The AL West has done a pretty good job of defying prediction...
Resetting the Miami Marlins Pitching Situation
The Miami Marlins were perhaps the most discussed organization of 2012. Between their new stadium with those lime green walls and monstrosity in Left-Center Field, new signings, loud manager, last place finish, and subsequent selloff that shook the Miami political system, the Marlins have been an interesting team. Their unorthodox approach has been present since their inception with the initial firesale following their 1997 World Series title. The owner Jeffrey Loria has been described as cheap, dirty, and limicolous (living in mud). The guy who runs Fish Stripes, the Marlins SB Nation affiliate, has called for a full boycott of the 2013 season. “You should support the Marlins in any way that would still keep you from spending a dime on this team and giving it to Loria.” He’s not going to buy a ticket or new apparel. You shouldn’t either. But, you shouldn’t treat the Marlins like that fling you had with your best friends’ gril that you constantly try and try to forget.. The Marlins will win games again eventually. They’ll win at least 60 games in 2013, and could very well mess up some contender in September.
Giancarlo Stanton has been the topic of more than one post like this, where he’s fake traded for a haul of prospects (I did one back in September). It seems like everyone of those trade posts has some great pitching prospect headed towards South Beach. The problem is that I’m not so sure the Marlins need more pitching prospects. Make no mistake; their rotation in 2013 will not be good. But, after their recent slew of trades and their draft strategy over the past two drafts, the lower levels of their farm system are overflowing with promising guys on the mound. Check it out (these are all guys currently in the Marlins system):
- Chad James, LHP, 21, Fastball up to 94, repeated high-A last year saw ERA rise from 3.80 to 4.87
- Jose Fernandez, RHP, 20, first round pick in 2011, Fastball up to 96, 1.75 ERA across 134 A-ball innings, with a 10.6 K/9 and .925 WhIP.
- Andrew Heaney, 21 year old LHP, first round pick out of Oklahoma State (9th overall last summer)
- Mason Hope, RHP, 20, 2.90 ERA in 71 low-A innings
- Jacob Turner, RHP, 21, 3.38 ERA for Miami last year in 7 starts
- Nate Eovaldi, RHP, 22, 4.15 ERA over 28 career starts
- Scott McGough, RHP, 23, From our friend Mark over at BPN:
McGough was drafted out of Oregon in 2011 and he had moved quickly through the Dodgers system, spending this year at High-A. I have spoken to some scouts that believe McGough could get outs in the big leagues right now. He has a fastball that ranges from 91-97 mph with the ability to manipulate the velocity at will. His slider occasionally shows plus potential and could be a second very nice pitch, leaving him with setup potential.
- Justin Nicolino, LHP, 21 years old. The basic scouting report on Nicolino is as follows: The kid can flat out pitch with FB/CH combo that make him a likely candidate to pitch in the middle of a rotation for a long time. The fastball sits around 93 mph.
So, if you’re counting, and I am, that’s 8 potential pitching prospects to be excited about that all show some promise. All of them are 21 or under, except for McGough. Throw in that they appear to have an abundance of infielders without any pop in their system and a ballpark that proved stingy with the homerun in 2012 and the Marlins long term plan becomes obvious. In an industry that overpays for the long ball and devalues pitching, the Marlins are hoping to become a team that will win with pitching and defensive whiz kids. It’s an unpopular strategy, but one that has helped the San Francisco Giants for some time now.
Do not be mistaken: 2013 is a very important year for the Miami Marlins organization. Just not on the Major League level. If these kids continue to develop and take those steps toward the Majors, the Marlins will quickly be in an enviable position.
Video of the day: