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Entering the 2014 draft, Kolek was an outlier. At 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, he's a massivebodied Texan with a triple-digit fastball who had a chance to become the first high school righthander to go No. 1 overall. A three-sport star who was drawing interest as a football defensive end, Kolek decided to focus exclusively on baseball after a tryout for the Area Code Games in May 2014. Scouts said Kolek was the hardest-throwing prep pitcher in the 50 years of the draft, but it was difficult to project him, simply because there was no easy comparison. Ultimately, the Astros picked Brady Aiken No. 1--but did not sign him--while the Marlins scooped up Kolek and signed him for $6 million, the largest signing bonus in club history. Kolek's size is unprecedented for a first-round prep righthander, but his premium velocity does not come from torso bulk and legs alone. He has outstanding arm strength and quickness, and when he's going right, he has a coordinated delivery with tremendous extension. Given additional rest, Kolek threw 13 consecutive pitches that ranged from 98-101 mph in an early summer outing. He uses his big frame to create a long stride to the plate and has the ability to get over his front side and finish his pitches. At his best his fastball has heavy sink, which generates groundballs and destroys bats. More frequently, though, Kolek's fastball sat at 91-94 mph for much of the first half of the season (and dipped into the high 80s at his worst), picking up only when he was given extra days off. The velocity was closer to what he's shown in the past late in the season, but there were few outings where Kolek showed the consistent top-of-the-scale velocity he demonstrated in high school. Even in a statistically poor season and in a home run-friendly park at low Class A Greensboro, he allowed just seven home runs in 108 innings, which is indicative of the difficulty batters face when trying lift his pitches or square them. But even when he has his best fastball, Kolek has trouble putting hitters away because he lacks a quality second offering to keep hitters from timing his fastball. (He struck out a below-average 6.7 batters per nine innings.) Despite his dominance in high school and draft pedigree, he has the makeup of a grinder and has the competitive nature of a later pick. The progression of his breaking ball will be a vital factor for Kolek's development. He spent the season transitioning from a curveball--which lacked sharpness and depth--to a power slider, and he continued to work on that pitch during instructional league. Both are currently well below-average offerings although Kolek's arm speed should help his slider develop. He also will need to gain feel for a changeup, a pitch he rarely needed to use in high school. It's currently too firm and he struggles to command it, although his feel improves as the game progresses. Despite his struggles in 2015, Kolek showed an ability to fight through adversity. He also got his body in much better shape, shaving the baby fat he carried at Shepherd High. Kolek has the premium velocity, arm strength, physicality and durable body of a front-line starter, but he has a lengthy to-do list to reach that ceiling. Kolek's command and secondary stuff have to make dramatic improvements. How far they progress will determine whether he returns to Greensboro or advances to high Class A Jupiter.
The 12th overall pick in 2015, Naylor became the highest-drafted Canadian batter ever, going four spots higher than Brett Lawrie did in 2008. He shot up several draft boards after he hit five home runs in 12 games during the Canadian Junior National Team's trip to the Dominican Republic in May. The Marlins signed him for a below-slot $2.2 million bonus. Naylor has double-plus raw power, and that is the tool that sold the Marlins, who compared him with Prince Fielder for bat speed and strength. Naylor also has Fielder's thick build and was said to have packed on 20 pounds since the summer to his already ample frame. While power is his calling card, he has special hands, makes consistent hard contact to all fields and has plenty of polish to his approach. The Marlins consider him a hit-first-rather than power-over-hit-player with looseness in his swing. He's a decent athlete with an above-average arm, but his below-average speed precludes outfield as a plausible option. Naylor has advanced hitting ability and has seen high-level pitching thanks to his Team Canada experience, which included an August/September tour in the 18U World Cup in Japan. He led the event with 15 hits (in 31 at-bats) and three home runs. That should allow him to begin his first full season at low Class A Greensboro.
Garcia signed as a 17-year-old and needed three seasons to reach full-season ball in 2014. Following that season, the Marlins left him unprotected in the Rule 5 draft, but he went unclaimed. He made the high Class A Florida State League all-star team at midseason 2015 and took the loss at the Futures Game before finishing the season at Double-A Jacksonville. The athletic Garcia has above-average control to go with a fastball that touches 95 mph and sits in the low 90s. The powerful threequarters curveball that he struggled to command in 2014 at low Class A Greensboro improved in 2015, and he showed better command of it. His slinging delivery sometimes makes it tough for him to stay on top of his curve, but it will flash as a tick-above-average offering a few times each outing. Garcia also developed feel for his low-80s changeup, which became an above-average offering and is a bat-missing weapon thanks to excellent late fade. With his clean arm action, delivery and stuff, Garcia is the best pitching prospect the Marlins have above the Class A level. He will begin 2016 at Jacksonville and profiles as a No. 4 starter, with a flyball profile that should play in spacious Marlins Park.
Gregory Garrett got the nickname "Stone" as a chip off the old block from his dad, a former football player called "Rock." He received some college football recruiting interest but was committed to Rice to play baseball before signing for $162,000. He struggled in his pro debut but dominated at short-season Batavia in 2015, leading the New York-Penn League in home runs (11), RBIs (46) and slugging (.581). Strong and physical, Garrett looks the part of a football player with a muscular frame. His plus raw power and plus bat speed started to show up in 2015. He also made mechanical adjustments to loosen his stiff swing, which had hindered his ability to get to his power. He also improved his approach at the plate, more confident to let some pitches pass, but he'll have to control the strike zone better as he progresses. When he makes contact, the ball has a different sound off the bat, scouts say. He's an above-average runner whose angles and routes have improved in center field, but those attributes and his throwing arm, particularly his accuracy, need work. Garrett has worked to be a viable center fielder but may need to move to a corner, which would put more pressure on his bat. The Marlins praise his makeup and desire, and he overcame a late wrist injury to take part in instructional league. Garrett should play at low Class A Greensboro in 2016.
With Andrew Heaney traded and Justin Nicolino graduated, Flores stands as the highest-ranked of a group of strike-throwing, command-over-stuff prospects the Marlins had accumulated. Miami added the control artist in a trade that sent Casey McGehee to the Giants in December 2014, and after starting 2015 at Double-A Jacksonville, he got a big league callup in June, one of two short stints with the Marlins. Flores has nearly four strikeouts for every walk as a professional, which stems from above-average control of a four-pitch mix. He works at 88-91 mph and touches 93 as a starter, pitching aggressively in the strike zone despite his modest velocity. He mixes in a changeup that grades as a tick above-average and that he feels confident throwing in any count. Flores adds and subtracts better than any pitcher in the organization, helping his fastball play up. His low- to mid-80s slider and upper-70s curveball also can flash average, but both lack consistent depth. Flores is athletic and has a clean delivery, with a slight hesitation at the start that makes him more difficult to time. Without a plus pitch and not much projection, Flores profiles as a back-end starter, though he worked out of the bullpen with the Marlins. He seems destined to head back to Triple-A New Orleans to start 2016.
Drafted by the Twins in the 20th round out of high school, Anderson didn't sign and went on to help Arkansas reach the College World Series as an outfielder in 2011 before shifting to the infield. Anderson has a strong base of offensive tools. At his best, he has a fluid, fundamentally-sound righthanded swing and plus raw power. He has juice in his bat that belies his wiry frame, and he has a good enough approach to get to his pop. He ranked 18th in the power-sapping Florida State League with 32 extra-base hits. Anderson has more than enough arm to play the hot corner and has the actions and footwork of a plus defender at third base. He led FSL third basemen by starting 28 double plays. Despite that, he's shown the versatility to play second base and the outfield. He's an above-average runner underway but not a basestealer. Anderson has played the outfield, second base and third base with aplomb, so he has a floor as a useful utility player. He should escape the FSL for the better hitting environment of Double-A Jacksonville in 2016, and if his power shows up in games, he could prove to be an everyday third baseman.
An infielder at Klein Collins High who played first and second base, Dean immediately moved to left field upon being drafted by the Marlins in 2012 because of his footwork and lack of arm strength. He was expected to join prep teammate C.J. Hinojosa at Texas, but he turned pro instead when Miami offered $367,200. Dean has totaled just 19 homers in 1,303 minor league at-bats, but the Marlins still believe in the development of his raw power. He has shown a feel to hit with a knack for barreling the ball and has a swing geared for line drives. The righthanded batter tied for second in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League with 32 doubles and ranked fourth with 139 hits at high Class A Jupiter. Dean has average to tick above speed but needs to be more efficient in his stolen-base attempts. An average defender in left field who also has played a lot in right, he has a below-average arm that opponents challenge frequently. He tied for second in the FSL with 15 outfield assists. Dean hasn't shown the power to fit the first-division corner-outfield profile. He has shown the ability to make adjustments at the plate and good contact ability, however, so the Marlins are banking on more power developing. Expect him to head to Double-A Jacksonville in 2016.
Never had private Greenfield High in Wilson, N.C., had a player drafted prior to 2015, and then it happened twice. White and fellow outfielder Dwanya Sutton were both East Carolina commits, with Sutton (an unsigned 26th-rounder of the Reds) deciding to head to ECU while White signed with the Marlins, receiving the full third-round slot value of $698,100. White is a raw, explosive natural athlete with premium 80-grade speed on the 20-80 scouting scale. As a runner, he glides to steal bases and has enough instincts to stay in center field. He lacks polish and will need plenty of at-bats, but White has tremendous bat speed that one club official compared with that of former Marlins all-star Gary Sheffield. He didn't see a lot of quality pitching as an amateur and will have to continue to make adjustments at the plate, especially relating to breaking balls. White has some present strength and raw power potential. His arm is below-average, though it could improve with cleaner mechanics. Despite his rawness, he has good game awareness and a good internal clock. White earns good marks for his makeup and coachability, leading scouts to project him more favorably. He's a lottery ticket who may need a second year in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2016.
Soto signed for $310,000 in 2013 and was part of the Marlins' international haul of 32 players. He received the organization's second-largest outlay that summer behind Jhonny Santos. The physically mature lefthanded hitter missed more than two months in 2015 because of an injury to the meniscus of his left knee. While Soto has short arms, he has excellent bat speed and a smooth swing path that generates plus raw power. He consistently barrels pitches and takes a direct trajectory to the ball. Soto hangs in well against lefthanders, especially for a player of his age and inexperience. He's aggressive to a fault at times and could improve his control of the strike zone. Signed as a center fielder, he played most of his games in right field in 2015, which likely is his future position given his already sturdy frame. He's an average defender with an average arm. He's an average runner. Soto was healthy enough to return to the field in instructional league, and he faces a probable return engagement at low Class A Greensboro, where he logged just 17 games in 2015.
Holloway caught the Marlins' attention during a state tournament in spring 2013 as they scouted lefthander David Peterson, who is now attending Oregon. Holloway came into the game in the seventh inning and showed a loose, quick arm and lively body, and the team began to track him. The Marlins paid him the Nebraska-Omaha commit a well above-slot $400,000 bonus as a 20th-round pick in 2014. Still a teenager, Holloway is a classic projectable Colorado pitcher who hails from Roy Halladay's hometown. He has a pitcher's frame with room to grow. In high school, his fastball sat in the 87-91 mph range, but in 2015 he sat 92-94 and touched 96. He always has shown the ability to spin a breaking ball, but this season his curveball flashed plus with improved depth. His changeup is in its formative stages and comes in too firm, making it a distant third pitch. Holloway's control is below-average, and he led the short-season New York-Penn League with 15 wild pitches and ranked third with 36 walks. Holloway is raw but has plenty of ability, with athleticism and two potentially plus pitches. The Marlins gave him a two-start look at low Class A Greensboro in early June, but he wasn't quite ready. He'll try again in 2016.
Born in the Bahamas, Seymour moved to the U.S. as a youth and played high school ball at American Heritage High in South Florida. Granted an extra year of eligibility in 2014, he played for the Delray Beach baseball academy called Elev8, which is run by former major league infielder Luis Alicea. A righthanded- hitting center fielder back then, the 19-year-old Seymour signed with the Marlins for $400,000 as a seventh-round pick and became a switch-hitting shortstop. The fastest runner in the Marlins' system, Seymour earns 80 grades on the 20-80 scouting scale for his speed. He blazed through a 60-yard dash in 6.14 seconds and has disruptive in-game speed. Seymour stole 29 bases in 64 games at short-season Batavia in 2015 to rank second in the New York-Penn League. He also improved his basestealing technique in 2015, learning to stay lower when he breaks and not stand upright on first move. Seymour uses a slashing hitting style and projects to have far below-average power with a tick below-average hitting ability. He'll need to rely on his legs to become a top-of-the-order threat the Marlins believe he can be. At shortstop, he shows good range and a solid-average arm, but his throwing accuracy regressed in 2015 because he tended to rush his throws. Scouts believe Seymour can stick at shortstop, but he might be more reliable at second base. An assignment to low Class A Greensboro awaits in 2016.
Barraclough had a solid four-year career at St. Mary's as a starter, surpassing Tom Candiotti to rank second on the Gaels' career strikeout list, but aside from a brief run through the rotation at short-season Batavia in 2012, he has worked mostly as a reliever. The Cardinals' seventh-round pick in 2012, he joined the Marlins in July 2015 in a straight-up trade for Steve Cishek. Miami called up Barraclough after four dominant appearances at Double-A Jacksonville, and despite acute control problems (he walked 6.7 per nine innings) he dominated big league batters by striking out 30 and allowing just 12 hits in 24 innings. He generated swinging strikes on 14.9 percent of his pitches, a rate that ranked fourth among rookie relievers with at least 20 innings. Barraclough has plus velocity on his fastball, sitting 94-96 mph and touching 98 in the majors. His slider flashes plus but is inconsistent. He has natural downward movement on his fastball and it is difficult to lift, and he has allowed just three homers in 165 pro innings. Barraclough could be a key piece of the big league bullpen in 2016.
Esch played shortstop in high school in St. Paul, Minn., and played both ways at Georgia Tech. He ranked in the top 20 in Division I with 23 doubles, but scouts liked his arm better, even though Esch pitched just five innings for the Yellow Jackets as a junior. The Marlins took a chance on his arm strength by making him an 11th-round pick in 2011. He has developed a full starter's repertoire, throwing a twoseam fastball and a four-seamer that sits 90-94 mph. He throws an 82-86 mph slider that has flashed above-average potential and a curveball that shows average. He has some feel for a changeup, which has some fade but tends to be too firm. A superb athlete, Esch fields his position well and has a smooth delivery and clean arm action. Injury issues have limited him two of the past three years. He experienced shoulder tendinitis in 2013 and then a left oblique strain in 2015, though he still reached Triple-A. Given his time as a position player, Esch has a relatively fresh arm for his age. Given his pitch mix and physicality, Esch has a ceiling of a No. 5 starter and, after joining the 40-man roster in November, he might not require much more minor league time. He should return to Triple-A New Orleans to open 2016.
The Marlins made him a ninth-round pick in 2010, and now after six pro seasons he's a member of the 40-man roster after striking out 9.1 batters per nine innings at Double-A Jacksonville in 2015 to rank third in the Southern League. Despite the swing-and-miss stuff, Brice still shows the same mixed results the Marlins have become accustomed to seeing. His velocity ranges from 90-94 mph and he has a hard curveball that grades as above-average, but the biggest change in 2015 was the addition of a power slider, which helped him dominate righthanded hitters, who hit .171 in 234 at-bats. The pitch could become a future plus offering, but his fastball command remains spotty and he doesn't have an out pitch against lefthanded batters. Brice's repertoire and poor control could land him in the bullpen, where his velocity might tick up. He will move to Triple-A New Orleans in 2016.
A three-sport star at Fort Mills (S.C.) High, Woods gave up playing football and basketball to shift his focus to baseball, and the Marlins pounced. They paid him $459,200 as a 2013 fourth-round pick to pass up junior college, even though he was considered raw as a baseball player. Other teams were ready to pluck Woods for his top-of-the-scale raw power, which finally showed up in games in 2015, when he slammed 18 home runs at low Class A Greensboro and led the South Atlantic League with a .219 isolated slugging percentage. He even hit two homers in an exhibition game against the parent Marlins in an April matchup. The usual caveat applies: Greensboro's NewBridge Bank Park plays as an extreme home-run park, and Woods hit 12 of 18 bombs there. He showed growth in his overall offensive approach in 2015, however, using more of a middle-field approach, rather than looking only to pull. Despite his physical 6-foot-3 frame, Woods has a compact lefthanded swing but is prone to swinging and missing. He struck out 30 percent of the time in 2015. He plays below-average defense at first base, with poor reaction times and a slow exchange on throws. Woods moves to high Class A Jupiter in 2016, when the Florida State League will challenge his power.
The Marlins signed Lara for $100,000 in 2013, and he impressed the club with his defense at shortstop, athleticism and contact skills from the left side of the plate. In the dirt, he has good actions, quick feet and an easy plus arm. He shows good anticipation at the position despite his age and is able to cover a lot of ground. Lara committed 19 errors in 47 games (.922 fielding percentage) in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2015, but the Marlins say the majority of his errors came on throws, which they believe is a lack of discipline but not skill. He is a high-energy player with a good game clock. At bat, Lara began to switch-hit in 2015, and he is far more advanced from his natural left side. He is content to put the ball in play but flashes gap power with a swing conducive to hitting line drives. In time, the Marlins believe Lara could develop into a player who hits 10 homers. Lara has tick above-average speed and strong instincts on the bases. He will be 20 in 2016 and could be ready for an assignment to low Class A Greensboro.
Paddack went 11-0, 0.46 with 134 punchouts in 75 innings as a Cedar Park (Texas) High senior in 2015, and the Marlins gambled that they could sign him away from a Texas A&M pledge--and it worked. Miami secured Paddack for $400,000, more than double the value for his draft slot in eighth round. While still a work in progress, he looked dominant in 45 innings in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League after signing. Paddack showed command of three pitches, including a double-plus changeup, in recording a 39-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His fastball sat 93-94 mph--up from 89-92 in high school--and his slider shows promise, though it's new to his arsenal. Paddack has plenty of projection in his lean 6-foot- 4 frame, because scouts believe he'll eventually grow to 6-foot-6 with plenty of room for good weight. One evaluator saw similarities with Cardinals starter Michael Wacha because of Paddack's outstanding changeup and connection to Texas A&M, but he stopped short of a direct comparison. The Marlins could assertively promote Paddack to low Class A Greensboro.
The Rangers traded prospects Jorge Alfaro and Telis in the span of a few days in July 2015, parting with their Opening Day catchers at Double-A and Triple-A. The Marlins, meanwhile, turned over the regular catching job to rookie J.T. Realmuto. Miami spent the rest of the season auditioning backups to see if any could hit passably. Always more bat than mitt, Telis has a knack for contact, with a flat swing path from both sides of the plate that results in more line drives and groundballs than loft. Thus, he uses the middle of the field and has below-average power. Telis has grown considerably as a receiver, earning praise from other clubs for his game-calling and intangibles. His arm strength is just average after Tommy John surgery in 2010, but his arm plays up thanks to a quick release. Telis could serve as the big league backup in 2016, though he also could head back to Triple-A New Orleans.
Because Poteet didn't turn 21 until after the 2015 draft, he was one of the youngest college pitchers in his draft class. He also was difficult for scouts to pin down because he pitched in multiple roles on a deep Bruins staff that included Yankees first-rounder James Kaprielian and closer David Berg, a sixthround pick of the Cubs. Poteet made mid-week starts in February and March but shifted to relief when Pacific-12 Conference play began. In relief, Poteet's fastball touched 94 mph and sat 90-92. As a starter, he sat most often between 88-91 mph with a fastball that lacked movement. In his brief pro experience at short-season Batavia, Poteet sat more 90-94 mph with boring action in on the hands of righthanders. He threw just 13 innings in five appearances and topped out at 57 pitches, however. Poteet thrives when he's throwing his two breaking balls for strikes, with his slider flashing plus at 84-86 mph. It grades out higher than his curveball, which can get loopy. Poteet has drawn comparisons with Mike Leake for his pitch mix and size, and with his pedigree, a jump to full-season ball in 2016 seems probable.
Lilek lost his Friday starting slot at Arizona State in 2015 due to some inconsistency, an outcome that pushed him down draft boards. He didn't fall far, though, and the Marlins made him a second-round pick. While Lilek lacks a true plus pitch, he pitched to his strengths after turning pro and recorded a 43-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio at short-season Batavia. His fastball sits 90-94 mph and brushes 95. He mixes in a curveball that flashes plus but is inconsistent, showing depth and sharp tilt at times. His changeup lags behind those pitches but shows average potential at times. Lilek's delivery is repeatable but not without effort. He has the size, polish and stuff to project as a back-end starter, though health now is a factor. Lilek dealt with shoulder tenderness in 2015 and finished the season on the shelf. He made an appearance in instructional league, where he long-tossed and threw bullpens, and the Marlins say he suffered no structural damage. Lilek will see full-season ball in 2016, perhaps jumping to high Class A Jupiter.
Jacome, a 6-foot-6, pitchability lefthander, formed an interesting tandem with wiry, hard-throwing righthander Dillon Tate at UC Santa Barbara in 2015. While Tate went to the fourth overall in the draft to the Rangers, Jacome landed with the Marlins in the fifth round. The duo helped the Gauchos lead NCAA Division I in ERA for most of the 2015 season. With his long levers and fluid motion, Jacome can lull opponents to sleep and sneak his average fastball by batters. He pitched at 88-92 mph at UCSB but sat in the low-90s at short-season Batavia after turning pro. He also showed more willingness to pitch inside to righthanders. Jacome locates his above-average changeup, his best secondary pitch, and will throw it in any count. His slider showed better depth and has flashed above-average potential. A good athlete with a solid pickoff move, Jacome has plus control and has shown the ability to hold his stuff deep into games. He could join 2015 second-rounder Brett Lilek at high Class A Jupiter in 2016.
A standout high school player in Frankfort, Ky., Riddle turned down the Red Sox as a 35th-round pick in 2010, instead opting to attend Kentucky. He played second base for the Wildcats and has moved to shortstop as a pro, where he shows a plus arm and good-enough hands to play the position, at least in a utility role. At the plate, Riddle has an assertive approach, but his compact, lefthanded swing and level path help curtail strikeouts. He always has shown good gap power, but he started to show the ability to clear the fence occasionally at Double-A Jacksonville in 2015 after not hitting a home run in 45 games at high Class A Jupiter to start the year. He grades as at least an average runner but does not often attempt to steal. He shows good range up the middle and in the hole and has enough arm to play third base, which along with his lefty bat portends well for a career as a utility infielder. Riddle receives high marks for leadership and makeup. He probably will return to Jacksonville in 2016.
Romero played both middle-infield positions in high school, shifting off shortstop for his older brother Jordan, who was the better fielder at Menendez High in St. Augustine, Fla. Since turning pro, Romero has played mostly second base. After a strong offensive season in 2014, when he hit .320 in 118 games at two Class A levels, he vaulted into the upper echelon of the Marlins' prospect rankings. He struggled to replicate that success in 2015 at high Class A Jupiter, hitting .259 with just 18 extra-base hits in 123 games. At his best, Romero has good bat speed and is short and quick to the ball. Despite an aggressive approach, he makes consistent contact. His swing is geared for line drives, and he likely won't show more than gap power. While he has just fair athleticism, Romero has good footwork and enough arm strength for second base. His bat will have to be the carrying tool for a player compared to Dan Uggla as an amateur. He should escape Jupiter's tough hitting conditions and move to Double-A Jacksonville in 2016.
Credit the selection of Mader in the supplemental third round of the 2014 draft to big league pitching coach Chuck Hernandez, who spotted the young lefthander at Marianna (Fla.) High. After two years at Jeff Johnson's Chipola (Fla.) JC baseball factory, Mader signed with the Marlins for $499,500, thus passing on a Florida State commitment. At 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, Mader physically resembles Patrick Corbin, the Diamondbacks lefty and 2009 second-round pick who also attended Chipola. Mader, like Corbin, relies on a fastball that sits 90-93 mph. Unlike the slider-throwing Corbin, Mader's best breaking pitching is an overhand curveball, which improved with mechanical changes that got him away from a big leg kick and a hand-pump. Mader doesn't possess Corbin's athleticism or command of swing-and-miss stuff. He uses a changeup to try to keep righthanders off balance but it backed up in 2015, and they hit .287 against him at low Class A Greensboro. Mader has little projection but has fluid mechanics and profiles as a polished, back-end starter. He graduates to high Class A Jupiter in 2016.
Ellington has taken a long road to being a prospect. He had Tommy John surgery in 2007 and missed his senior season at Oak Hall High in Gainesville, Fla. Set to go to Florida State on a scholarship, Ellington and the FSU coaching staff did not agree on a rehab plan, so he attended two community colleges-- including Chipola (Fla.) JC--and nearly gave up on baseball before applying to NCAA Division II West Florida. A reliever in college, Ellington has made just three starts in 103 minor league appearances since and reached the majors in 2015 after impressing in a stint in the Pan Am Games. Ellington dominates hitters with a 93-97 mph fastball that he can spot well. He learned from the Pan Am Games that he needed to implement his power curveball more and started to double up on the pitch after he gained confidence. He doesn't command the pitch or throw it for strikes enough for it to be a true weapon. Ellington also throws a changeup and slider, but both offerings are below-average. A mechanical tweak he made in 2014 made his delivery more repeatable and helped him smooth out his control. That improvement was noticeable at Double-A Jacksonville in 2015, where his walk rate of 2.7 per nine innings was a career best. He suffered a control lapse when he reached the majors, but Ellington is in line to begin 2016 in the Marlins bullpen.
Wittgren, Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki and Phillies outfielder Cam Perkins helped Purdue end a 103- year Big Ten Conference title drought in 2012, a year that saw all three drafted in the first nine rounds. Only Plawecki has reached the majors, but Wittgren took a big step toward those heights with a bounce back in 2015. The Marlins took note and added him to the 40-man roster in November. Wittgren doesn't have the typical, big-time velocity of a closer. He sits 90-93 mph, but hitters still take uncomfortable swings. His fastball has life down in the zone with crispness and deception. Wittgren can vary his delivery, using a quick step at times to confuse hitters. The curveball is solid-average with his changeup average at times. He fields his position and holds runners well. His stuff is a little short for a big league closer, so he may fit better as a seventh- or eighth-inning bridge. He could challenge for a big league bullpen spot in 2016.
Scruggs received two cups of coffee with St. Louis in 2014 and 2015, but signed with the Marlins in November after hitting the minor league free agent market. Scruggs used a power-and-patience blueprint to slam at least 20 home runs in five straight seasons beginning in 2010, and he topped out with 29 at Double-A Springfield in 2013. He has improved the quality of his at-bats by emphasizing a shorter swing, a better pitch selection and better plate discipline. Scruggs lost 20 pounds during spring training 2014 by cutting carbs and hiring a trainer, and has added time in the outfield corners to his defensive profile. Now 28, his righthanded power could be an ideal fit for the Marlins as an inexpensive counterbalance to lefthanded slugger Justin Bour at first base or off the bench. He will have to earn his way back on to the 40-man roster in 2016 with a strong spring.
The Marlins have found quality talent in Latin America under the watch of international director Albert Gonzalez, and players such as Garvis Lara, Jose Adames and Santos continue that run. The signing of Santos was unique for the lengths the team went to. Fewer than 25,000 people live in Santos' hometown of Puerto Almuelles, on the Pacific coast near the border with Costa Rica. So Marlins officials had to fly to Panama City, take another short flight to a city called Davis and then drive an hour and a half to see Santos. The wiry-strong Santos has been compared to Mariners outfielder Franklin Gutierrez for his plus defense, and his presently average arm projects to be above-average. He showed good feel to hit in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in his first season in the U.S., with fairly advanced plate awareness, and the organization believes he could develop average power in time when he adds strength to his short, quick stroke. He's an above-average runner, but his baserunning skills need improvement. Santos will compete for a spot in low Class A Greensboro for 2016.
Given his multi-sport background, Twine remains raw as a baseball player. He rushed for 534 yards as a sophomore at Hemphill (Texas) High and was recruited by Baylor, and he also starred on the track team. Ultimately, Twine picked baseball, but the 2014 second-rounder has yet to translate his tools to skills. He hit just .206/.235/.310 in 117 games at low Class A Greensboro in 2015, and his best tool presently is double-plus speed. Scouts believe he has above-average raw power in his swing, though it can get long at times, making it difficult for him to access that power or even make consistent contact. Twine has a hyper-aggressive approach at the plate, having drawn just six walks in two seasons and 652 pro plate appearances. He showed improved rhythm at shortstop in 2015 and a more consistent arm stroke, now throwing three-quarters rather than sidearm, though he still committed 29 errors and recorded a .940 fielding percentage. Ultimately, he might fit best at second base. Evaluators point to Twine's strong work ethic, competitiveness and quiet confidence when comparing him to Royals prospect Bubba Starling, an outfielder and former football player who in 2015 began showing production emanating from his vast pool of natural ability. Twine may have to repeat Greensboro in 2016.
It took four seasons for the thin Dominican to get to full-season ball and he has shown flashes in that time. Adames should miss a few more bats than he does, but he has the makings of an impressive arsenal with a 94-98 mph fastball, a hard 10-to-4 curveball and a change with good fade that flashes plus. He lacks consistent command of all three, however, leading to a career 4.07 walks per nine, a rate that portends future reliever. A closer examination, however, finds that his August performance (6.23 ERA, 11 walks in 17 1/3 innings) skewed his numbers and was perhaps indicative of the fatigue he experienced as he reached 117 innings, double his previous high. If and until Adames can develop feel for his secondary pitches, he profiles as a middle-inning reliever at best who can rely on premium velocity in short bursts.
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