Miami Adds Top Prospects to Outfield Mix

The Miami Marlins organization made a bold move on Monday night when it was announced that outfield prospects Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick were promoted from Double-A to the big league squad. In return, 2013 rookies Derek Dietrich, an infielder, and Marcell Ozuna, an outfielder, were returned to the minor leagues. Interestingly, Ozuna checks in with the highest WAR (1.9) of any Marlins hitter in 2013. On the recent Top 50 prospects list at FanGraphs, Yelich came in 12th overall, while Marisnick checked in at 46.

The two rookies will join young slugging right-fielder Giancarlo Stanton to provide the club with an impressive core to (hopefully) build around for the future. The addition of Yelich and Marisnick could quickly give the Marlins one of the best defensive outfields in the game despite Stanton’s struggles in 2013. Both Justin Ruggiano and Juan Pierre could be relegated to back-up roles, or shopped on the open market.

Yelich, 21, entered 2013 ranked as the Marlins’ second-best prospect behind Cuban right-hander Jose Fernandez on Miami’s Top 15 prospects list at FanGraphs. He’s more than capable of playing center-field but will likely play left field in deference to Marisnick. At the plate, Yelich shows a beautiful left-handed swing that should allow him to maintain a strong batting average at the big league level and perhaps chase some batting titles down the road.

At 6-foor-4 and with good bat speed, the California native projects to develop at least average power for a left-fielder but he’s currently more of a line-drive, doubles hitter. Yelich also has good speed which helps him a lot in the field and on the base paths but he may not be a huge base stealer in the Majors. Although he has both a 30-plus and 20-plus stolen base season under his belt, Yelich has struggled to stay healthy so he may remain tethered to the bag more often in an effort to cut down on wear and tear.

Marisnick began the year ranked fifth on the Marlins top prospects list. He entered the organization last November during the Jose Reyes trade with the Toronto Blue Jays and he joins catcher Jeff Mathis, shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria and pitcher Henderson Alvarez as the fourth member of the deal to play at the big league level for The Fish. Veteran shortstop Yunel Escobar also came over in the deal but he was later flipped to Tampa Bay for Dietrich.

Marisnick, 22, can already provide above-average big league defense thanks to excellent range, good reads and a strong arm. He makes tough plays look easy. His speed helps him both in the field and on the bases where he could nab more than 20 bases in a full season. However, the young hitter has a lot growing still to do at the plate.

He needs to be more selective at the plate and choosing better pitches to drive could help both his power output and his batting average. He’s also still getting comfortable with his hitting mechanics and the Jays organization tried to rework his swing on more than one occasion. With his speed, Marisnick could be a top-of-the-order hitter but his reliance on his batting average for his on-base percentage (due to his low walk rates) could become problematic as his minor league strikeout rates of 17-22% could impact his ability to hit more than .240-.260.

Of the two prospects, Yelich should come out of the gate more quickly with his reliable bat. The toolsy Marisnick could struggle early because of the issues noted above, but arguably he has a higher ceiling if everything clicks and he becomes a four- or five-tool player. He could probably use another 300 to 400 at-bats in the minor leagues to help further iron out his offensive wrinkles but his outfield defense could save quite a few runs for the Marlins.

For more on Marisnick, read his Q&A with David Laurila from November.



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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects, depth charts and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.


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Steve
Guest
Steve
3 years 6 days ago

I’m just not high on either one of them. They strike out once every 4 ABs. Defense is grand and all, but Brendan Ryan lost his job and Miller hit 2 bombs a few nights ago. Not sure they were ready

Mucho
Guest
Mucho
2 years 11 months ago

Yelich also walks at a pretty good clip. And he’s 21 years old!

jruby
Member
Member
jruby
3 years 6 days ago

“…despite the Stanton’s struggles…”

The Stanton. That’s a good nickname for him.

I’m gonna start calling him that. Some guys have cute nicknames. He’s just The Stanton.

Canucklesndwch
Guest
Canucklesndwch
3 years 6 days ago

Stantonio Holmes?

Balthazar
Guest
Balthazar
3 years 5 days ago

Djanco El Stanton. Needs to be unchained from inhuman bondage in the cane fields.

Steve
Guest
Steve
3 years 6 days ago

Ozuna just going down to play RF again to get ready for next year? Or now that they realize he is good, trying to lessen service time?

Jayjay
Guest
Jayjay
3 years 6 days ago

Ozuna should not have been in the big leagues this season until September. The last couple months have shown that he’s just not ready, which isn’t a surprise considering he had all of 47 plate appearances above A-ball before his promotion.

Mat
Guest
Mat
3 years 6 days ago

I believe it is El Stanton…not The Stanton.

MustBunique
Member
Member
3 years 6 days ago

Wouldn’t that depend on how Michael/Giancarlo feels at the moment?

chri521
Member
3 years 6 days ago

It sounds like a Chris Young and David DeJesus all over again!

Tracker Maker
Guest
Tracker Maker
3 years 6 days ago

Would the demotion of Ozuna for what I can only imagine is financial reasons worthy of action from the MLBPA?

Alexander Nevermind
Guest
Alexander Nevermind
3 years 6 days ago

If you just see his WAR, then yes it looks like it could only be financially motivated. But it would behoove you to dig a little deeper. His bat has completely dropped off (132 wRC+ in May, 86 in June, 30 in July), most of his value comes from a SSS UZR-rating, and he received only 47 PAs above A+ before being called up. There are more than enough reasons to send him down for more seasoning.

Paul
Guest
Paul
3 years 6 days ago

For all the beatings they take, I like what they’re doing. I think Yelich is certainly ready to see how he’ll handle the jump, not so much on Marinsick. They have a lot more high end prospects than other rebuilding teams that they can just throw into the jumble and see who comes out of the competition the winners. Love this approach for a re-building team. Not sure why the Astros, who have sort of been doing this, have not brought up Springer yet.

Matt
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Matt
3 years 6 days ago

Good point: both Springer and Singleton could use a month or two in the show to see how ready they are heading into 2014.

Aaron
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Aaron
3 years 6 days ago

What’s the point of bringing up guys at this point of the season? Doesn’t the arbitration clock start ticking, and wouldn’t it be better to just wait until next season and let them develop more in the minors? The Marlins are going nowhere this year anyway, so wouldn’t it make more sense to just start them next year on a clean slate?

Joe Marlin
Guest
Joe Marlin
3 years 6 days ago

As long as they don’t qualy for Super-2, which they shouldn’t, then it’s pretty harmless to have them up.

Paul
Guest
Paul
3 years 5 days ago

What he said about being past Super 2 status.

And regarding the “let them develop” take, that’s sort of the point. That’s pretty much traditional and hard to say that it works. In other words, do Rays players succeed because of all the “seasoning,” or because they are good players who are just as capable of making adjustments at 24 as they would have been at 22? The only difference would be that instead of getting beat up at the MLB level as they learn and adjust, they dominate in the minors and learn nothing at all about the adjustments they will eventually need to make regardless.

Balthazar
Guest
Balthazar
3 years 5 days ago

An option on the player gets burned calling them up now. That shouldn’t matter much, since Miami’s approach seems to be throw them in the Big Pond and let them thrash around until they either swim pretty good or get shipped out for the long-term.

Pirates Hurdles
Guest
Pirates Hurdles
3 years 5 days ago

If they were on the 40 man already then the option was already burned at the end of spring training when they were optioned to AA.

Ivan Grushenko
Guest
Ivan Grushenko
3 years 5 days ago

I like the moves. The players get a taste of the majors and learn what they need to do to succeed at that level. Then they go back down and work on what they need to work on in a low pressure environment.

FeslenR
Guest
FeslenR
3 years 5 days ago

Marlins rushing their top prospects again…don’t they have more Justin Ruggianos waiting/rotting in AAA?

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