September 2007, he had Tommy John surgery and missed his senior season at Oak Hall School in Gainesville, Fla. He had already earned a scholarship to Florida State and was ready to report as a healthy freshman. That scenario didn't materialize when Ellington and the Seminoles could not agree on a rehab plan. He went through two junior colleges in Florida before ultimately landing at Division II West Florida, which won the 2011 national championship. Fast forward to 2014 at high Class A Jupiter, where Ellington in his third pro season featured a power fastball that sat 93-97 mph and regularly touched the upper 90s, with reports of a few stray 100 mph readings. His Achilles heel was holding baserunners. After some initial struggles, his times to the plate improved from about 1.6 seconds to as fast as 1.35 seconds. Ellington throws an average slider, but his best breaking pitch is a power curve in the low 80s that flashes plus with two-plane break. He threw 13 innings in the Arizona Fall League following the 2014 season, putting him on the fast track for 2015. He'll open at Double-A Jacksonville but has a chance to take off with his power arm.
Rosa attended Washington High in the Bronx, N.Y.--alma mater of Manny Ramirez--and was cut from his high school baseball team three times before sticking. He played at two junior colleges, one year at Wallace State (Ala.) CC and another at Odessa (Texas) JC before transforming himself into one of the better power prospects in the system. He followed up a 23-homer campaign at hitter-friendly low Class A Greensboro in 2013 with 13 at high Class A Jupiter in 2014, plus six more (including the postseason) during a promotion to Double-A Jacksonville. Rosa's focus in 2014 was to do more than just use the natural loft in his lefthanded swing to launch homers, and he improved at developing more of a line-drive swing. He has some feel for hitting, has added polish to his approach and isn't a strikeout machine. However, he is a below-average runner and subpar first baseman. Scouts panned Rosa's footwork at first base and think ultimately he fits best as a DH. He will return to Jacksonville to begin 2015.
Director of international operations Albert Gonzalez just needed to see one bullpen session before signing off on Cavanerio. Though he didn't light up radar gun or exhibit any plus pitches, Cavanerio's arm action, delivery and feel for pitches all captured the Marlins' interest, as did his projectable body. Cavanerio proved hittable at short-season Batavia in 2014, but the Marlins anticipate his fastball, which sits 91-93 mph, will jump as he continues maturing physically and learns to repeat his delivery. He's not afraid to challenge hitters and throw strikes. Cavanerio also throws a plus changeup as a second offering and will continue developing a breaking pitch in 2015 when he moves up to low Class A Greensboro.
The tooled-up Lopez was the Marlins' biggest international signee in 2011, when he received a $350,000 bonus. His minor league performances through three pro seasons are not commensurate with his top-shelf tools. After opening the 2014 season at low Class A Greensboro, he saw his development stall due in large part to a subluxed shoulder. When he got healthy, Lopez didn't hit and ultimately received a demotion to short-season Batavia. At times he struggles getting out of the batter's box or gets poor jumps on steal attempts. His shoulder issue no doubt contributed to his .223/.264/.302 batting line in 2014. Lopez has a plus arm but needs to improve his accuracy. Though Lopez has hit just two home runs in 667 professional at-bats, scouts project him to hit for average power, but it's time for him to turn his tools into production as he returns to Greensboro in 2015.
In spite of what many evaluators likely rubber-stamped as a bad body, Munoz's bat and swing as an amateur were too good for the Marlins to ignore. He ranked among the top hitters in the South Atlantic League in 2014. While Greensboro's NewBridge Bank Park is a bandbox, Munoz's power is legit. He hit nearly as many homers on the road (seven) as at home (nine), and his 16 bombs led the Grasshoppers. He has strong plate discipline and strike-zone recognition to go with his pop, and he makes fairly consistent contact. He's a consistent, solid-average defender who led SAL first basemen with a .994 fielding percentage. While he's a below-average runner, Munoz could see time in left field at high Class A Jupiter.
Del Pozo showed an average curveball as an amateur and everything else was below-average, including his fastball, which now touches 96 mph. His curve, at times a bit slurvy, has a nice bite and finish, and the Marlins love his makeup. One talent evaluator identified Del Pozo as the safest bet to reach the majors among Marlins pitching prospects. Working exclusively in relief in the first half of 2014, he went 0-4, 6.15. He was a different pitcher after the break, lowering his ERA to 3.62 and holding opponents to a .233 average. Del Pozo also throws an average changeup with good action from a deceptive delivery, and he works with an aggressive tempo. The Marlins are debating whether to try Del Pozo, who logged 164 innings through four seasons, in a starting role at high Class A Jupiter thanks to his three-pitch mix.
McKirahan pitched just 58 innings in three college seasons for Texas, then signed with the Cubs as a 21st-rounder in 2011. He had Tommy John surgery in 2012, so 2014 was his first true full season as a healthy professional. He was ready, shooting through the high Class A Florida State League to finish the year at Double-A Tennessee. He pounded the strike zone consistently with a plus fastball, sitting 92-96 mph at times with some armside run. The Cubs left him off the 40-man roster and the Marlins took him in the major league Rule 5 draft, so he has to stick on the Miami roster all year or be offered back to Chicago. McKirahan has a solid-average changeup in the mid-80s that he sells well to righthanders, and he actually had more success against them (.203 average) than same-side hitters (.301). His curveball remains inconsistent thanks to a long arm action. Mike Dunn projects to be the Marlins' lone lefty in the bullpen, so McKirahan has a fighting chance to make the roster.
Signed for $205,000, Brice has become a mainstay of the Top 30 Prospects but hasn't made it out of Class A yet. He retains one of the system's best pitches, a hard curveball that has good 12-to-6 shape and firm velocity around 80 mph when it's at its best. His fastball is a second above-average pitch, sitting 90-94 mph and bumping 95 regularly. He's shown the ability to pull the string on a changeup capably as well. Brice's issues continue to stem from his inability to repeat his delivery and find a consistent release point. While his walk rate of 3.9 per nine innings in 2014 was the best mark of his career, he still gets behind in too many counts. Brice keeps the ball in the ballpark and made progress with his control, but he may lack the command to remain a starter. He'll get a big test at Double-A Jacksonville.
The Marlins drafted Suggs in 2013 thinking the former Arkansas relief ace might not be long for the minors. He arrived in pro ball with a power fastball/curveball combo in place and hit some 96 mphs with his fastball in instructional league. He ended his pro debut in the high Class A Florida State League and returned to Jupiter in 2014, but he was a different pitcher. An ultra-aggressive reliever, Suggs didn't adapt well to extended outings. His ERA rose and his strikeout rate fell, and it took until August for the power on his stuff to come back. His fastball sat in the low 90s much of the season, and he couldn't locate it well thanks to the effort in his delivery. Suggs was hitting some 95s in August, and his 11-to-5 power curveball, which can reach the low 80s, remains a solid-average pitch, though he needs to land it more often. The better version of Suggs could still move quickly, with a Double-A Jacksonville test set for 2015. Exteme
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