Rated as high as Miami’s #1 prospect, Stone Garrett is the week’s focus prospect. Garrett was the Miami Marlin’s 8th-round pick selected out of high school in the 2014 draft. He was drafted as a center fielder, but may project more so as a left fielder as his arm strength holds him back. His athleticism and potential alone had him threatening a 1st-round selection, however his antithetical raw and unpredictable abilities is what scared teams to the 8th round.
Garrett’s first impression was far from inspiring. He hit to a line of .236/.269/.270 with only four stolen bases and no home runs in 148 at-bats at the Gulf Coast League. Raw or not, a .269 OBP and .270 SLG is remarkably low, but easy to improve upon. Garrett spent the following season in the New York Penn League with the Batavia Muckdogs. Not only did he improve upon those dreadful numbers, he blew them out of the water. Garrett slashed .297/.352/.581 in 222 at-bats. He drove in 46 runs and led the league with 11 homers. Although he still struggled on the basepaths (caught stealing 8 times out of 13 attempts), Garrett flashed the tool in which scouts were so optimistic, that tool being POWER. Something must have clicked for Garrett as the comparison of his first two professional seasons were night and day.
The 20-year-old is currently at Single-A Greensboro. He’s only played in 35 games. An unfortunate prank gone wrong involving a knife and fellow top prospect Josh Naylor has sidelined Garrett since June 1st. He’s posted average numbers in his 35 games. A .244 average is a bit low, but his power numbers were certainly competitive with 5 home runs and a .450 SLG.
Garrett will need to endure as many at-bats as possible in order to facilitate his growth. He’s one of those players who was drafted purely on build and athleticism, a risk with high reward if he pays off. The primary objective for Garrett at the start of his professional career was igniting his power. His swing out of high school was quick, however involved very little use of his lower half. The Marlins took to it to fix this mechanical problem early, and as mentioned earlier, Garrett has added good pop to his swing.
The current issue at hand is Garrett’s high strikeout rate. He has struck out 47 times in 131 at-bats this year, a strikeout rate of 36%. That is way too high for someone with his speed. His pitch recognition will need to improve, but that goes back to his need for as many plate appearances as possible. The more at-bats he has, the more he gets on base, and the more comfortable he gets on the basepaths.
In accordance with the majority of Marlin’s premier prospects, Garrett is very young and very raw. His ceiling may be as high as any Miami prospect, but he’s also furthest away from touching that ceiling. The Marlins are going to want to see Garrett become a more disciplined hitter and improve upon his batting average and OBP. The stolen bases will come with opportunity on the bases. Miami’s big league outfield is young and under control, thus the team will take their time with Stone Garrett, a major league arrival likely won’t come until 2019. The ultimate hope is that he someday maximizes his abilities, as for now, he is too early in the process to pin any worldly expectations.