Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
A comparison of the Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies top prospects, position by position.
While anxiously awaiting the day pitchers and catchers report, I came up with what I think is a brilliant idea. During Spring Training, each major league team should form a prospect All-Star team, filled with their top prospects not at major league spring training. While I have no say with the commissioner, it is fun to dream about something like this happening. Anyways, I came up with the idea to compare the Marlins prospects with other teams in the N.L. East and their top prospects. I've already looked at the Mets and the Braves.
DISCLAIMER: This is in no way to determine which team has the better farm system.
Catcher: Tommy Joseph is one of the most overrated prospects in all of baseball. However, I would probably prefer him to Rob Brantly and J.T. Realmuto of the Marlins just because of his monster power potential. Not to mention, if Sebastian Valle ever figures out how to become a more disciplined hitter, he could form a nasty duo with Joseph. The Marlins and Phillies are similar in this category because both teams will have their two top catching prospects playing at Double-A or above in 2013. It will be interesting to see how this looks down the road, but right now, I'll have to choose Philadelphia in this category just because of Joseph's high ceiling. Advantage: Philadelphia
First Base: I want to believe in Darin Ruf. Everyone loves the power hitter who finally puts things together after multiple years in the minors. However, Ruf is 26 and everything I've learned about corner infield prospects reminds me that that's way too old to be a prospect. Only time will tell as to if Ruf will be able to dominate Major League pitchers like he did to Double-A pitchers in 2012. Ruf hit .317/.408/.620 at Double-A Reading and earned a late-season promotion to Philadelphia. Mark Canha could be the next Darin Ruf, but he has yet to put up the kind of numbers that Ruf did last year. Ruf is probably more of a AAAA player, but he could provide some decent power off the bench. Advantage: Philadelphia
Second Base: This category isn't even close. The Phillies top prospect at second base is probably Cesar Hernandez, who has some speed and plays pretty good defense, but isn't very good at anything else. Out of Austin Barnes and Noah Perio, the Marlins will likely not get an above-average player, but both have the potential to provide value at the MLB level down the line. Advantage: Miami
Third Base: Cody Asche and Maikel Franco are two very different prospects, but both of them should be able to help the Phillies win some games down the line. Asche took a huge step forward in 2012, hitting .329/.364/.481 with 12 HR at High-A and Double-A. Franco is farther away and might not be able to stay at third base, but he's shown promising power in the last few years. Either one of these two Philadelphia prospects is "better" than Zack Cox, the Phillies win their third category fairly easily. Advantage: Philadelphia
Shortstop: Roman Quinn is probably not a shortstop long-term, but his athleticism and raw speed make him one of the more exciting shortstop prospects in the lower minors. Similar to Dee Gordon of the Dodgers, Quinn is able to hide his weaknesses, both hitting and fielding, by using his speed. Quinn is at least two more years away from the majors, and he has a lot of things to work on, but look for him to take the field at Citizens Bank Park sooner rather than later. Adeiny Hechavarria and Derek Dietrich are both prospects that are more proven, closer to the majors, and much more well-rounded than Quinn, so the Marlins do take the win here. Advantage: Miami
Outfield: Carlos Tocci, Kelly Dugan, and Larry Greene are the three top prospects in the Philadelphia system. Tocci is the best of the bunch, but he has yet to play at a level above Rookie ball. Dugan had some nice numbers in Lakewood last year, but the scouts don't love him. Greene disappointed in 2012 at Lakewood and he'll need to bounce back in 2013. Overall, these three don't come close to topping the Marlins trifecta of Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, and Jake Marisnick. Advantage: Miami
Pitching: The strength of the Philadelphia farm system is probably their pitching. Jesse Biddle looks like a future #2 or #3 starter, Adam Morgan has an outside shot at being a #3, and Jon Pettibone could be an above-average back-end starter due to his outstanding changeup. However, the Phillies prospect starters lack the upside of Miami's. Jose Fernandez, Justin Nicolino, Adam Conley and others are the future in Miami. Once again, another team falls at the helm of the amazing Marlins pitching prospects. Advantage: Miami
Final Tally: Miami 4, Philadelphia 3