Top 29 Prospects: Miami Marlins

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Miami Marlins. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as from our own (both Eric Longenhagen’s and Kiley McDaniel’s) observations. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this.

Marlins Top Prospects
Rk Name Age High Level Position ETA FV
1 Lewis Brinson 23 R CF 2018 60
2 Monte Harrison 22 A+ CF 2020 50
3 Jorge Guzman 22 R RHP 2021 50
4 Brian Anderson 24 MLB 3B 2018 50
5 Isan Diaz 21 A+ 2B 2019 50
6 Braxton Garrett 20 A LHP 2021 50
7 Magneuris Sierra 21 MLB OF 2018 50
8 Sandy Alcantara 22 MLB RHP 2018 50
9 James Nelson 20 A 3B 2021 45
10 Nick Neidert 21 AA RHP 2018 45
11 Trevor Rogers 20 R LHP 2021 45
12 Edward Cabrera 19 A- RHP 2021 45
13 Braxton Lee 24 AA OF 2018 45
14 Brian Miller 22 R CF 2020 40
15 Chris Torres 20 A- SS 2021 40
16 Jose Devers 18 R SS 2022 40
17 Dillon Peters 25 R LHP 2018 40
18 Pablo Lopez 22 A+ RHP 2019 40
19 Zac Gallen 22 AAA RHP 2019 40
20 Elieser Hernandez 22 A+ RHP 2018 40
21 Garrett Cooper 27 MLB 1B 2018 40
22 Jordan Yamamoto 21 A+ RHP 2020 40
23 Colton Hock 21 A- RHP 2020 40
24 Joe Dunand 22 A+ 3B 2021 40
25 Thomas Jones 20 A- OF 2022 40
26 Robert Dugger 22 AAA RHP 2020 40
27 Brayan Hernandez 20 AAA CF 2021 40
28 Jordan Holloway 21 A RHP 2020 40
29 Tyler Kolek 22 A RHP 2022 40

60 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2012 from Coral Springs HS (FL)
Age 23 Height 6’3 Weight 195 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/50 65/65 50/60 60/55 50/55 60/60

Brinson has loud physical tools: plus raw power, plus speed, plus arm strength, and the ability to play center field despite mediocre instincts. He didn’t hit for as much power as was expected at hitter-friendly Colorado Springs in 2017, but scouting reports on the raw power, and Brinson’s ability to get to it in games, remain strong. Provided he’s able to make continuous adjustments — and he’s exhibited the ability to do that on his ascent through the minors — Brinson has 25-homer potential. He has had several soft-tissue, lower-body injuries during his career, including multiple hamstring issues, one of which ended his 2017 season. He’s still a plus runner underway but doesn’t reach top speed as quickly as he once did.

50 FV Prospects

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2014 from Lee’s Summit West (MO)
Age 21 Height 6’3 Weight 220 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 60/60 30/55 60/60 45/50 80/80

This is what it looks like when things start to click on the baseball field for a premium athlete: a .272/.350/.481 line split between two levels, 51 extra-base hits (including 21 homers), and 27 bases stolen at a 87% success rate. Harrison has always had late-bloomer traits. He was a multi-sport stud — not multi-sport athlete, multi-sport stud — in high school and only committed to baseball full time after turning pro. In parts of three pro seasons entering 2017, Harrison missed time with a hamate fracture and broken leg, which prevented him from getting the reps he needed and diluted the way his tools looked on the field when he was.

Betwixt and between these struggles were glimpses of what could be, what looks like has come. Light-tower homers on the Maryvale backfields, darts to the plate from the warning track, signs of ball/strike recognition, and an ability to make mid-flight adjustments to breaking balls were all on display for those who spent time watching a perpetually rehabbing Harrison in Arizona. And through his struggles, Harrison remained hardworking and vigilant, maintaining physical perfection off the field despite his injuries.

Great athletes with good makeup have the ability and aptitude to make adjustments. For Harrison this year, that came by way of a big, aggressive leg kick (that he ditches with two strikes) and a lower hand position as he sets up, similar to what Keon Broxton has adopted. Harrison’s hands still drift up near his head as he loads them and create a downward swing path; he’s also still not used to timing breaking balls with this new leg kick. He remains strikeout prone because of this, but more adjustments are possible.

Harrison is a plus runner with elite arm strength and projects to stay in center field, where he profiles as an above-average defender. When you start comparing Harrison’s tools to those of other big-league center fielders, even if you assume he’s going to be strikeout prone at peak, they look something like what Taylors Michael A. and Chris possess. There’s still some volatility here because of the bat, but Harrison has an All-Star ceiling and seems hell bent on attaining it.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic
Age 22 Height 6’2 Weight 182 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command
70/80 50/60 45/55 40/50

In 2017, Guzman went to the New York-Penn League and threw strikes with a 96-102 mph fastball and plus slider. He struck out 88 hitters in 66 innings. His changeup is still raw, and scouts don’t like his stiff, hunched posture during his delivery, but he throws strikes and has a chance to start. He could have an 80 fastball and 70 slider at peak, which alone could make him an elite reliever. If Marlins player development can improve his changeup or develop a different third pitch, his ceiling as a rotation piece is quite high. He enters his age-22 season in 2018.

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2014 from Arkansas
Age 24 Height 6’3 Weight 185 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/45 55/55 40/55 55/55 45/50 60/60

Anderson is going to strike out, but he has above-average pull power that he’s learning to utilize in games, runs well, and should be fine at third. He has a plus arm (accuracy is sometimes an issue) and is comfortable charging slow rollers on the grass; generally, though, he is not especially polished there. Anderson hasn’t played third base full-time for all that long, and he should be average there at peak. He profiles as an average regular and should get plenty of playing time in Miami in 2018.

5. Isan Diaz, 2B
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2014 from Springfield HS (MA)
Age 21 Height 5’10 Weight 185 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 60/60 40/60 50/45 45/50 55/55

Diaz continued a long anticipated transition from shortstop to second base in 2017 and saw more time at second than short for the first time in his career. He has an above-average arm but fringey hands and range. HIs combination of plus power, patience, and ability to play an up-the-middle position — even if he’s only fringe to average there — give him star potential despite likely issues with contact. His uppercut swing is going to lead to strikeouts, but he picks the right pitches to drive and could hit 25 bombs at peak.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Florence HS (AL)
Age 19 Height 6’3 Weight 190 Bat/Throw L/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command
50/50 55/60 40/55 45/55

Garrett made four starts at Low-A Greensboro before he was shut down with an elbow injury that would require Tommy John. Before the injury, he was 90-93 with a plus curveball and the athleticism and arm action that allow for pretty significant changeup and command projection, both of which he was already starting to show. He looked like a quick-moving No. 3 starter before the injury.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2012 from Dominican Republic
Age 21 Height 5’11 Weight 160 Bat/Throw L/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 30/40 20/30 70/70 50/70 45/45

Sierra’s plus-plus speed is his game’s foundation. It enables him to glide from gap to gap in center field and run down balls lots of center fielders wouldn’t sniff. Many scouts think he has Gold Glove capability there. Others think his routes and reads (as well as his jumps on steal attempts) leave something to be desired, especially on balls hit in front of him, but cede that his range makes him very special or at least gives him the potential to be. He began seeing time in the outfield corners again in 2017, his first affiliated reps there since 2014, and he was visibly rusty.

Sierra’s speed also allows him to make the most of a small-ball offensive approach that involves a lot of action on the infield. He sprays low-lying contact in every direction, tallying many hits due to speed alone. Most of Sierra’s extra-base production comes from contact sliced into the outfield corners, as Sierra’s barrel doesn’t mirror the path of a pitched baseball until late in its journey, and he’s often unable to pull to ball in the air, especially when pitches are located away from him.

His approach to contact and listed height and weight evoke a certain lack of stature, but he’s not without some physicality. His hips are loose and rotate hard, helping Sierra to take a pretty healthy cut. His hand-eye coordination and admirable plate coverage allow him to put the ball in play consistently, just not typically in a way that is impactful. I think there’s more physical ability here than shows up in the batted-ball profile (83.4 mph average exit velocity in the big leagues). It would likely take significant adjustment to actualize it on the field, though.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic
Age 21 Height 6’4 Weight 170 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command
70/70 40/45 45/50 45/60 30/45

Alcantara reached the big leagues in 2017 despite mixed results in 22 starts at Double-A Springfield. His strikeout rate backed up to 19% there, down from nearly 29% across two levels in 2016.

His repertoire seems to have been tinkered with over the past several months. Alcantara began the year with the same pitch mix that he’d featured last season, sitting 95-99 with his fastball while flashing a plus curveball and changeup. Once in the big leagues, though — where he pitched exclusively out of the bullpen — Alcantara’s breaking ball became a fringey, mid-80s slider and the curveball was gone.

In the Arizona Fall League, Alcantara incorporated both breaking balls into the mix, the curveball a slurvy 80-83, the slider a short 86-88. Neither of them is very effective. He’s still sitting 95-99 and cresting triple-digits — as he did out of the Cardinals big-league bullpen — while also throwing an occasionally impressive changeup.

Alcantara did exhibit a more vertically oriented arm slot when throwing his curveball early this year, but it was still good, either because Double-A hitters couldn’t identify the tell or just because it was too nasty a curveball to matter. In the AFL, it was still an easy ID out of his hand despite the more uniform arm slot, and hitters weren’t offering at it.

There’s a good chance Alcantara’s fastball command issues will keep him from starting, and a full-time move to the bullpen was probably coming soon had he not been traded to Miami. There’s significant upside if he improves his command and finds a consistent breaking ball, and Miami has time to nurture those things.

45 FV Prospects

Drafted: 15th Round, 2016 from Cisco Junior College
Age 19 Height 6’2 Weight 180 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 50/55 30/50 50/50 50/60 55/55

Nelson made immediate noise after he was drafted in 2016 and continues to intrigue scouts with his combination of athleticism, power on contact, and burgeoning feel to hit. Nelson is long-levered and a little undercooked from a skills standpoint, which is why he was a late-round pick out of a Texas JC two years ago. He’s still somewhat inconsistent at third base, but he makes some incredible plays and many scouts have a future 6 on his defense even though he lacks traditional grace and coordination. Opinions on his arm vary, ranging from 50 to 60.

Nelson has got a bit of a flat-planed swing, but the ball really jumps off his bat and he arrived to camp this spring looking noticeably stronger. He looks like he could mature into an actual five-tool player with a bunch of 50s and 55s. That would make him a good everyday player. If the power and defense tick up to 60s, he’ll turn into more than that. He has a chance to break out in 2018.

10. Nick Neidert, RHP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2015 from Peachtree Ridge HS (GA)
Age 20 Height 6’1 Weight 180 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup
40/40 45/50 60/60

Neidert, acquired as part of the return for Dee Gordon, is 87-92 with movement and will throw any pitch in any count. His best pitch is his changeup, which, along with his command, projects to plus and is arguably already there. The curveball is fringey, but it plays up against righties because of Neidert’s cross-bodied delivery and command. Neidert is a likely a No. 4 starter, but there’s a non-zero chance he develops a 70 changeup and 70 command and becomes some facsimile of 2016 Kyle Hendricks.

11. Trevor Rogers, LHP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Carlsbad HS (NM)
Age 20 Height 6’6 Weight 185 Bat/Throw L/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command
55/60 45/50 40/45 40/50 30/45

Four Corners area scouts had to fly from the Phoenix area (where most of them live) to El Paso and then drive nearly three hours to Carlsbad to see Rogers, and some of them saw all of his starts. Rogers was up to 98 during his senior spring but sat mostly 92-94. It’s premium left-handed velocity combined with premium size, as Rogers is a lanky 6-foot-6 and generates Andrew Miller body comps.

Rogers’ breaking balls are not that nasty, though. They play up against lefties due to his lower arm slot but are fringey in a vacuum. He’s already 20 and hasn’t played a pro game: he was held out of affiliated ball after signing and then Miami cancelled instructional league after their camp was hit by Hurricane Irma. You have to project pretty heavily on Rogers’ secondary stuff to see a mid-rotation arm, and some scouts were less apt to do so given his age. Still, he has elite size and arm strength for a lefty, so there’s plenty of raw material with which the new Marlins player-development regime can work.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic
Age 19 Height 6’4 Weight 175 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command
45/55 45/55 30/45 40/50

Cabrera was placed prominently on this list last year as a prototypical size-and-athleticism projection arm who already had present velocity and feel for a breaking ball. In the last year, Cabrera went from sitting 90-95 to sitting 94-97 and touching 99. His slider is average and should develop into a 55 at peak. I can’t find a scout who saw him throw enough changeups last year on which to slap a confident grade. There’s a lot of raw material here, though you can argue the secondaries are behind where they should be for a soon-to-be 20-year-old.

13. Braxton Lee, OF
Drafted: 12th Round, 2014 from Ole Miss
Age 23 Height 5’10 Weight 185 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/50 50/50 20/30 70/70 50/55 55/55

If you enjoyed the Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo era of Marlins baseball (I did), then you’re probably going to enjoy watching Lee, who shares many stylistc similarities with Florida’s throwback slash-and-dash duo. Lee limits the scope of his offensive approach to suit his skills. He’s a 70 runner with ugly, but effective, bat control and enough strength in his hands and wrists to hit the occasional rope into the gap. Mostly he peppers the opposite field with low-lying contact and reaches via bunt and infield grounders because of his speed. This ability combined with above-average plate discipline has enabled Lee to reach base at a .346 career mark, and his speed enables him to play center field. He looks like a low-end regular or luxury fourth outfielder.

40 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from North Carolina
Age 22 Height 6’0 Weight 177 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/60 40/45 20/40 55/55 45/50 40/40

Miller’s college peripherals are very enticing. In three years at UNC, he hit .330/.420/.450 with more career walks than strikeouts. Some scouts buy Miller’s selectivity and bat control enough to put a future 7 on his bat, while most think he’s a future 60 hitter with below-average power. That will play in center field, but there’s some disagreement about how good Miller is there. He has solid defensive instincts and runs well enough to stay there, but he’s not a highlight-reel athlete. He also has a loose, comfortable swing and makes lots of contact, though it’s mostly of the ground-ball variety and his swing can get long at times. The range of potential outcomes here is pretty narrow. It’d be surprising if Miller were any less than a fourth outfielder and equally surprising if he became a star.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic
Age 19 Height 5’11 Weight 170 Bat/Throw S/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 45/50 20/45 50/50 40/50 60/60

Another prospect who was part of the Dee Gordon trade, Torres is a switch-hitter with good pop for a middle infielder. His swing-and-miss issues (represented by a career 27% strikeout rate) stem from a lack of bat control, but he’s developing two swings and has just shy of 600 pro at-bats in three years after missing some time with minor injuries, including a sore non-throwing shoulder in 2017. Torres is more athletic than he is refined, defensively. His range and hands are just okay, but he has a plus arm and is athletic enough to get zip on tough throws. Torres also bunts for hits and does some other creative things in the box to make contact that’s awkward for defenses. If the bat comes, he’ll be a good everyday player.

16. Jose Devers, SS
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic
Age 17 Height 6’0 Weight 155 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 30/50 20/50 50/55 40/55 55/60

Despite possessing little physical strength (mostly a product of his age), Devers survived the GCL at age 17 and hit .245/.336/.342 over a month and a half. He has promising control of the strike zone and feel to hit. Scouts think he’s likely to add weight and strength as he matures but not enough to move him off of shortstop. They think he has the actions and athleticism to be an above-average defender there. If you project on Devers’ frame and power, you’re essentially projecting him to be able to do everything, because the bat and defensive profile look very promising. He projects as a well-rounded shortstop and will move as quickly as he fills out.

17. Dillon Peters, LHP
Drafted: 10th Round, 2014 from Texas
Age 25 Height 5’9 Weight 205 Bat/Throw L/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command
50/50 50/50 40/45 50/50

Peters struggled to throw strikes in his brief big-league debut and has had similar issues this spring, but he’s worked efficiently for most of his career and, unless his squat frame has filled out so much that it’s sapped away some of his athleticism, he should throw enough strikes to start. Peters’ sinking fastball sites in the low 90s, he’ll show you an above-average curveball, and his arm action allows his otherwise below-average chngeup to play up a bit. Assuming his command returns, Peters fits at the back of a rotation and he’s big-league ready right now.

18. Pablo Lopez, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2012 from Venezuela
Age 21 Height 6’3 Weight 200 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command
55/55 50/50 50/55 50/55

Lopez missed 2014 due to a ligament tear that required Tommy John surgery, and then he struggled to miss bats in 2015 and 2016 while throwing a nearly elite level of strikes. His stuff is up. His fastball sat in the 92-96 range with life last year and touched 97. Lopez does it easy and commands his fastball, average breaking ball, and changeup. He’s gone from projecting as an up-and-down arm to a potential No. 4/5 starter in the last year. Lopez was acquired from Seattle as part of the David Phelps deal ahead of the 2017 trade deadline.

19. Zac Gallen, RHP
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2016 from North Carolina
Age 21 Height 6’2 Weight 191 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command
50/50 50/50 45/50 45/50 50/55

Third-round picks don’t typically reach Triple-A in their first full pro season, but Gallen made four starts there in 2017. He’s advanced in several capacities. He’s poised, athletic, has four pitches, and demonstrates viable, upper-level command. His fastball sits 90-92 but will touch 95. His cutter, breaking ball, and changeup, meanwhile, all have average potential. He projects as a fifth starter with a chance to be more than that if he develops superlative command. He’s nearly ready.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2011 from Venezuela
Age 22 Height 6’0 Weight 210 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command
60/60 45/50 40/50 45/55

An athletic, 6-foot righty who spent most of 2017 in High-A, Hernandez has a plus fastball and potential plus fastball command because of his athleticism. His slider is inconsistent but flashes average and needs only to mature there to be effective, as his command is advanced. Hernandez’s changeup is below average, and its development might be slowed by a quick move to the bullpen if Miami moves him there in effort to roster him. Otherwise, it has average projection due to Hernandez’s arm action. He has the stuff, command, and athleticism to project as a No. 4/5 starter. Whether or not he gets there depends on how Miami develops him at the big-league level while trying to roster him all year.

Drafted: 6th Round, 2013 from Auburn
Age 26 Height 6’6 Weight 230 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/55 60/60 45/55 30/30 45/45 50/50

Cooper’s strong 2017 line was undoubtedly aided by the hitting environment at Triple-A Colorado Springs (he was traded from MIL to NYY for Tyler Webb and later traded him to MIA in a minor November trade), but there’s at least plus raw power here and, for a man his size, Cooper has pretty good bat control. His swing could be tweaked into something that allows him to make more meaningful contact and allow more of his raw power to play in games. If Miami can do that, he could be a late-blooming everyday player or platoon partner for Justin Bour.

Drafted: 12th Round, 2014 from St. Louis High School
Age 21 Height 6’0 Weight 185 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command
50/55 55/60 40/45 40/45

A spin-rate darling, Yamamoto continued to miss pro bats in 2017, striking out 25% of hitters he faced. He’s a little undersized, has a low three-quarters arm slot, and pitches at 89-92 with his fastball, occasionally touching 94. His fastball gets tagged when he fails to locate it in the upper third of the zone and above, and he shows the ball to left-handed hitters pretty early, concerning some about his ability to start.

His curveball spins in the upper 2000-rpm range, just shy of elite levels, but the spin isn’t always effective due to Yamamoto’s lower slot. His changeup is below average, as is his command. I have Yamamoto projected in relief, where I think his fastball will tick up a bit, though some feel he’s got a shot to pitch at the back of a rotation.

23. Colton Hock, RHP
Drafted: 4th Round, 2017 from Stanford
Age 21 Height 6’4 Weight 220 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command
55/55 55/60 40/45 40/45

Hock had a prototypical build and delivery in high school but became more relieverish at Stanford. He sits 93-96 (his velo was down after signing, but that’s common) with a plus curveball. Miami is going to develop him as a starter (which is what the new player-dev regime did in New York with arms like Chance Adams), so be on the lookout for mechanical tweaks and changeup development in 2018. Hock looked like a potential late-inning arm as a draftee.

24. Joe Dunand, 3B
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2017 from NC State
Age 21 Height 6’2 Weight 205 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 55/60 40/45 40/40 40/45 60/60

Dunand played shortstop at North Carolina State, but scouts doubt he’ll be able to stay there in pro ball due to his size. His arm strength fits at third base and so does his plus raw power projection, but Dunand’s propensity to whiff makes his offensive profile problematic at a corner spot. In the unlikely event that Dunand can find a way to stay at short, then his upside is significant, because he has rare power for that positions. If not, the overall skillset looks pretty fragile because of the bat.

25. Thomas Jones, OF
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2016 from Laurens HS (SC)
Age 19 Height 6’4 Weight 195 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 45/60 20/50 60/60 40/50 40/40

Jones had a bad 2017 on paper and remains a raw but intriguing athlete with very little feel for baseball. He has some bat control and present raw power with room to grow into much more. His routes in center are circuitous, but he has the speed to stay there. He’s a long-term developmental project.

26. Robert Dugger, RHP
Drafted: 18th Round, 2016 from Texas Tech
Age 21 Height 6’2 Weight 180 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command
55/55 55/60 40/45 45/50 40/45

Dugger, who was acquired as part of the Dee Gordon trade, sits 90-95 and has a viable four-pitch mix and enough strike-throwing ability and athleticism to start. He projects as a No. 4/5 starter.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic
Age 19 Height 6’2 Weight 175 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/50 40/45 20/30 50/50 40/50 60/60

Most of Hernandez’s profile is dependent upon him remaining in center field. He has just enough speed and instincts for his age/experience level to project as a viable defensive center fielder. His current hit/power projections, meanwhile, allow scouts to project Hernandez as a low-end regular in center if he can stay there as he ages. He’s got a little bit more pop than you’d expect for a player with his frame but isn’t likely to grow into huge power.

Drafted: 20th Round, 2014 from Ralston Valley HS (CO)
Age 21 Height 6’4 Weight 190 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command
60/60 50/55 40/45 30/40

Holloway throws really hard, sitting 94-97 and touching 99 with sink. He also flashes a 55 curveball and 50 change, but his command will probably relegate him to the bullpen at some point. If his fastball ticks up in relief and his curveball develops into a 55 or 60, as projected, he could be a late-inning reliever.

29. Tyler Kolek, RHP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2014 from Shepherd HS (TX)
Age 21 Height 6’5 Weight 260 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Command
60/60 30/40

Kolek made a few truncated appearances in the AZL last year, when he returned from Tommy John surgery. They didn’t go well. His fastball was 93-95 in those appearances, during which he threw only fastballs, and he walked 14 hitter in 3.2 innings. He has looked pretty good in early spring bullpen sessions and he remains on this list due to his pre-draft upside, but the industry is at the point where it doesn’t consider Kolek acquirable unless he proves he’s a prospect again.

Other Prospects of Note

Merandy Gonzalez, RHP – Traded to Miami as part of the two-prospect package return for A.J. Ramos, Gonzalez spent his 2017 season split between Low- and High-A. He throws strikes with a sinking fastball in the 90-94 range that plays down a bit due to poor extension — itself the result of a short stride. Opinions regarding Gonzalez’s breaking-ball quality vary depending on whom you ask. An in-office analyst with whom I spoke considered it plus, but scouts think it’s fringey, so perhaps it has a high, but ineffective rate of spin. His changeup’s below-average. Gonzalez is likely to become a sinker/slider fifth starter or a bullpen piece whose relevance is dictated by the quality of the breaking ball he develops.

Ynmanol Marinez, INF – Marinez signed for $1.5 million in July of 2017. He has the range and hands for shortstop but may lack the arm for the left side of the infield and could eventually slide to second base. Marinez’s hands are promisingly twitchy in the box and he has gap pop already as a teenager. He’s a well-rounded teenage middle-infield prospect.

Brandon Miller, RHP – Miller’s plus-flashing breaking ball is his best pitch. It’s a low-80s slider with terrific depth, and it’s able to dip beneath the barrels of both left- and right-handed hitters. He also throws strikes with a riding low-90s fastball that works well in sequence with the slider, as Miller can run the fastball up above the zone and bury the slider, inducing fruitless swings with both. Miller’s arm action is a bit long, and scouts think the changeup, currently below average, might not quite reach respectability. That could limit Miller’s future role to one of relief, but if the changeup comes along, Miller fits in the back of a rotation. Either is an excellent outcome for a sixth-rounder out of a Division II school.

Riley Mahan, 2B/OF – Mahan’s power spiked (and so did his stock) as a junior at Kentucky. He could end up with a 50 bat and something close to 50 power, which would play at second base if Mahan can stay there, but he may only be a 40 there or have to move to right field.

Albert Guaimaro, OF – Guaimaro was one of the prospects thrown back onto the free-agent market as part of Boston’s penalties for doing packaged deals used to circumvent bonus restrictions during the 2015-16 singing period. He’s built like a 6-foot Kirby Puckett, has present 55 raw power but no physical projection, and runs well enough that he’s tried in center field once in a while. Some international scouts wanted to see him catch in pro ball.

Brett Graves, RHP – Miami’s second Rule 5 pick has exhibited an uptick in spin rate on his breaking ball each of the last three years. His breaking ball is now a 45 or 50 ,and Graves was up to 96 during instructional league. He’ll also flash a 55 changeup.

Andy Beltre, RHP – Beltre, 24, has had injury issues, but his velocity is fine. He’ll touch 99 and sit 94-97 with a 55 slider. He’s a potential relief piece and should debut in 2018.

Jeff Brigham, RHP – The 2017 season was Brigham’s third straight at High-A. His fastball ranges 93 to 96 and has some arm-side run, his slider in the 82-86 range is above average, and his changeup and command are both below. he projects as a possible middle-relief option but is far away for his age (he’s 26) and already has had a TJ.

John Norwood, 1B/OF – Norwood has power and hunts the right pitches. He’s had success up through Double-A. If he can tap into a little more power, he could be a relevant bench piece or platoon option.

Sam Perez, RHP – A college arm yet to exit Low-A, Perez has interesting stuff (up to 95, flashing a 6 slider and 5 change) but hasn’t shown an ability to miss bats yet.

Ben Meyer, RHP – A low-slot righty who will touch 96, Meyer’s fastball/breaking-ball combination could play in relief, probably as a righty specialist.

Rodrigo Vigil, C – Vigil has reached Double-A and does enough behind the plate to stay there. He has great hand-eye coordination and grinds out tough at-bats. He could factor into a 40-man catching situation soon.

Yeral Encarnacion, 1B/OF – A 6-foot-4, 220 pound outfielder, Encarnacion hit for big power in the GCL at age 19. His swing length and promising bat control tussle with one another. He’s likely a 1B-only prospect but he’s got now power and a chance to hit.

Osman Gutierrez, RHP – Acquired last August from Toronto for Tom Koehler, Gutierrez is a 23-year-old sinker/slider righty from Nicaragua. He sits 92-94 but has touched 98 and flashes a 55 slider. He’s had trouble throwing strikes and is behind the age/level curve.

Alberto Guerrero, RHP – 20-year-old righty from Panama, will touch 95, flash above-average changeup, throws strikes.

Cistulli’s Guy
Selected by Carson Cistulli from any player who received less than a 40 FV.

Ben Meyer, RHP
Meyer and and right-hander Trevor Richards feature roughly the same fringe credentials on paper. Both lack pedigree. Both passed much of the 2017 season as 24-year-olds at High-A Jupiter. Both recorded excellent strikeout and walk figures with that same club.

While Richards appears to succeed largely on the strength of his changeup and command, however, Meyer actually possesses some physical talents uncharacteristic of a 29th-round pick. Standing at 6-foot-5 and possessing room for positive development, Meyer ventures into the mid-90s with some frequency and sat at just over 93 mph during this year’s Arizona Fall League.

It’s possible, as Longenhagen notes, that Meyer ultimately succeeds in relief. As tall, cold-weather prospect, however — he went to Minnesota — Meyer features some typical traits of a late-bloomer.

System Overview

By my count, 21 of the 29 prospects on the main section of this list were acquired within the last year via trade or draft. The front office was faced with an unenviable task by the new ownership group’s desire to cut payroll and have created a good foundation for a future, homegrown contender even if the returns for Marcell Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton feel a little light when viewed through a lens focused entirely on building a competitive baseball team. This system has a lot of hard-throwing pitchers and also, now, some of the same player-development personnel responsible for the recent deluge of power Yankees arms. Half of the 50-FV-or-higher prospects in this system are probably going to graduate off this list in 2018.

Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.

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6 years ago

Do #2 overall picks nosedive this fast usually? Other arms get TJ surgery and still have a fighting chance to continue to be a solid-to-strong prospect. Tyler Kolek, we hardly knew ya.

6 years ago
Reply to  LightenUpFG

The #1 overall pick hasn’t fared much better, if it’s any consolation.

6 years ago
Reply to  LHPSU

The Phillies, Padres, Mets, and As all made pretty good picks in the 1st round, if the wreckage from the rest of the first round is any indication.