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The Miami Marlins go into 2013 with pretty low expectations, but the one plus side to the deals they have done is that they now have quite a few interesting prospects in their system. While a lot of them will receive very little playing time at the MLB level in 2013, this season is more about developing the young talent than trying to compete for a World Series at the highest level. Here are three of the best prospects currently in the system, with a general overview on each one as far as what to expect in 2013 and beyond.
The outfielder had an outstanding 2012 season, when he his .329/.402/.516 with 12 home runs, 48 RBI and 20 stolen bases. He dominated the Florida State League, showing great poise at the plate despite being just 20 years old.
While it seems unlikely that he can go from Single-A to the majors this season, the Marlins seem to be grooming him to be ready by this time next year. Look for him to get extensive play at multiple levels this year to prove that he has everything figured out. He is in center for now, but he can move to a corner position if needed.
Teaming up with Yelich last season in Jupiter, Jose Fernandez had a truly great season statistically speaking. The right-hander went 14-1 with a 1.75 ERA and 158 strikeouts in 134 innings pitched. His unique arm angle (slightly lower than three-quarters) and solid velocity makes him extra tough on right-handed hitters.
While Fernandez mostly made due with a fastball and two breaking pitches, a changeup will need to be developed for him to make that next step. Due to that, he too will most likely spend all of 2013 in the minor leagues. The Marlins will more than likely have no reason to rush him up, so working on the changeup and repeating his success at higher levels will be the goal this year.
Nicolino might not have the stuff that most top-flight pitching prospects have, but he has great control and a knack for throwing multiple pitches for strikes. For that reason, he is the most likely candidate to make his MLB debut in 2013, but injuries will have to occur to open up a spot for him.
The changeup of Nicolino is something that makes him a legitimate pitching prospect and one to keep an eye on for fantasy baseball 2013. He gets a ton of swings and misses on the pitch, and his deception makes it one of the toughest pitches in baseball.