Fernandez ranked among the major league leaders in numerous statistical categories, including first in opponents’ batting average (.182) and hits allowed per nine innings (5.8 H/9), fourth in WHIP (0.98) and fifth in strikeouts per nine innings (9.75 K/9). Fernandez’s 2.19 ERA was the second-best mark in the major leagues as well as the lowest by a rookie starter in either league since 1970.
On the other side of the ball, Christian Yelich, 22, emerged as one of the best young hitters in the game following a call-up in late July, as the sweet-swinging left-handed hitter posted a .288/.370/.396 batting line and 116 wRC+ in 273 plate appearances, per FanGraphs.
Down on the farm, the Marlins have one of the deepest collections of left-handed pitching prospects in baseball, with four young hurlers who have already experienced success at or above the Double-A level. While top prospect Andrew Heaney has the realistic upside of a No. 3 starter, the team’s other southpaws—Justin Nicolino, Adam Conley and Brian Flynn—are better-suited for a role in the back of a rotation.
The system didn’t have a lot of power to begin with before the graduation of Yelich to the major leagues. So, replacing Yelich as the team’s top position prospect on this year’s list is fellow outfielder Jake Marisnick, who was rushed from Double-A to the major leagues last season, where he struggled to control the speed of the game. However, 2013 first-round pick (No. 6 overall) Colin Moran isn't far behind Marisnick, and he's the safe bet to rank as the organization's top position prospect at this time next year.
One prospect to keep an eye on in 2014 is catcher J.T. Realmuto. The 2010 third-round draft pick is an excellent athlete with the catch-and-throw skills to at least serve as a major league backup at maturity, and his bat-to-ball ability and contact rates suggest the bat could be a late-bloomer.
Here’s a look at the Miami Marlins’ top 10 prospects for the 2014 season.