Marlins move Jose Urena, Angel Sanchez, four others to 40-man roster

Angel Sanchez was one of six Marlins placed on the 40-man roster yesterday. - Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

The Miami Marlins continued to focus on their pitching staff by placing six players, four of them pitchers, on the 40-man roster in advance of the Rule 5 Draft.

The Miami Marlins have an excellent collection of pitching prospects that would be the envy of most teams. Yesterday, they assured that at least two of those names will remain safe from the coming Rule 5 Draft in December. The Marlins added six players to the 40-man roster, including four pitchers, putting their total roster count to 39. Miami's additions included top-10 organizational prospect Jose Urena, Dodgers trade acquisition Angel Sanchez, and relievers Michael Brady and Grant Dayton. The two position players added were catcher Jacob Realmuto and outfielder Brent Keys.

Each of those names has an interesting story to tell. Urena is probably the best prospect of the group, as he has been listed in multiple top-10 Marlins prospects lists. Last season, Urena threw a career-high 149 2/3 innings and displayed great command by posting a 4.7 percent walk rate en route to a 3.73 ERA and 3.17 FIP. He follows a long line of control-heavy Marlins pitching prospects headed by Andrew Heaney and Justin Nicolino.

The other pitchers have their merits as well. Sanchez was the most promising pitcher acquired in the Ricky Nolasco trade based on upside, but he was the furthest from the majors as well. He is also 23 years old and just finishing High-A ball, so his prospects are not the best, but the Marlins protected him nonetheless. Brady had a dominant 2013 season in Double-A Jacksonville, putting up a 25.7 percent strikeout rate versus just a 4.2 percent walk rate with a sub-2.50 ERA and FIP. Then again, he was 26 years old doing that, so it is less impressive. Dayton is a 26-year-old left-hander with a similar profile but even better strikeout numbers who also dominated at Double-A.

The hitting prospects also hold some intrigue. Realmuto was one of the players involved in the "catcher of the future" race with Rob Brantly before he suffered a terrible 2013 season. Realmuto hit just .239/.310/.333 in Double-A, and while he is a fantastic defender behind the dish, his bat may never play at the big league level. Brent Keys has done nothing but hit in the minors. and he boasts the organization's best hit tool at the moment. Last year, he hit .346/.418/.399 (.384 wOBA) in High-A before receiving a short promotion to Double-A, but his advanced age (23 years old) and questionable defensive capabilities in center field make him a classic tweener outfielder.

Of the six players, Urena, Realmuto, and Keys seem to have the best chances to reach the majors at some point. Brady and Dayton may make it as relievers soon if the Marlins are in need of bullpen help, but they make for questionable candidates dominating younger competition. Urena has stayed on course and will start in Double-A next season. Realmuto may repeat the level or move to Triple-A. Keys may be the fastest riser of the three, as a hot start in Double-A may put him on the fast track to a Major League bench job as a pinch hitter and pinch runner. Sanchez seems furthest from the big leagues and may be the most raw player named here.

The Marlins have one open spot on the 40-man roster and they could use it to draft a player in the Rule 5 Draft, which occurs every year during the Winter Meetings in December. Last season, the Marlins used their Rule 5 selection to pick former Dodgers outfielder Alfredo Silverio, who re-injured his damaged elbow and was later outrighted to Triple-A.

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