The Miami Marlins sent a number of players to the Arizona Fall League this year, but only one will represent their team in the Fall Stars Game, the AFL's combination All-Star Game / Futures Game that celebrates some of the best prospects sent the way of Arizona. The Fish's lone representative this season will be 2013 first-round draft pick Colin Moran, who will play for the West team that boasts 11 MLB.com Top 100 prospects on the list, including top prospect Byron Buxton of the Minnesota Twins.
Moran's performance in the AFL certainly is not what is bringing him to the Fall Stars Game. On the one hand, he has walked nine times versus just six strikeouts in 53 plate appearances. On the other hand, he is batting just .182/.321/.227 (.286 wOBA) in those same 53 chances. Moran's struggles are not boding well for him as the starting third baseman for the Glendale Desert Dogs.
Moran is one of two third baseman from last year's draft who have made the Fall Stars Game. The other was the second overall pick Kris Bryant, who was taken by the Chicago Cubs. Bryant, who will play for the East team, is faring much better than Moran is this year. After a fantastic stint in Low-A (.354/,416/.692), Bryant is hitting a phenomenal .429/.468/.905 (.591 wOBA).
But for his part, Moran is making the most of his stint in the AFL, as he is taking advantage of the extra work to improve his game.
"I feel like I need to work on everything," Moran said. "I'm still adjusting to the pro game, just playing every day. As much as people talk about the grind, it is a grind. I'm just trying to learn and pick people's brains."
The Marlins do have some other players in the AFL who could have earned a look. One of the team's top prospects in the current MLB Top 100 list is lefty starter Andrew Heaney, who is also in the AFL this year. Heaney has been impressive in three starts, going 10 2/3 innings and striking out 11 en route to a 2.53 ERA and 2.26 FIP. Heaney ranks 48th in the top 100 list.
The AFL Fall Stars Game will be played on November 2 and will be broadcast on MLB Network and streamed on MLB.com, so if you want to catch Colin Moran and the rest of the best of the league, tune in!