The Miami Marlins were among the many teams who were interested enough in Cuban free agent Yasmani Tomas to go watch him in his workout this week. The Fish, like essentially every other team, is enamored with his athleticism and potential for power. The Fish also know that pursuing him would come with a hefty price tag, on the order of around what Jose Abreu earned from the Chicago White Sox this past offseason.
But after scouting Tomas, the Marlins should have a better idea of how he fits into their organization. So let's use the scouting report provided by FanGraphs' Kiley McDaniel to shed some insight on how Tomas would work within the confines of the Marlins.
The Report At a Glance
Yasmany Tomas, LF
Hit: 40/45+, Game Power: 50/60, Raw Power: 65/65, Speed: 45/45+, Field: 45/50, Arm: 45/45+
Upside: .275/.350/.480 with 25-30 homers, fringy defense & baserunning value in left field
Looking at what we see there, we can tell exactly the sort of player teams are expecting. Like Yoenis Cespedes and Jose Abreu before him. Tomas is being touted as a masher at the plate first and foremost, with raw power that projects well in a lot of places. That 65 grade means that his power should be 1.5 standard deviations better than the league average, putting him well into the .200's in terms of ISO.
The Marlins would love to add power to their lineup. They traded out of Logan Morrison and his upside to acquire a more power-leaning bat in Garrett Jones. They signed Jarrod Saltalamacchia to add output from the catcher position. The work in the offseason, combined with the arrival of Marcell Ozuna and the return of a healthy Giancarlo Stanton, has improved the team's power production in 2014. The Marlins have hit 121 home runs this year, which is 22nd in the league and paced their 2013 total by almost 30.
So the power addition would be nice, but what other things can we see? That "upside" projection, which McDaniel describes as a 75th percentile estimate, shows me a player with decent bat and contact skills and good power, but not a line that is through the roof. Tomas's line is, in fact, quite comparable to Cespedes, who had similar scouting reports on his high-power, low-patience bat. Cespedes has hit .263/.316/.466 (.337 wOBA) in three seasons for his career.
The carrying tool here is raw power, which draws anywhere from 60 to 70 grades on the 20-80 scale from scouts, but the question mark is how much he will hit. Tomas has a short bat path for a power hitter and quick hands that move through the zone quickly. The tools are here for at least an average hitter, but Tomas’ plate discipline has been questioned and he can sometimes sell out for pull power in games (here’s video of a particularly long homer in the WBC).
The tools are there for a potential power hitter, but not someone who may be an impact star contributor. Remember all the hype that surrounded Cespedes and Abreu? Tomas is not getting that kind of hype on his tools. The power is what is bringing him to the table in the bigs, but there are questions on striking out and a lack of discipline which could make for uglier swings.
Miami has not shown a penchant for shying from that. Marcell Ozuna represents a classic example of a gunslinging free-swinger with good power tools. Tomas projects as a better hitter and may have a better hit tool, but it is difficult to see if he maintains that. Ozuna himself has had those questions, but he turned out excellent this year, batting .269/.317/.455 (.338 wOBA) and putting up a near four-win campaign.
He turned in an average run time in the 60 yard dash at his workout Sunday, but his speed plays more fringy to below average in games and his fringy to below average arm makes him a left field fit.
Tomas apparently looked off the mark in the latest World Baseball Classic and is still a big body. One of the concerns with Abreu last season was that, if he could not handle first base well, the Marlins would have nowhere to shift him to since they do not have the DH in the National League. There would be similar concerns here for Tomas in left field, as the team would be signing up for a potential first baseman in terms of defensive ability, but one with more of a corner outfielder's bat.
It just so happens that Miami could use a first baseman, as they may be considering trading incumbent Garrett Jones. The team may also opt to move Christian Yelich to first base, which would be a terrible idea. Of the two moves, acquiring a first baseman would be better, but perhaps the Fish could pidgeonhole Tomas at the position. Then again, if Tomas's bat struggles, they may have another Jones situation on their hands.
Age PA AVG OBP SLG ISO OPS+ BB% K% 2009 18 102 0.297 0.350 0.385 0.088 77 8 19 2010 19 27 0.192 0.185 0.385 0.193 35 0 26 2012 21 240 0.301 0.333 0.580 0.279 134 4 18 2013 22 144 0.346 0.403 0.638 0.291 190 8 13 2013.5 22 180 0.240 0.333 0.453 0.213 114 12 18 2014 23 170 0.258 0.324 0.411 0.152 107 9 18 2014.5 23 87 0.350 0.391 0.525 0.175 135 7 18 Totals 950 0.290 0.345 0.504 0.214 124 8 18
Tomas is young, but the numbers he is posting do not jump off the screen. In this latest half-season, he posted good statistics, but they were only 35 percent better than the league average in Cuba. Lucas Duda put up a similar percentage this past year in the majors. Recall that part of the hype behind Abreu was that his numbers were unbelievable and translated to ridiculous statistics. Tomas has nothing to claim in that regard, and the Cuban league is essentially the level of High-A baseball in America.
This is a huge negative, and the only thing that can be said in Tomas's favor in that regard is that he is only 24 years old. Abreu, on the other hand, was heading into age 27 having hung around in High-A for years devastating pitchers. Maybe Tomas is just a slower developing player who is going to be providing his prime as a hitter during this upcoming contract.
The Marlins have a variety of reasons that make Yasmani Tomas not a good fit for the team. The Fish would either have to transition him to first base or lose value in shifting Yelich to that position, which gives up wins unnecessarily. The bat has concerns, as it compares with the decent but unspectacular work from Cespedes but does not bring the promise of athletic defense or baserunning value.
McDaniel has a projection for Tomas heading into next year.
Taking those points into consideration, we’re looking at age 24 through 29 or 30 for a hitter that carries some risk but generally projects as a solid 2-win player with upside to become a 3-win player. With wins being valued at $6 million or more, discounts for performance risk and a long-term deal with premiums for no draft pick compensation and age means that $10-15 million per year is a reasonable expectation for a winning bid.
Presuming a $10 million per year bid akin to what Abreu received, Miami should not get involved with Tomas. The Marlins could end up with a low-ceiling player who is not a good fit defensively for the club, and there are better ways to spend that $10 million per year.