Second base has been a bit of a revolving door for the Miami Marlins this season. So far Derek Dietrich, Rafael Furcal, Ed Lucas, Donovan Solano, and now Jordany Valdespin have started games at second base in 2014. The lack of production or consistency from the position has to be concerning for the Marlins front office. The only player to start at second base with a wRC+ better than league average is Derek Dietrich at 103. There is, however, a possible solution to this problem in the minor league system that may be Miami's long term answer to their second base woes. That solution is Avery Romero.
Romero was taken by the Marlins in the 2nd round of the 2012 MLB draft as a shortstop. He was highly thought of when picked, but initially struggled to hit professional pitching. Through 33 games with the GCL Marlins in his first season he was only batting .223/.309/.347. A call up to short-season A ball in Batavia to begin the 2013 season led to a slight uptick in performance. The Marlins felt so good about his development they decided to let him finish the year a level higher in Greensboro.
At this point of his career Romero was developing nicely as a prospect, even though his numbers were not eye popping. Coming into the 2014 season, Fish Stripes had Romero rated as the tenth best prospect in the Marlins system. This season has seen an explosion in Romero's performance. He started 2014 back in Greensboro where his bat has come alive. Before being called up to Jupiter, Romero was hitting a sizzling .325/.368/.438, with 4 homeruns, and a wRC+ of 125. He has stayed hot since moving to high A, as his line currently sits .345/.367/.414 in only 29 at-bats.
I was only able to see Romero once before he left Greensboro. I was hoping to get a more in-depth look at him, but I still came away impressed with the little I saw. At 5 feet 11 inches and 195 pounds, he is stocky but not heavy. It's a strong frame that would fit in nicely behind the plate, but should not hinder him at a middle infield position. He does not possess impressive athleticism or quickness, but with his good hands and a strong throwing arm he should project as a solid defensive second basemen.
His most impressive tool is his bat. Romero just hits. In the game I attended back in June, Romero went 3 for 4 with 3 hard hit singles and a strikeout. He has a short and quick swing that produces hard hit line drives. There is not much power, but as a second base prospect that is not a huge issue.
Romero is only in high-A now, so he is not a second base option in the foreseeable future, but if he continues on his current path he might get his shot in the big leagues by 2016. For now, Miami will have to move forward with the limited options they have at their disposal, with the hope that the future of the position is bright.