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Miami Marlins prospects: Who can help this season?

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Who are the Top five prospects ready to help the Fish this season, and what value could they add?

Justin Nicolino
Justin Nicolino
Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Marlins are in win-now mode.  How else can we explain the long term signing of Giancarlo Stanton in addition to the acquisitions of Dee Gordon and Dan Haren?  The fact that Miami traded away top prospects to acquire Gordon and Haren also serves to highlight the intentions of the front office to contend this season.  In regards to win-now mode and  prospects, it is appropriate to focus our attention on those prospects in the higher levels of the farm system.

While it is fun to dream of young Miami prospects with seemingly limitless potential someday developing into All-Stars (I'm looking at you Tyler Kolek), it is also important to examine those prospects closer to making their mark in the big leagues.  Such prospects are better known commodities than younger prospects just beginning their professional careers, and thus allow us to more accurately project their future.  Today we look at five prospects who are on the cusp of starting their major league careers, and examine their projected value to the Fish this season; all five are already on the 40 man roster.

Quick note:  I used the Steamer 600 projections to acquire all statistics.

Jose Urena - RHP

IP

K/9

BB/9

FIP

WAR

65

5.85

2.31

4.07

-0.2

The projections basically see Urena as a replacement level player if he sees the big leagues in 2015. He is likely to be used as a relief pitcher if he cracks the big leagues in 2015; and Steamer agrees with all of his innings projected to come out of the bullpen. Urena is an exciting prospect, ranking 7th in the organization, who posses a live arm capable of touching 98 mph.  He will likely open the season at Triple-A New Orleans after pitching well at Double-A Jacksonville during the 2014 season.

Adam Conley - LHP

IP

K/9

BB/9

FIP

WAR

65

7.10

3.27

3.98

-0.1

Conley is the left-handed version of Urena; both throw well above average fastballs and are working on their command and control.  Like Urena, Conley will almost assuredly pitch from the bullpen if he sees big league action in 2015; though the Fish still see him as a starting pitcher long-term.  Projected to pitch ever so slightly below replacement level in 2015, Conley should continue to improve as he progresses throughout his career.

Kendry Flores - RHP

IP

K/9

BB/9

FIP

WAR

200

6.54

3.30

4.18

0.4

The big thing to note for Flores is the projections see him as a starting pitcher, and starting a significant amount of games for that matter.  While Steamer normalizes all of their projections to 200 IP for starters and 65 IP for relievers, the takeaway is his projection as a starter.  In contrast to Urena and Conley, Flores posses above average command and control of his pitches, and profiles well in the middle to back of a rotation.  However, it is hard to imagine him logging such a large amount of innings for the Marlins in 2015; there is just too much pitching depth already in the big leagues, even without the mid-season return of Jose Fernandez.

Justin Nicolino - LHP

IP

K/9

BB/9

FIP

WAR

200

4.87

2.08

4.24

1.1

My first thought when checking out the above statistics was that there was no way Nicolino should be projected for nearly five strikeouts per nine innings of baseball.  To gain statistical support for this initial thought, I headed over to Nicolino's Baseball Reference page; and what did I find?  His career average through four minor league seasons is 6.7 strikouts per nine innings!  Not what I expected from the pitch to contact Nicolino.  While he will start the year in New Orleans, I would not be surprised to see Nicolino pitch in Miami before the 2015 season is over.  His projected WAR pegs him as slightly more than a role player in 2015, but that figure should improve in 2016 and beyond.

J.T. Realmuto, C

PA

AVG

OBP

SLG

Wrc +

WAR

450

234

285

347

76

1.1

Our first position player, Realmuto projects as a solid if unspectacular catcher.  Steamer sees  him as little more than a possible role player in 2015.  Realmuto's plus arm and athleticism make his defense above average, while his contact oriented swing should cause him to hit for a decent (for a catcher) average.  His defense, though, should keep him in the big leagues.  Realmuto currently sits behind Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jeff Mathis in the big league pecking order, but should at least claim the back up job by 2016.

It certainly makes for an interesting group of five prospects on the edge of the major leagues.  While no member of the group is projected to play a significant part in the upcoming season, they will all be interesting to watch as their career's progress.