Evaluating the 2016 Prospects: Miami Marlins by Dan Farnsworth March 2, 2016 Other clubs: Angels, Astros, Braves, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Indians, Orioles, Reds, Red Sox, Rockies, Royals, Tigers, White Sox. To start off, a brief programming note: I’m going out of alphabetical order here, as inside information trickles in at different rates. I’ll be jumping around to different teams as soon as I get a suitable amount of corroborating sources for each. With regard to the Marlins, specifically, they don’t have a ton of impact offense waiting in the wings, but there is a plethora of pitching reinforcements — mostly in terms of depth but some with high ceilings — at all levels of the minors. It’s interesting to think about what this group will do in the next few years, having enough potential to turn out a number of surprise contributors but not enough blue-chippers to rank highly among the league’s best farm systems. Tyler Kolek has struggled a bit as a professional, but his talent makes him the best prospect in the organization. It seems I’m the high guy on Chris Paddack, but his placement only sticks out here because of the lack of certainty among other prospects around him. There aren’t a ton of other surprises elswhere, with a reasonable argument to be made about anyone outside the top-four or -five guys to either be in the top 10 or at the bottom of the list. Here’s the primer for the series and my scouting thoughts in general. The grades I put on players heavily weight the functionality of each tool in game situations, rather than just pure tool grades. Here is a table to understand the position player grades: Scouting Grades in Context: Hitters Grade Tool Is Called Batting Average HR ISO Baserunning Runs Fielding Runs 80 80 0.320 40 0.300 12 30 75 0.310 35-40 0.275 10 25 70 Plus Plus 0.300 30-35 0.250 8 20 65 0.290 27-30 0.225 6 15 60 Plus 0.280 23-27 0.200 4 10 55 Above Average 0.270 19-22 0.175 2 5 50 Average 0.260 15-18 0.150 0 0 45 Below Average 0.250 12-15 0.125 -2 -5 40 0.240 8-12 0.100 -4 -10 35 0.230 5-8 0.075 -6 -15 30 0.220 3-5 0.050 -8 -20 As well as one to understand what the overall grades approximate: Scouting Grades in Context: Overall Grade Hitter Starting Pitcher Relief Pitcher WAR 80 Top 1-2 #1 Starter —- 7 75 Top 2-3 #1 —- 6 70 Top 5 #1/2 —- 5 65 All-Star #2/3 —- 4 60 Plus #3 High Closer 3 55 Above Avg #3/4 Mid Closer 2.5 50 Avg Regular #4 Low CL/High SU 2 45 Platoon/Util #5 Low Setup 1.5 40 Bench Swing/Spot SP Middle RP 1 35 Emergency Call-Up Emergency Call-Up Emergency Call-Up 0 30 *Organizational *Organizational *Organizational -1 One other difference in the way I’ll be communicating scouting grades to you is the presence of three numbers on each tool instead of just two. The first number is the current grade. The second number is the likely future grade; or, if you prefer percentiles, call this the 50th percentile projection. The third number is the ceiling grade, or 90th percentile projection, to help demonstrate the volatility and raw potential of a tool. I feel this gives readers a better sense of the possible outcomes a player could achieve, and more information to understand my thoughts on the likelihood of reaching those levels. In the biographical information, level refers to where they finished the year, unless they were sent down for injury rehab or other extraneous reasons. Ages are listed as of April 1, 2016. You can also find each player’s previous rank from Kiley’s list last year. Below, Dave Cameron shares his thoughts on the general state of the organization. Returning for his popular cameo, Carson Cistulli picks his favorite fringe prospect toward the end of the list. Organizational OverviewThe boom-or-bust Marlins of yesteryear seem to be a thing of the past, and have now been replaced by something more ordinary: a decent-but-not-great team that could win in the short-term if things go their way, but is too flawed to go into the year with expectations of a playoff berth. That middle-of-the-pack roster is all too common in baseball these days, and the Marlins now fit solidly into the middle tier. With a couple of young superstars and some quality young players around them, the Marlins could be on the upswing over the next few years, but with the Mets and Nationals representing significant roadblocks, it’s also possible that the Marlins will end up squandering the primes of two of the best young players in the sport. Guessing the Marlins’ long-term plan seems to be a fool’s errand, but in the short-term, the future looks potentially bright, but with some obstacles to overcome. 50+ FV Prospects Video courtesy of Tucker Blair 1. Tyler Kolek, RHP Current Level/Age: A/20.3, 6’5/260, R/R Acquired: Drafted 2nd overall (1st round) in 2014 out of Texas HS by MIA for $6 million bonus Previous Rank: 1 Kolek’s command and inconsistent offspeed stuff are his biggest limiting factors in reaching his lofty potential. His delivery is fast and aggressive, yet athletic enough to keep everything consistent. He may have issues keeping his lower half mobile as he matures, but right now he has a great balance of strength and sequencing that allow for some upside in his command projection. His fastball velocity has fluctuated pretty wildly from the high-80s to the low-100s. Despite that, his fastball projects as plus even if it just remains in the low-90s with the way he attacks hitters, also producing a good number of ground balls with his nice movement on the ball. One of his curve or change needs to do better than occasionally flash above-average. His curve sometimes is more slider-like or loopy, rarely having a sharp bite to it. His changeup shows great arm speed and some fade at times, but more often it lacks finish and stays up in the zone to his arm side. Fans may be disappointed by Kolek’s progress so far for how high he was drafted, but don’t count him out completely. He remains with mid-rotation upside, which could very easily go higher if he found an offspeed pitch that really worked for him. Fastball: 55/60/70 Curveball: 40/45/50 Changeup: 40/45/50 Command: 40/45/45 Overall: 40/50/60 45+ FV Prospects2. Chris Paddack, RHP, VIDEO, Rookie Ball This may be a year early ranking him this high, as it remains to be seen how much of a breaking ball he will develop, but otherwise Paddack has everything else you want to see in a projectable high-school arm. He had no trouble during his 45 innings in the Gulf Coast League, and is more advanced than most prep draftees, exceptionally so for an eighth-round pick. Paddack has an excellent changeup that’s easily his best pitch, with great arm action and enough sink to be a potential swing-and-miss pitch in the big leagues. His fastball sits in the 92-94 range right now with good command, and the presence of his changeup makes it an above-average heater already. It’s a reasonable expectation to see increased velocity out of him as he matures. I haven’t seen his breaking ball yet, but reports say he scrapped his curveball for a slider that has promise, but still needs to be tightened up. Paddack has some minor mechanical improvements to make, but most will be cleaned up by adding functional strength in his lower half. Having a very athletic delivery and smooth arm action, then coupled with room to add muscle to his tall frame give him all the potential growth you could ask for. With so much going for him, you have to count on him working in a viable third pitch over the next few years. As soon as his slider shows promise, he could be the top prospect in this system. Fastball: 55/60/65 Slider: 40/45/45 Changeup: 50/60/65 Command: 45/50+/60 Overall: 40/45-50/60 3. Josh Naylor, 1B, VIDEO, Rookie Ball I saw Naylor during the showcase season heading into his senior year of high school, and I, like many scouts apparently, was not really sold. He had undeniably great power potential, but he had a flat swing, was out of shape and didn’t demonstrate a great approach despite showing decent contact skills. His hardest hit balls off game-speed pitching had no carry, owing to his lack of a power-oriented swing plane. That approach is still going to need work, but the other reservations I had about him have changed for the better. He slimmed down a bit, though his body type will require maintenance for him to remain healthy and capable of playing first base. He’s showing hints of creating more lift with his already extremely athletic swing, without adding length that could make it difficult to hit better offspeed offerings. As long as he continues to move in that direction, we could be looking at an easy 30-plus homer bat with upside in batting average as well. Naylor moves surprisingly well on defense and has a strong arm, but his poor raw speed and fringy glove work leave him a below-average to average fielder at first base only. With a great start to his professional career in the Gulf Coast League, all the arrows are pointing up. The main development goals going forward have to be continuing to stay athletic enough to handle first base, followed by finding the right balance of aggressiveness and selectivity so advanced pitchers won’t be able to pick him apart at the plate. The power will come in some form, though obviously you’d like to see it result in hard fly balls and not “just” line drives with the strength he has. Counting on him to be the next Pablo Sandoval – from a chase/contact rate perspective – is too optimistic for my taste, but even a slight improvement to his approach would allow him to work towards a plus hit tool. His contact ability and big power could make short work of the low minors, so the real test will be when he gets to Double-A and beyond. He may not look like such a reach in the draft if the Marlins handle his early development properly. For now, he has enough work to do as a bat-only prospect to keep him in the 45+ group, but that could change quickly. Hit: 35/50/60 Power: 40/55-60/70 Run: 35/30/35 Field: 40/40/45 Throw: 50/50/55 Overall: 30/45/60+ 4. Stone Garrett, OF, VIDEO, Low-A Garrett has real power and is starting to embrace a swing that will tap into it. I was worried about him as an amateur for toeing the line of being too steep to the ball to get to his pop, but he has already shown promising improvements. There’s still a lot of stiffness in his shoulders that leads to his swing being all-or-nothing once he starts, but against low minors competition he has enough pitch recognition to make up for it. His rigid upper body will exacerbate his contact issues at higher levels. On defense, he has a below-average to poor arm, with enough speed to be a slightly below-average fielder. His best fit will end up being in left field as a result. He’s an above-average runner, giving him another weapon to up his offensive game. His ceiling is high, though his defensive limitations put pressure on his approach and contact development to project better than a fringe starting option. Hit: 30/40-45/45 Power: 50/60/65 Run: 55/55/55 Field: 40/45/45 Throw: 40/40/45 Overall: 30/45/50+ 5. Brett Lilek, LHP, VIDEO, Low-A Lilek put up an impressive strikeout-to-walk ratio (43:7) in 35 Low-A innings last season. He has a good delivery and clean arm action, though some balance issues from inconsistent stride direction lead to command lapses. He has a high floor with his exceptional strike-throwing ability, and his command has improved, though it has wavered going back to his college days. He shows some nice run on his fastball, complemented by a developing slider and changeup. His breaker flashes above-average, while his changeup has decent fade with a release that is noticeably slower and stilted. He won’t be overpowering, but he remains a solid bet to start with number-four upside. Fastball: 50/55/55 Slider: 45/50/55 Changeup: 40/45/45 Command: 45/50/55+ Overall: 40/45/50 6. Jarlin Garcia, LHP, VIDEO, Double-A Garcia’s delivery can look violent at times with a huge acceleration of his upper body late in his stride. It leaves him flying open and his arm lagging behind, but otherwise he’s a pretty good athlete on the mound. His fastball sits 91-93 and finds the strike zone often, and the jerky delivery gives it plus upside with the deception it offers. A curveball and changeup are his best secondary pitches, though he loses feel for them for long enough stretches that they likely max out as average offerings at best. He also has a slider that doesn’t have the same upside His strikeout rate ticked up in seven Double-A starts, but advanced hitters will be able to pick up his pitches earlier based on how quick he opens his body up to the plate. His head bangs toward third base side more on fastballs than his offspeed offerings. The delivery limits how much growth he has in front of him for me, and as a result I think he ends up being a solid reliever with late-innings potential. In the meantime, his fastball control will allow him to get more reps in the rotation, with a move likely to happen as he maxes out his potential in the rotation this year or next. Fastball: 55/60/60 Curveball: 40/45/50 Slider: 40/45/45 Changeup: 40/45/50 Command: 40/40/45 Overall: 40/45/50 7. Austin Dean, OF, VIDEO, High-A Dean’s best asset is his solid ability to make contact. He has the raw strength to hit for power, but a downward swing path prevents it from being a projectable skill. His swing only makes it work on pitches up or ones he catches out in front and yank to left field. He’s an average fieder with a below-average arm, making left field his best fit. However, he’s athletic enough to work in center or right on a part-time basis. Hit: 45/50/55 Power: 35/40/40+ Run: 50/50/50 Field: 50/50/50 Throw: 45/45/45 Overall: 35/45/50 8. Nick Wittgren, RHP, VIDEO, Triple-A While the success of minor-league relief pitchers going to the big leagues is sporadic, Wittgren has the potential to continue his domination of hitters to the highest stage. There isn’t a plus offering in his repertoire, but he has exceptional command for a relief prospect, particularly of his fastball and curveball. Both are solid-average offerings, with a fringe-average changeup. He is unlikely to strike out major-league hitters at the same lofty rates (9.6 K/9 over four MILB seasons), but I like his chances of inducing enough weak contact to be a seventh- or eighth-inning guy. Fastball: 50/50+/55 Curveball: 50/50/55 Changeup: 40/45/45 Command: 50/50/50 Overall: 40/45/45+ 40+ FV Prospects9. Kendry Flores, RHP, VIDEO, MLB Flores’ over-the-top release gives him a bit of deception for the first few times guys see him. There’s some effort in his shoulder, particularly noticeable when he stiff-arms while reaching back for more. Somewhat unsurprisingly, he dealt with shoulder tendinitis in August. Hopefully he can work to protect his arm better in the future, though it bears watching how well his shoulder holds as he throws more innings. He has a wide range of secondary offerings to back up a below-average fastball. His cutter grades out below-average with glove-side and downward break, but is often not very sharp. Flores’ slider provides the best chance out of his breaking balls to get to an average grade, as he does a good job mixing up the speed and shape. Flores favored his curve more in big leagues last year. The changeup, meanwhile, mimics the arm action of the fastball well, with decent fade, and could be average pitch. The curve is below-average, but he spots all of his pitches well and can drop it in to steal a strike. Ultimately, he may find success as a fly-ball pitcher on the back end of a rotation, but is more likely to become a swing man/spot starter type. The command will have to be very consistent for hom to become a mainstay. Fastball: 45/45/45 Cutter: 40/40/45 Curveball: 40/45/45 Slider: 45/45+/50 Changeup: 45/50/55 Command: 50/55/55+ Overall: 40/40-45/45+ 10. Jordan Holloway, RHP, VIDEO, Class-A Holloway is a promising former 20th-round pick from 2014 who has a projectable fastball and curve. He has a better breaking ball than Paddack and throws harder, prompting one team executive to see him as a better prospect at present. He doesn’t have much of a changeup, however, and his command and control both need time to develop. While his frame has room to add mass, his rotational sequencing is a bit subpar. His arm action, while a bit mechanical looking, is pretty clean. The clunkiness of the delivery as a whole makes his future development a bit more of an uphill battle than Paddack, leaving him lower on the list for me. There is still plenty of potential here with youth and a solid fastball-curveball combo to rely on, but his command and smoothness on the mound will need to step up to reach his potential in the majors. Fastball: 50/55/60 Curveball: 45/50/60 Changeup: 40/40/45 Command: 40/40-45/45 Overall: 35/40+/50 11. Austin Brice, RHP, VIDEO, Double-A Brice is a hard-throwing pitcher who got a taste of bullpen life in the Arizona Fall League, averaging 95-plus on his fastball in the shortened appearances. He is very arm-dominant in his motion, especially when reaching back for extra, on account of imperfect sequencing. His hip rotation is overtaken by his upper body early in delivery, and ends up getting too rotational, slinging the ball low three-quarters and showing inconsistent feel for location. He has poor command overall, but there is strikeout potential in his plus fastball and potential above-average curve. Command holds him back from being a lock as a solid bullpen arm, buthe has late-innings potential if it cleans up just a bit. Fastball: 55/60/65 Curveball: 50/55/55+ Changeup: 40/40/45 Command: 35/40/45 Overall: 40/40+/50 12. Justin Jacome, LHP, VIDEO, Low-A Jacome has deception to his fastball, with a bunch of moving parts in his delivery that make it get on hitters earlier than they expect. He has a big, tall frame with three solid pitches. Sitting mainly 89-90 with his fastball, he will have to continue being a quality strike-thrower to stick in the rotation. The Marlins really like his makeup and intelligence, and believe he’s the kind of pitcher who could be worth more than the sum of his parts. He still projects as a bullpen guy or an arm to fill out the back of a rotation, but his floor is reasonably high considering his raw fastball velocity. Fastball: 50/50/50+ Slider: 45/50/50 Changeup: 50/55/55 Command: 50/50+/55 Overall: 40/40+/45-50 13. Cody Poteet, RHP, VIDEO, Low-A Poteet is another competitive pitcher who succeeds despite only average stuff. His fastball works 90-94, complemented by two different viable breaking balls. There’s a changeup in his arsenal too that needs more work than the rest. He draws praise for his intelligence from Marlins’ sources, with one comparing him to a young Mike Leake. He and Jacome have similar grades and projections, while opinions are split on whether he ends up as a reliever or starter in the end. There’s some stiffness in his arm that makes me lean more toward the bullpen for his future than Jacome, but his command gives him some wiggle room if he continues to hit his spots. Fastball: 50/50/50+ Curveball: 45/45/50 Slider: 45/50/55 Changeup: 40/45/45 Command: 50/50+/55 Overall: 40/40+/45-50 14. Brian Ellington, RHP, VIDEO, MLB Ellington has a big arm, with his fastball averaging 97 mph in his 25-inning major-league stint and coming out of a low, three-quarters release that makes it hard to pick up. His slider has lagged behind, and sharpening it is the key to him progressing. He also throws a splitter that’s a below-average pitch, but does provide a good change of pace. He doesn’t have great command. He throws enough strikes to safely project as at least a middle reliever, with higher-leverage roles in his reach with some tightening of his slider and/or location. Fastball: 65/70/70 Slider: 40/45/50 Splitter: 40/40/45 Command: 40/40/45 Overall: 40/40+/45 15. Jake Esch, RHP, VIDEO, Triple-A Still relatively new to pitching, Esch had a great year in 2015 leading to a promotion to Triple-A New Orleans. He has a fastball that comes in fast but straight, backed up by offspeed stuff that flashes solid-average. His slider and changeup are further along than his curve, and have the highest likelihood of being consistently average pitches. He still shows rawness in his feel for his secondary offerings, and his command projects no better than below-average overall. He has a chance to be a back-end starter, but more likely throws some innings out of the big league pen. Fastball: 50/50/55 Slider: 45/50/50 Curveball: 40/40/45 Changeup: 45/45/50 Command: 40/45/45 Overall: 40/40+/45 16. Isaiah White, OF, VIDEO, Rookie Ball White is at least a 70 runner, and might even reach 80 as he improves his reads in pro ball. He didn’t show much power in his Gulf Coast League stint, but the Marlins see him as a guy who has a chance to develop power down the line. One source said he was very impressive hitting balls out of their home ballpark in Miami during a private workout. Hitting .294 while demonstrating elite speed gives you some credibility at any level. He’s a little raw with the bat, but he has a lot of time to work things out and is super athletic. He’s a good bet to stick in center field long-term. Hit: 35/40/45 Power: 25/35/40 Run: 70/75/80 Field: 55/55/60 Throw: 45/45/45 Overall: 30/40/55 17. Isael Soto, OF, VIDEO, Class-A Soto has a strong, stocky body with a ton of power, but he’s not a plodding slugger type. He has a solid arm and decent speed that will allow him to stick in either corner-outfield position. The problem is his lack of contact, showing a tendency to swing through fastballs and chase pitches out of the zone. Even with approach improvements, his contact is going to be the biggest limiting factor for him. Part of it is just a need for more at-bats before making a final determination, but right now he’s looking like a bench or platoon bat with great power. If he can smooth out his mechanics and/or improve his approach, he easily jumps up this list. Hit: 30/35/40-45 Power: 50/60/65 Run: 45/45/50 Field: 50/50/50 Throw: 60/60/60 Overall: 30/40/50+ 18. Brian Anderson, 3B, VIDEO, High-A Anderson has a nice swing in batting practice with a decent hand path. It unravels when facing pitchers, however, where he doesn’t use his hips well to support his swing. He has a direct, level swing that lets him mash pitches belt level or higher, but really struggles adjusting to pitches lower in the zone. This makes strikeouts and/or weak contact an issue he will continue to face against better competition. While he has average to above-average speed, doesn’t use it much. He has some versatility that helps his case for a big-league role, also capable of playing second base or the outfield. Overall, he projects as above-average defender with soft hands and a plus arm. Hit: 30/40/45 Power: 35/45/50 Run: 45/50/50 Field: 55/55/55 Throw: 60/60/60 Overall: 30/40/50 19. Justin Twine, SS, VIDEO, Class-A Twine has really good physical tools, with a football player’s frame and 65-70 raw speed. He shows some raw power in batting practice, and has some positive qualities to his swing that could help him tap into it in the future. He was pushed a bit heading into the South Atlantic League last year and got in over his head, but the Marlins are expecting big things out of him. He made a reasonable amount of contact despite his struggles, and has enough defensive value that he isn’t an all-bat prospect. One executive said he has good makeup, and they’re interested in seeing if it’s enough for Twine to face this early adversity. He really just needs more at-bats before we can really find out who he can be, but the physical ability is there. He’s more likely a fit at second base than at short, but again, the physical tools aren’t the determining factor. Hit: 30/40/45 Power: 30/45/50 Run: 65/65/65 Field: 45/45/50 Throw: 50/50/50 Overall: 30/40/50 20. JT Riddle, INF, VIDEO, Triple-A Riddle has the ability to play three infield positions skillfully, giving him a leg up as a solid utility infielder. He has average hit-tool potential with an aggressive contact approach. He has demonstrated mild power potential in the minors, but his approach will likely cap his power at around the 10-homer level. Riddle has great hands at the plate that will carry his bat enough to wear a big-league uniform. How much of an impact he has will depend on him tightening his approach a bit as pitchers learn to test his limits. Hit: 40/45/50 Power: 35/40/40 Run: 50/50/50 Field: 55/55/55 Throw: 55/55/55 Overall: 35/40/45-50 21. Ivan Pineyro, RHP, VIDEO, Triple-A Sharing many similarities to Flores above, Pineyro survives on pitchability and command to navigate opposing lineups, and also has a decent changeup. His breaking ball isn’t projectable at all, and his delivery is higher effort, making a starting job a bit of a stretch. He’s a likely middle-relief candidate as soon as this year, though he could soak up innings in a starting role because of his ability to pound the zone. Fastball: 45/45/50 Curveball: 40/40/40 Changeup: 45/50/55 Command: 50/50+/55 Overall: 40/40/45 22. Michael Mader, LHP, VIDEO, Class-A Mader has a fastball that runs up to 94 with a solid-average breaking ball. His command hasn’t been spectacular, but Marlins officials saw it coming together a bit last year. He gets good reviews for his makeup and delivery, but I don’t see a ton of athleticism on the mound. It’s a repeatable delivery but a little mechanical. It’s not a terrible issue, but it does limit his overall potential to me. Fastball: 50/50/55 Curveball: 45/50/55 Changeup: 40/45/45 Command: 40/45/45+ Overall: 35/40/45 Cistulli’s GuyJorgan Cavanerio, RHP, Double-A As was the case last year, this current iteration of the Miami system doesn’t feature a lot of immediately compelling fringe-type talent. Infielders Justin Bohn and Austin Nola continued in 2015 to exhibit the sort defensive value and contact skills typical of the overlooked prospect. The almost complete lack of power in both cases, however, renders both players unlikely to provide much value in the majors. Meanwhile, last year’s reluctant choice for Cistulli’s Guy, soft-tossing left-hander Sean Townsley, fared reasonably well in 2015 — recording a 15.9% and 8.8% walk and strikeout rate, respectively, over 14 starts and 62.0 innings at High-A Jupiter — but didn’t maintain the sort of numbers necessary to compensate for his lack of raw talent. As for Cavanerio, there are deficencies here, too. Par exemple: he hasn’t produced a strikeout rate of 20% or better since 2011, as a 16-year-old in the Dominican Summer League. What he has done at every level, however, is to limit walks while recording roughly league-average strikeout numbers. And in terms of projection, there are two causes for optimism. The first is the obvious room for more mass on Cavanerio’s slim build. That he’s sat in the low-90s despite his lack of physicality is encouraging. With regard to the second reason for optimism, that’s Cavanerio’s changeup, a pitch that BP’s Jason Parks described as major-league average roughly two years ago now, when the right-hander was just 19. That’s the same changeup depicted below, utilized by Cavanerio to strike out celebrated Red Sox prospect Yoan Moncada this past August: Quick Hits2B Avery Romero (VIDEO) is an athletic player capable of manning second and third base at acceptable levels, but his approach needs to improve for his contact-oriented offensive profile to get him to the big leagues. 1B KJ Woods (VIDEO) has big power that is limited by pitch recognition, contact issues and a swing that goes all at once. His lack of skills elsewhere on the field makes his future as a big leaguer unlikely, but his power showing in A-ball gives hope that he can be a platoon bat if his approach improves. SS Anfernee Seymour (VIDEO) converted to the infield last year full-time from center field, where he has the physical tools but is very raw. A decent contact hitter from both sides of the plate, he doesn’t project for any power, though his 80 speed gives him pinch-runner upside even if nothing else pans out. SS Garvis Lara has good instincts and hands at short with a chance to stick there, but the bat has to come around. He started switch-hitting in 2015 as he made the jump to the Gulf Coast League, with reasonable success. SS Austin Nola (VIDEO) has been a steady performer and is a talented infielder, but he doesn’t have enough bat to start. He may be able to carve out a utility role for a time. C Arturo Rodriguez (VIDEO) has some power and can hit a bit, but he needs to slim down and the catching is very much a work in progress. He is likely a first baseman in the future, and his bat may not be strong enough to carry his defense there. C Tomas Telis (VIDEO) makes a lot of contact and has the defensive chops to be a reasonable backup catcher. OF Casey Soltis (VIDEO) came back from Tommy John surgery last season to play a few games in A-ball, where he’s likely ticketed to play this year. The team likes his bat, athleticism and his intelligence, but he’s a tweener corner/center fielder on defense and doesn’t have much power to project. C Justin Cohen (VIDEO)was the Marlins’ sixth-round pick last year, proceeding to hit .321 with some pop and a bunch of strikeouts. They like his defense and see him as future everyday player; I wasn’t a big fan of his swing as an amateur, but haven’t seen him since. RHP Kyle Barraclough (VIDEO) has great raw stuff with a solid slider, but command issues temper the expectations on his future. The Marlins were encouraged by improvements they saw in his location, but he will need to continue spotting the ball better to reach his seventh-inning reliever ceiling. RHP Jeff Brigham (VIDEO) came over from the Dodgers in July, bringing a plus fastball and a bit of upside out of the bullpen. He has to sharpen his command and develop his slider to comfortably project for a big-league role. LHP Raudel Lazo (VIDEO) isn’t a big guy at 5’10/175, but he has an average slider that may give him a chance as a LOOGY. The linked video is more impressive for Bartolo Colon’s existence as an occasional “man who holds bat” than anything. LHP Chris Reed (VIDEO) has a stiff arm action with an average fastball and slider, but he hasn’t commanded as well as he needs to. RHP Patrick Hovis was a 9th round pick last year that had Tommy John surgery before the draft. The org sees him as a future big-league starter with a solid fastball and slider, and are excited by his makeup and how his rehab has gone.