It is no secret that the 29th-ranked Marlins farm system could use some improvement; that being said, even the most shallow of farm systems can show glimmers of hope and have players worth following. The Marlins front office has always put a lot of emphasis on building from the bottom up, so while it is a bit surprising to see the Marlins next to dead last in terms of farm system depth, things are not expected to remain that way for long. We're going to look at the Marlins top prospects and what kind of impact they may or may not have on the 2017 club.
Castillo is a power arm who is known for his fastball that can reach triple digits. He was shipped to the Marlins in a 2014 exchange for third baseman Casey McGehee. Castillo was assigned to Single-A Greensboro and settled in pretty nicely, posting a 2.98 ERA in 63 innings while averaging a strikeout per frame. Many would expect a power arm with a relatively high strikeout volume to struggle with his control but that was not a major issue for Castillo, who owned a 7.7 K% in his first season with the Greensboro Grasshoppers.
The 2016 season was even better for Castillo, who recorded a minuscule 2.07 ERA in High-A ball. Castillo's walk and strike-out numbers were even more impressive, he shrunk his walk percentage to 3.9% and increased his K/9 to 6.96. Luis Castillo reached as high as Double-A at the end of the 2016 season and there is much reason to believe that he could have an impact on the Marlins roster in 2017.
Garrett has yet to toss an inning for the Marlins in the minor leagues but still checks in as Miami's top prospect following the Marlins picking him seventh overall in the 2016 draft. The Marlins front office believes that Garrett can be a top of the rotation arm by the time he reaches the big leagues, but given the common slow development of left handed pitchers it is expected that the Marlins take their time with Garrett and don't rush him up the ranks. Garrett possesses a fastball that can reach 94 MPH and a curve ball that was ranked among the best in his draft class. Braxton Garrett is an arm the Marlins are very excited about but do not expect him to impact the team anytime soon.
The Marlins selected Kolek second overall in the 2015 draft out of Shepherd High School. With a fastball that easily touches triple digits, running up to 102 MPH, Kolek was the biggest power arm in the draft and possibly that we have ever seen come out of high school. In his first season in the Marlins system, Kolek struggled. He owned a 4.55 ERA and an unimpressive 99-74 K/BB ratio in 130 innings. For a high velocity arm, Kolek's lack of strikeouts are somewhat alarming and many scouts believe it is a result of his lack of pitchability. In other words, due to his off-the-charts velocity, Kolek was able to get away with throwing predominantly fastballs in high school and as a result he has not yet developed an off-speed pitch that can consistently get outs at the professional level.
Another fear that many scouts had was that Kolek's high velocity at such a young age would lead to arm problems. That fear became reality in April when Kolek had surgery to repair a torn UCL. Tyler Kolek's struggles in the beginning of his professional career and his injury have forced him out of the top 100 prospects but the potential is still sky high for the 20 year-old power arm from Texas. The Marlins are looking forward to getting Kolek back on the field and continuing to develop him into the star arm they believe he can be.
The Marlins selected Anderson in the third round of the 2014 draft out of Arkansas, where he hit .318 with 13 home runs and 98 RBI in three seasons with the Razorbacks. Anderson is a well rounded player who flashes a plus glove with decent speed, but it was his bat that really attracted the Marlins. While he has yet to really hit his stride in the power category in his two years with the Marlins minor league affiliates, Anderson has showed steadiness. With an ISO of .116 Anderson's power has been below average, especially for his position but his .61 BB/K ratio is encouraging and a sign of sustainability.
The Marlins are not overly concerned about Anderson's lack of power so far in the pros as he has consistently flashed raw power in batting practice, but one can only think back to a similar situation with former Marlins first round pick Colin Moran who could not find his power stroke and was ultimately traded. The Marlins are hoping that Anderson's batting practice stroke will eventually translate to when it counts.
Garcia was signed by the Marlins as a 17 year-old out of the Dominican Republic and has been in their system for six years, pitching at nearly every level. Garcia possesses a plus fastball that can reach the mid-90s and has four different pitches in his repertoire that he is comfortable throwing, which leads many scouts believe that he will miss more bats than his current sub-par 16.1 K% as he continues to develop. The 23 year-old's command is encouraging, his 6.6 BB% in Double-A paired with a solid WHIP of 1.24, show the possibility of Garcia's success to translate in the Big Leagues. Garcia's ceiling is believed to be as a back of the rotation arm and it is more than likely he will be given the opportunity to compete for a spot in the rotation come spring.
J.T. Riddle, SS: The 25 year-old prospect who is ranked 11th in the Marlins organization has been discussed as a potential replacement for Adeiny Hechaverria, should the Marlins decide to trade him for starting pitching. Riddle slashed a solid .276 in Double and Triple-A this year and flashes an above average glove at shortstop. It will be interesting to see if Riddle cracks the Marlins roster in 2017.
Stone Garrett, OF: Garrett is currently the 7th ranked prospect in the Marlins organization but possibly one of the most intriguing. At 20 years old, Garrett is considered very raw but has a wealth of untapped power and potential. While Garrett is far from making an impact on the major league level, his progress and development is worth watching.
Thomas Telis, C: Telis is a switch hitting catcher who came over to the Marlins in a trade that sent Sam Dyson to Texas. The Marlins 12th ranked prospect is a consistent contact hitter who can spray the ball all over the field. Telis boasts an over .300 career batting average in almost three seasons at the Triple-A level. Telis reached the majors briefly last season for the Fish and looked very comfortable. With Telis being blocked by J.T. Realmuto and the Marlins likely returning back-up catcher in Jeff Mathis, it will be intriguing to see what the Marlins do with Telis.