17. Angel Sanchez, RHP
Drafted: N/A (International signing from the Dominican Republic)
Age: 24 Height: 6'3" Weight: 177 lbs.
Acquired from the Dodgers in the Ricky Nolasco trade, Angel Sanchez made an immediate impact pitching for Hammerheads. Sanchez, in addition to Colby Suggs and James Nygren, pitched six innings of a combined no-hitter. He finished with a 3.22 in 50 and one-third innings pitched for Jupiter. His stint in the Marlins organization was one of the more successful in his professional career.
When you're looking at the bottom of any prospect list, there's always a "but" or a "however." Everyone has a dirty smudge on their record. For Sanchez, it's his age. He put up respectable numbers last season, but he's a 24-year-old pitcher that hasn't pitched in Double-A yet.
The good news is Sanchez possesses a mid-90s fastball and quality slider, which means that he could comfortably fall back into a relief role if he fails to refine his change-up and curve-ball. There's a possible future where he turns into a mid-rotation starter, although I wouldn't consider it a likely outcome.
18. Austin Brice, RHP
Drafted: 2010, 9th round out of Northwood HS
Age: 21 Height: 6'4" Weight: 205 lbs.
Austin Brice's drop from 16th to 18th on our top prospects list correctly hints at the right hander's struggles, but belies just how disastrous the 2013 season was for him. The Marlins decided to hold Brice in Greensboro for another season, likely hoping to cut down on his high walk totals. Quite unexpectedly, Brice's figures regressed in every significant statistical category. He walked an absurd 82 batters in 113 innings pitched, showing absolutely no control of his otherwise impressive fastball and curveball.
When all his prodigious tools come together, Brice looks dominant on the mound. His 10.0 ratio of strikeouts to innings pitched two years ago led some to consider him a future mid-rotation starter, assuming that time and repetition would reduce some of his wildness. Now the more pertinent question seems to be whether he should start at all. His ERA rose to an ugly 5.73 and his strikeout rate tumbled as well - all against the same level of competition.
Treading water represents a failure for a prospect. Even fungible prospects should advance a level each year, and indicate some improvement. Prospects that perform worse repeating a league get to spend quality time with Kyle Skipworth and Chad James in prospect hell. Brice has a lot to prove this coming season.