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Miami Marlins' top five prospect tools: Changeup

The Marlins are rich in pitching prospects, in particular those with strong changeups. Here are the five best changeups in the Marlins' minor league organization.

Justin NIcolino's changeup is part of the reason he is one of the top prospects in baseball.
Justin NIcolino's changeup is part of the reason he is one of the top prospects in baseball.

The Miami Marlins are flush with top prospects on the pitching side, and they only added to their collection in this previous season's draft. But when it comes to changeups, the Fish boast an awesome four-some of excellent changeups among their starting pitchers. Here are the top five changeups in the organization.

5. Trevor Williams

Trevor Williams, 21, was the Marlins second-round choice in the most recent draft. A sturdy 6'3'' right-handed pitcher out of Arizona State, Williams has excellent control over both his fastball and his changeup. Williams lacks a true out pitch and has always struggled to miss bats, but because he can control his changeup so well, he still manages to make himself an effective and durable starting pitcher. His changeup sits at around 80-81 MPH and it shows some drop at times.

4. Andrew Heaney

Andrew Heaney, 22, was the Marlins first-round pick in the 2012 MLB Amateur draft. He is known for his pitchability and plus command rather than his outrageous ceiling, but if Heaney can continue to locate his changeup and play with it's movement, his potential could grow. His changeup, which sits in the mid 80's, has a little bit of fade to it and he throws it exactly where he wants it consistently. Heaney's changeup has the potential to be a plus pitch, but because he doesn't have a nasty fastball or breaking ball to offset it, it doesn't rank higher on this list.

3. Adam Conley

Adam Conley, 23, is a projectable left-handed pitcher whose changeup is probably his second best pitch. Nonetheless, Conley knows how to use his changeup to get outs and balance his repertoire. Over his last couple years in the minors, Conley has been outstanding at keeping the ball in the ballpark and in my opinion, most of that has to due with him knowing that he can't leave anything other than his fastball up in the zone. By keeping his changeup down low, it becomes nasty offsetting his blazing fastball. If Conley can raise his offspeed pitches to the level of his changeup and his fastball, he should have a long career in the Major Leagues as a starting pitcher.

2. Jose Urena

Jose Urena, 22, has excelled at Greensboro and Jupiter over the last two seasons because of his great ability to offset his upper 90's fastball with a very impressive changeup. Urena throws his changeup for strikes and even though it doesn't miss all that many bats (or at least it didn't in 2013), Urena knows how to use it effectively to his advantage. Overall, Jose Urena's potentially-plus changeup is one of the reasons that the Marlins are trying to keep him as a starter instead of moving him to the back of the 'pen.

1. Justin Nicolino

Justin Nicolino, 21, was acquired by Miami in the blockbuster trade with Toronto. Nicolino is a 6'3'' left-handed starting pitcher known for his outstanding command. Nicolino doesn't have overwhelming fastballs or offspeed pitches, but he is so effective because he places pitches exactly where he wants them to go. His changeup is probably his best pitch and he has already shown extraordinary ability to make it dive and get called as a strike in the bottom of the zone. It sits in the high 70's, low 80's and Nicolino throws it often and at all times during the at-bat. If Nicolino can continue to develop his other pitches while throwing this effective changeup, he will be able to reach his true potential as a top of the rotation starter.