The Miami Marlins have mostly avoided the Rule 5 draft for the last few seasons, having mostly filled their roster with their own talent. However, now that the team has been gutted by recent trades heading into the 2013 season, the 2012 Rule 5 draft seemed like the right time to take a chance on a player or two for just $50,000 each. The team did just that by targeting former Los Angeles Dodgers outfield prospect Alfredo Silverio and former Tampa Bay Rays lefty prospect Braulio Lara.
Following 2011, Silverio was an intriguing outfield prospect with the Dodgers. He was coming off of a season in which he hit .306/.340/.542 (.383 wOBA) with 16 home runs in 572 PA at the Double-A level. Sure, he was holding that line with a .340 BABIP, but 23 year-olds with those kind of breakout seasons in Double-A do not do poorly. Heading into 2012, he was ranked fifth in the Dodgers system by Minor League Ball's John Sickels and seventh by FanGraphs's Marc Hulet. Here is what Sickels had to say before the season:
5) Alfredo Silverio, OF, Grade B-, borderline B: It took him a long time to develop skills to make his tools meaningful, and he still has issues with the strike zone and using his speed on the bases, but progress has been real and he's the best position prospect in the system. Should put up huge numbers in Albuquerque even if his underlying skills don't improve.
From that description, Silverio sounded every bit like a toolsy outfielder who was beginning to turn his potential power into on-field production. His struggles with the strike zone were mostly in recognizing balls from strikes, as evidenced by his career 4.6 percent walk rate. But he makes enough contact (17.6 percent career strikeout rate) to make up for it, especially if he can continue to increase his power.
Unfortunately, before the 2012 seaosn, Silverio had a car accident that caused injuries to his arm, back, and neck, leading to Tommy John surgery. He missed all of 2012 and, as a result, had a promising potential year robbed from him. The Dodgers left him off of the 40-man roster and the Marlins made a wise move to select him.
The Marlins feel as though Silverio is recovering well from the injury.
"All the reports I've read from 2011, he was a sure thing," Marlins vice president of player development Marty Scott said. "An A-plus player."
Recently, Scott saw Silverio work out in the Dominican Republic. He has been cleared from the concussion, but Silverio has yet to be cleared to throw. He also is recovering from Tommy John surgery.
"I saw him in the cage a couple of weeks ago in the Dominican, so I knew he was swinging the bat," Scott said. "He's not getting cleared to throw for a couple of weeks. He's a project."
If Silverio sticks on the team's roster, he can serve as a fourth or fifth outfielder who can cover each of the three outfield positions. The Marlins took a chance on him because he was clearly a talented player, but his injury recovery is still in question. Given the state of the team's outfield situation, however, it may not matter. Last season, Gorkys Hernandez and Bryan Petersen were both given extended looks in the outfield and failed to impress, and only one of them is likely to make the roster as a primary backup. If the team likes what it sees out of the talented Silverio, he will serve as the other backup.
Lara will be 24 years old in the 2013 season, and he spent the last two years as a starting pitcher in the Rays organization. Starting was not looking good for him, as he struggled with a 4.94 and 5.70 ERA in the last two years respectively. His primary advantage with the Marlins will be that he is a lefty with a big power arm, supposedly being able to throw in high 90's. He may give the team another potential option in the bullpen, but he will not get a chance to start for the Marlins after not making it to Double-A.