10. Avery Romero, 2B
Drafted: 2012, 3rd round out of Pedro Menendez HS
Age: 20 Height: 5'11" Weight: 195 lbs.
Following a successful performance in short-season ball, Avery Romero has become the top middle infield prospect in the Marlins system. He batted .297/.357/.411 in 56 plate appearances for Batavia, before getting called up for a brief stint in Greensboro.
While no one doubted the quality of Romero's swing prior to the MLB Draft, there was some question as to where he would end up in the infield. Despite playing shortstop in high school, Romero's thick body seemed destined to force him off the position. The consensus at the time was that he would end up at third base, although some wondered if he could produce enough power to be an above-average hitter there.
After testing him out at third, the Marlins seem happy keeping Romero at second base. In fact, he projects as a better than average defender at second. Now that Romero has proven his ability to hit minor league pitching, and settled nicely into a defensive position, his stock as a prospect is more attractive than ever.
Romero will with all likelihood begin this season in Class A ball, where he will have a full season and a favorable hitting environment to hone his craft. A midseason promotion to high Class A seems likely should he maintain or exceed last year's performance.
The most substantial flaw in Romero's game currently is his below-average plate discipline. He walked in 6.4 percent of plate appearances for Batavia. According to Russell Carleton, walk rates usually takes just 120 plate appearances to stabilize, so we should have some idea of how Romero projects to walk. He could do worse than 6.4 percent and still become a productive player, however, so that figure shouldn't be cause for major alarm. I bring it up to highlight an area in which Romero could improve.
I wouldn't be terribly surprised to see Romero rank as one of the top three prospects in the Marlins system a year from now. His bat speed and doubles power should transition well as he moves up through the minors, eventually turning him into a solid everyday contributor. Aside from a scarcity of walks, Romero's limiting factor will be his lack of home run power.