The Miami Marlins will look to make some major changes after an abysmal year.
Nothing seemed to go right. Manager Ozzie Guillen made all the wrong comments, key players couldn't stay healthy and the team just completely underperformed.
While it's not very likely the Marlins will be as big of spenders in the upcoming free agency as they were last offseason, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
There are several key prospects that should give Miami fans hope for the future.
The Marlins inevitable youth movement led by Giancarlo Stanton, Jacob Turner and Rob Brantly will eventually be joined by these four prospects to help bring this team back to playoff contention.
With the uncertainty of Josh Johnson, after a rather poor 2012 performance and endless trade talk rumors, the Marlins will be looking towards the future to help build their rotation.
Jose Fernandez has pitched tremendously in the minors and will be given a real shot to make the 2013 rotation. His dominant numbers in the minors—14-1 record with a 1.75 ERA—show real promise for the 2011 first-round pick.
Fernandez has a fastball that can reach the high 90s with an arrangement of other quality pitches.
Could he make the next step into the Marlins rotation next season? Joe Capozzi of The Palm Beach Post writes:
Fernandez’s rapid ascent through two low minor-league levels this season has elevated his name into front-office discussions about the composition of the Marlins’ starting rotation in 2013.
Christian Yelich looks like he is one of the better hitting prospects in the Marlins farm system. He's another former first-round pick that the Marlins are pretty high on.
Yelich has great speed and solid defensive skills with the ability to play multiple positions. Still, only at 20 years old, he must improve on multiple aspects of his game before he's promoted to the big leagues.
Sam Evans of Fish Stripes wrote the following while reviewing Yelich's 2012 minor league season:
The 2012 season was a huge year for Christian Yelich. He emerged as one of the top forty prospects in baseball, and he left no doubt he was the best player on the field no matter who Jupiter played. In 2013, Yelich will likely start in Double-A, where it will be easier for pitchers to expose his weaknesses. However, if Yelich continues to progress at the rate he did in 2012, he should be in Miami by the end of next season.
The Miami Marlins selected Heaney with the ninth overall selection in this year's draft. The common term surrounding Heaney is "pitchability," in which Heaney has a solid delivery and throws multiple pitches very well.
The lefty pitched very well at Oklahoma State and could move up within the system at a faster rate than most due to his college experience.
Heaney's report on the 2012 Prospect Watch featured on MLB.com gives solid insight to his abilities:
He uses it to throw three solid-average or better pitches. Heaney can run his fastball up to 93 mph, plenty for a lefty, and maintains it deep into starts. His curve is outstanding, a true out pitch, and his changeup has deception and sink. He has plus pitchability, throwing all three pitches for strikes and mixing them well.
Ever since the Hanley Ramirez switch to 3B experiment went sour, the Marlins began the search to fill the void in the infield next to Jose Reyes.
The Marlins acquired Cox at the trade deadline when the team traded away reliever Edward Mujica.
He was scouted as one of the best hitters of his draft class, but has struggled to stay consistent in the minors. Cox has tremendous upside and could be a the player for the future for Miami at 3B if he can develop and live up to his expectations.
Cox was thought to be the type who would continue to hit over .300 and maybe even compete for batting titles, but that—along with how much power he’ll develop—is unclear now.