Florida Marlins: Power Ranking 5 Prospects Poised for a Major League Call-Up

James Bondman@@james_bondmanCorrespondent IJuly 28, 2011

Florida Marlins: Power Ranking 5 Prospects Poised for a Major League Call-Up

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    At the start of the season, Baseball America ranked the Marlins minor league farm system 29th in the major leagues, besting only the Milwaukee Brewers.

    The scouting department hasn't declined but rather the low rating has been because of the recent call-ups of Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison last season, and establishment of other players such as Gaby Sanchez and Chris Coghlan.

    Nevertheless, the Marlins still have talent which, aside from the ranking, revolves around a couple of players who might figure to be up with the Marlins within the next couple of seasons. 

    Here are the five hot prospects (players who haven't been in the major leagues yet) who are poised to be up with the Marlins as early next season, when the franchise moves into a new stadium under a new name and uniform.

5. Marcell Ozuna

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    Expected Time of Arrival: 2014

    Statistics: .239/.304/.429, 15 home runs, 50 RBI, 11 stolen bases (94 games)

    Level: Low-A Greensboro

    Ozuna's prognosis in being up with the Marlins would seem to be in doubt because he is essentially blocked. Logan Morrison mans left field, Mike Stanton mans right field and Christian Yelich is in line to move to center field if he gets brought up. 

    Nevertheless, Ozuna is a power bat with run-producing ability who could be an asset trade-wise for the Marlins down the line.

    Because of all the blockage, Ozuna would be delayed to a 2014 call-up, but if he is traded he could be up by 2013.  

4. Matt Dominguez

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    Expected Time of Arrival: September 2011

    Statistics: .250/.309/.428, 9 home runs, 43 RBI (62 games) 

    Level: Triple-A New Orleans 

    Dominguez missed an early part of the season because of an elbow injury which halted any possible call-up midseason.

    Dominguez is being primed as the Marlins' third baseman of the future and many have raved about his ability to potentially become a Gold Glove caliber player at the hot corner.

    However, the question with Dominguez has always been whether he can hit well enough for the glove to really mean something at the major league level.

    After starting off with a .239/.303/.394 clip with six home runs before the All-Star break, Dominguez has improved with a .286/.328/.536 clip with three home runs and 11 RBI in 13 games since.

    But one thing the blue eyed Matt Dominguez will have to do is improve his day/night splits, which stand at .073 when the sun is out (3 for 41) and .287 (56 for 195) in the dark. Thankfully, that shouldn't be a problem with a retractable roof next season. 

3. Chad James

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    Expected Time of Arrival: 2013 

    Statistics: 3-13, 3.38 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 99 strikeouts, 119 2/3 innings, (21 starts)

    Level: High-A Jupiter

    Chad James was the Marlins' 2009 first-round draft pick and is expected to be one of their future aces as he was rated the 78th best prospect by Baseball America at the start of the season. 

    Going into a new ballpark next season, the Marlins might look to have a veteran starter or two round out their rotation. So barring injury, James is slated for a debut in 2013. 

    While the win-loss record is not perfect, his numbers are just about on par with another ace who pitched for Jupiter, Josh Johnson. 

    Back in 2004, Johnson was 5-12 (22 starts) with a 3.46 ERA, 1.50 WHIP and 103 strikeouts in 114.1 innings for the Hammerheads. He could be best compared as perhaps a southpaw version of Josh Johnson.

    Those comparisons may be quite high but it's where his ceiling can be when the Marlins call him up.  

2. Kyle Jensen

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    Expected Time of Arrival: Late 2012

    Statistics: .322/.395/.565, 21 home runs, 64 RBI (94 games)

    Level: High-A Jupiter

    Out of all the Marlins' prospects, Jensen is perhaps the most intriguing of them all. Why? Jensen wasn't any of the early season top prospect rankings, not on Baseball America, and nowhere to be mentioned on SB Nation's minor league ball list of top 20 prospects. 

    This is all despite Jensen's 2010 numbers in which he had a solid .272 average with 18 home runs and 86 RBI at Low-A Greensboro. 

    Jensen is currently at High Class-A Jupiter and is ahead of Christian Yelich on the minor league ladder, but what makes his call-up interesting is where he will play if he indeed proofs as advertised.

    With Yelich seemingly aligned for center field, there is a possibility that the Marlins might have to deal prospects (which they rarely do) such as Jensen in order to improve in other areas down the road.

    But if a player like Dominguez can't hit, Jensen could find a home at third base for his bat to come into play with the Marlins.   

1. Christian Yelich

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    Expected Time of Arrival: 2013

    Statistics: .299/.375/.461, 10 home runs, 54 RBI, 26 stolen bases (88 games)

    Level: Low-A Greensboro 

    Yelich was the Marlins' first-round draft pick in 2010 and based on the current alignment of the Marlins with Logan Morrison and Mike Stanton manning the corner outfield spots, Yelich is expected to be the franchise's center fielder of the future. 

    Based on his numbers, stature and still flourishing power, an argument can be made that he is a left-handed version of the Astros' Hunter Pence.

    Yelich has improved in every month at low A Greensboro, .256 in April, .264 in May, .320 in June and now .361 in July. Yelich has also shown he can hit southpaws (.295) and right-handers (.301) about equally. 

    Next year, Yelich could make the rounds with High-A Jupiter and Double-A Jacksonville before most likely making his debut in 2013.