Earlier this week, lead prospect analyst Dan Farnsworth published his excellently in-depth prospect list for the Miami Marlins. In this companion piece, I look at that same Miami farm system through the lens of my recently refined KATOH projection system. The Marlins have the worst farm system in baseball according to KATOH. They’re even worse than the Angels. As you’ll see below, there isn’t much to get excited about in Miami’s system, especially from a statistical standpoint.
There’s way more to prospect evaluation than just the stats, so if you haven’t already, I highly recommend you read Dan’s piece in addition to this one. KATOH has no idea how hard a pitcher throws, how good a hitter’s bat speed is, or what a player’s makeup is like. So it’s liable to miss big on players whose tools don’t line up with their performances. However, when paired with more scouting-based analyses, KATOH’s objectivity can be useful in identifying talented players who might be overlooked by the industry consensus or highly-touted prospects who might be over-hyped.
Below, I’ve grouped prospects into three groups: those who are forecast for two or more wins through their first six major-league seasons, those who receive a projection between 1.0 and 2.0 WAR though their first six seasons, and then any residual players who received Future Value (FV) grades of 45 or higher from Dan. Note that I generated forecasts only for players who accrued at least 200 plate appearances or batters faced last season. Also note that the projections for players over a relatively small sample are less reliable, especially when those samples came in the low minors.
1. Kendry Flores, RHP (Profile)
KATOH Projection: 2.0 WAR
Dan’s Grade: 40+
Flores split 2015 between four minor-league levels: High-A, Double-A, Triple-A, and the majors. In the minors, he pitched to an 2.29 ERA and 3.48 FIP over 21 starts on the strength of a superb 6% walk rate. Flores is already 24, so he’s a bit old for a prospect, but his 2015 numbers were very good. This is in no way helpful to anyone, but Flores won multiple Cy Young awards for me in my MLB the Show franchise two years ago.
|Rank||Name||Proj. WAR||Actual WAR|
|Rank||Player||Position||KATOH WAR||Dan’s FV|
Ivan Pineyro started last season in the Cubs system, but came to the Marlins in the Dan Haren trade at the deadline. Pineyro pitched reasonably well in Double-A and Triple-A last year. He’s not flashy, but a 3.42 FIP from a 23-year-old in the high minors is nothing to sneeze at. Stone Garrett hit a loud .297/.352/.581 in short-season A-Ball last year, but KATOH’s nervous about his 24% strikeout rate. Nick Wittgren’s a 24-year-old reliever, which automatically makes him a fringy prospect, but his 67:8 strikeout-to-walk ratio from last year is hard to ignore.
Samuel Castro is an undersized second baseman from the Dominican. He has very little power, but otherwise hit acceptably as a 17-year-old in Rookie Ball. Brian Schales is a third baseman who makes contact and held his own as a 19-year-old in full-season ball. Outfielder Jhonny Santos hit .301/.355/.349 in Rookie Ball on the strength of an 8% strikeout rate.
Remaining 45 or Higher Prospects
Tyler Kolek, RHP (Profile)
KATOH Projection: 0.8 WAR
Dan’s Grade: 50 FV
Kolek went second overall in the 2014 draft, but his first full season as a pro was an extreme disappointment. His strikeout rate (16%) and walk rate (12%) were both significantly worse than his league’s average, which resulted in an unsightly 4.87 FIP. Kolek’s still just 20, so it’s obviously still very early for the 6-foot-5 hurler. His stuff still hints at mid rotation upside, but the early returns have been the opposite of encouraging.
Jarlin Garcia pitched to a respectable 3.37 FIP between High-A and Double-A last year, but didn’t miss many bats in the process, and is already 23. Austin Dean did very little offensively in High-A last year, especially in the power department.