With Opening Day mere weeks away, we will kick off a new series today called MLB Organizational Rankings. All thirty teams will be ranked, starting from the least advantageous position an organization finds themselves in, taking into account the health of both their MLB roster, their minor league system, and even extenuating factors such as financial spending power, meddling ownership, etc. So to kick things off, let’s talk about the Miami Marlins.
Miami Marlins – Organizational Rank: 30 out of 30
As we all know, the Marlins 2018 MLB roster is going to lose among the very most games in baseball, and will most likely challenge for the 1-1 spot in the 2019 Amateur Draft. First, let’s discuss their current Major League assets, including players that could soon have value as trade bait.
JT Realmuto– With a 4-5 WAR catcher in tow at the thinnest position in baseball, Realmuto will most likely find himself in another organization by this time next year. Realmuto has hit for average for two full seasons, is still only 26, and provides both average pop and above average baserunning skills for his position. Last year, he finally ranked highly in defensive, including framing, metrics, which had been a problem for him, both in his rookie year and as a minor leaguer. While the Marlins could not pry loose Juan Soto or Victor Robles from the Nationals in trade talks, they could apparently revisit talks with the Nationals for a package centering around Carter Kieboom, who in addition to the 80-grade baseball name, would become the Marlins shortstop of the future.
Starlin Castro, Martin Prado, Justin Bour, Derek Deitrich– The Marlins will round out much of their lineup with four established MLB quality hitters. All figure to be available in the continued fire-sale. Justin Bour has defied expectations put on his hit tool, and though he is 1B only, his game power has played enough over the past two seasons in a home ballpark that suppresses power to make him a plus asset. Starlin Castro is going to be Don Mattingly’s third-place hitter he says, where he will have ample protection to put his hitting tools to use. Martin Prado is known to have great intangibles that winning ballclubs could look to add at this year’s deadline if he proves he is healthy and hitting .300 as he is wont to do. Meanwhile, look for Deitrich, who will attempt to show he can play both a capable corner outfield as well as second base, to surprise with what he can do with everyday at-bats.
Veteran Arms– Look for the Marlins to continue to swap veteran assets for youth, and the bullpen is exactly where buyers look to add at the deadline. Junichi Tazawa, Brad Ziegler, Kyle Barraclough, and even Dan Straily and Adam Conley are all veteran arms that the Marlins will look to extrapolate more long-term value out of. Except for Straily, all have to prove their performance level first, as they are coming off of subpar seasons.
Minor League Talent– Even though Lewis Brinson will stand a great chance to spend a large majority of his 2018 season in the Majors, I list him here as he is more of a long-term asset with little accrued service time. Along with interesting speedsters Magneuris Sierra (came over in the Ozuna trade) and Braxton Lee, the Marlins boast great athleticism in their near MLB-ready outfield depth. While Monte Harrison (came over in the Yelich trade) is further behind developmentally, his upside is future above-average regular. Do not expect all four to pan out, as all have potential warts to their offensive game, but the Marlins stand a good chance to fetch two everyday players from this bunch.
Brian Anderson will man the hot corner at Marlins Park, once Prado finds a new home. Anderson boasts a steady glove, good contact skills, and potential for slightly above average power, or just enough to profile as an everyday regular at third base. After Anderson, most of the talent left in the minor league system is high upside, high-risk arms: Jorge Guzman throws 100 mph, flashes plus secondaries, but needs to taste full season ball this year (netted in the Stanton trade), Sandy Alcantra also can sniff trip-dig’s and his curve flashes plus but can be inconsistent and needs to show better command (again, part of the Ozuna trade), Zac Gallen will likely pitch at the back of an MLB rotation, and Merandy Gonzalez (aquired for AJ Ramos last summer) throws strikes with a low-mid 90’s heater and an average array of offspeed offerings. Meanwhile draft arms Braxton Garrett and Trevor Rogers were acquired with their most recent 1st round draft picks each of the last two Junes. Both were drafted out of the high school ranks and boast nice potential coming from the left-side of the rubber. Clearly, the Marlins have the makings of a very impressive young collection of arms.
The new ownership group under Derek Jeter needs to be given a much longer leash, despite some bad publicity this offseason, as the Marlins attempt to climb far out of the last spot on these organizational rankings. Luckily, the Marlins have a solid presence in scouting amateur talent in Latin America, and have been linked to some names for the upcoming J2 period. If President of Baseball Ops, Mike Hill can continue to cash in on his remaining veteran assets, and the Marlins can use their upcoming large draft pool allotments wisely, the Marlins will come out of what looks to be something like a 5 year plan in excellent shape.