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Scouting the Minors: Greensboro Grasshoppers

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The next crop of young Marlins talent is playing across the Marlins' minor league system. And a few key pieces of their future reside in Greensboro North Carolina this season.

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Editor's Note: Mark was on hand to watch the Grasshoppers this weekend. Below are a few of his observations. -SG

It was a big series for the Greensboro Grasshoppers this weekend against the Delmarva Shorebirds. Between the Single-A premiere of second overall pick Tyler Kolek and the welcoming of the four-millionth fan to New Bridge Bank Park, the Grasshoppers opened the 2015 season with a bang. Here are some of the top performers through the first three games:

John Norwood is a relatively unknown outfield prospect. But Saturday night Norwood made sure his presence was felt. Norwood featured a leaping catch at the wall and threw out Shorebirds catcher Jonah Heim at the plate. Norwood is quick in the outfield and has great reaction to fly balls. He has showcased some athletic ability and a good arm in the outfield. How much Norwood remains in the future plans of the Fish is unclear. He was signed as a free agent out of Vanderbilt University and is currently playing in his first full season of Single-A ball.

On the other side of the outfield, right fielder Zach Sullivan showcased skill on the base paths. Sullivan has great speed and hustles down the line on every single play. Sullivan had a bunt single, a stolen base, and scored on a wild pitch. Sullivan, who was selected with the Marlins 14th round pick in the 2014 Major League Baseball draft, has the ability to swipe bases at will. With his trademarked speed, Sullivan has a chance to be a valuable pinch-runner as his career progresses.

Then comes the Marlins' most prized pitching prospect, Tyler Kolek. Kolek made his home debut Friday night, and it wasn't a pretty one. While Kolek showed amazing velocity, he only lasted three innings and gave up four earned runs. If there is a silver-lining, Kolek only sacrificed one walk in his three innings of work. Kolek needs a lot of work on his control. While Kolek's feature fastball was on point, he seemed to have trouble locating his secondary pitches and seemed a little wild. While the organization may see Kolek as a starter, I tend to see him as a potential closer. He isn't consistent enough to put together a good five or six innings but he has the heat to throw one great inning. No matter what happens, Kolek is a big part of the Marlins future.

Second Round Pick Justin Twine battled injury all week and will return to action on Thursday or Friday. While acting as a designated hitter, First Base prospect Austen Smith hit a game winning two-run homerun in the bottom of the eighth inning. Smith put together a great swing a showed great pop with men on base.

Overall, the season has just begun and the development of prospects takes time. And there's plenty of time for development and also plenty of room for improvement.