With the recent dealings of Andrew Heaney, Brian Flynn, and Anthony DeSclafani, the Marlins cupboard would appear to be bare. That is certainly not the case.
For most major league clubs, sending away three starting pitching prospects would leave a huge void in talent. Yet the Marlins remain filled with several key pitching prospects and none more tantalizing than the #2 pick, Tyler Kolek.
Currently targeted as the Marlins’ top prospect in their system, and ranked #23 overall with MLB’s rating system, Kolek sports a fastball that routinely gets up to triple digits. He has the frame to deliver such punishing velocity but also to endure the grind it would take on most pitchers. He has a downhill motion, which any scout wants to see in their hurlers, and Kolek has the making of a power pitcher who could fit nicely at the top of their rotation.
Think of Kolek as insurance for Jose Fernandez who, despite a targeted mid-2015 return, is still Scott Boras’ client. Most likely an extension will not be signed by Fernandez who will be advised to go into free agency when he is available to do so and also wait until the very latest to get the money he wants.
That said, the Marlins can wait and be more patient with Kolek than they may have been with their high school prospects in the past. Josh Beckett was a player that was ready for the prime time and could be rushed. Kolek has the ability but will need more refinement on his other pitches if he is to avoid being a sideshow freak who throws in the 100s but can’t get big league hitters out. In his first professional season, hitters hit .275 against him in 22.0 IP while getting 18 Ks vs. 13 BBs. It is fair to say his 2018 arrival date is fairly secure.