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Justin Twine: Marlin on the Rise

The infielder aims for a breakthrough after several years of stalled progress.

Photo by Rob Brown/Greensboro News & Record

Justin Twine, our #50 ranked Marlins prospect, will enter the 2018 season trying to make the leap from Single-A and to prove himself in a fluid and rebuilding Marlins farm system.

Twine, a 5-foot-11 middle infielder originally from Falls City, Texas, was drafted out of high school in the second round (43rd overall) of the 2014 draft. In high school, he was ranked as the 93rd best player in the US for his class by Perfect Game, largely due to a 6.52 second 60-time, and an 89 mph infield arm. Justin turned down a spot at college baseball powerhouse TCU to go pro, as did classmate Tyler Kolek, who the Fish drafted in the first round that same year.

After starting in rookie ball after the draft, Justin has played the past three seasons with Single-A Greensboro before being promoted to High-A Jupiter in the second half of 2017.

Initially seen as a base-stealer and solid shortstop prospect, Twine struggled at the plate in his first several years in the minors before being moved to second base in 2016 for Greensboro.

Photo by Rob Brown/Greensboro News & Record

Twine is entering his fifth year in pro ball, and has several things to prove. First of all, he hasn’t been very productive offensively. In his minor league career, he has hit .220 with a .268 OBP and a .587 OPS.

Splitting time between Greensboro and Jupiter in 2017, he produced a slash line of .204/.259/.561, which one has to consider a disappointment.

Given his speed, another disappointing aspect to Twine’s game to date has been his lack of stolen bases. He has stolen 28 bases in his career, while being caught 14 times (67% success rate). He was 7-for-10 in stolen base attempts in 2017.

On the positive side, Twine has hit .260 over his career against right-handed pitchers. In 2017, after being promoted to High-A, he went from hitting only .185 in 66 games with Greensboro to .242 in 32 games with Jupiter.

From a fielding perspective, the move from shortstop seems to have helped as well. After 29 errors in 117 games during 2015, Twine is avoiding mistakes—just 6.5 errors per year over the past two years—while playing mostly at second base.

Overall, Twine still has a lot of upside if he can put his offensive game together. He needs to hit for a higher average, get on base more, and steal more bases to fulfill his second-round potential. It’s not too late for this promising middle infielder to make the leap, but 2018 will clearly be a pivotal year for his future in the organization.