With more established veterans like Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle on the Major League roster, there is less urgency to rush players through the ranks. So a number of Miami prospects will have more time to develop in the Minor Leagues.
Matt Dominguez, ranked 86th on MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects list, can now focus on improving his hitting at Triple-A New Orleans, without thinking about winning a big league spot.
Miami's top rated young talent, left-handed-hitting outfielder Christian Yelich (No. 35 overall prospect), makes the jump to advanced Class A Jupiter after he was part of Greensboro's South Atlantic League championship squad.
where to watch
|2||Matt Dominguez||New Orleans||AAA|
|10||Jesus Solorzano||Extended ST|
|11||Kevin Mattison||New Orleans||AAA|
|14||Jose Ceda||Disabled List|
|20||Dan Jennings||New Orleans||AAA|
"I think we had a good Spring Training," said Marty Scott, Miami's first-year vice president of player development. "Guys have worked hard. I think we're going to have more depth. We don't need to rush anybody."
With the Minor League season getting under way, fans can keep track of the Marlins' top prospects throughout the year on Prospect Watch. And get scores, stats, news, schedules, tickets and more for all of the Marlins' Minor League teams on the Marlins' affiliates page.
What's impressed the Marlins' evaluators, who've been active on the back fields at the Roger Dean Stadium complex, is the depth of pitching.
"If we've had an overall strength, I think it's been our good young arms," Scott said. "And you've got some position players, key position players to add a little depth to the organization, but not necessarily to every level. There are some holes to fill."
In his first year overseeing the system, Scott is pleased with the quality of play on the field, as well as the organization of the Minor League department. Director of player development Brian Chattin has the camp extremely well organized, and the coaching staffs have implemented a program that the players have bought into.
"There are some good people over here," Scott said. "I think they're a good bunch. They take pride in their work. They take pride with the kids. I can see the relationships they've developed, and how much the players respect what they're trying to teach. That's a good thing.
"I'm not going to make drastic changes. I'm letting them work. Let them feel good about themselves and not micromanage. If there is something we need to address, we address it."
The Marlins' system was thinned in recent years with the promotions to the big leagues of such players as Logan Morrison, Gaby Sanchez and Giancarlo Stanton.
Now, the system is retooling. Much of the elite talent is at the lower levels.
In the meantime, depth and quality is being added to Double-A Jacksonville and Triple-A New Orleans.
"To get anything accomplished here in player development, and get guys to the big leagues, it's going to be a 'We Thing,' " Scott said. "It's going to take everybody doing their job. We've got some guys at Triple-A who can protect us in case there were injuries at the Major League level."
The Class A Advanced Jupiter Hammerheads are expected to have a strong year because a majority of their players are being promoted from the low Class A Greensboro squad that won the South Atlantic League title in 2011.
Yelich, outfielder Marcell Ozuna and catcher J.T. Realmuto, the first, fifth and sixth-rated prospects in Miami's system, respectively, are all opening at Jupiter.
"They've played together, and they've won together," Scott said. "I think winning is part of player development. Consequently, with their championship last year, maybe they can do the same thing this year."
Debuts and Draftees
Hard-throwing right-hander, Jose Fernandez, a first-round pick last year, is making the leap from high school to professional ball. Fernandez is Miami's No. 3 ranked prospect, and he moves up the ladder, starting at the lower Class A level.
New Kids on the Block
Right-handed reliever Evan Reed was acquired from the Rangers in 2010 as part of the Jorge Cantu trade to Texas. But Reed suffered an elbow injury shortly after the trade, and he underwent Tommy John surgery. Now healthy, Reed is starting off in a setup role at Jacksonville.
The hard-throwing right-hander has a chance to make the leap to the big leagues this season.
"He has a chance to be a very good big league pitcher," Scott said.
Teams on TV
The New Orleans Zephyrs are among a growing number of teams whose games are available on MiLB.TV. The 2012 MiLB.TV package will include more than 2,500 Minor League games streamed live, as well as games archived for on-demand streaming soon after completion.
The Zephyrs feature Dominguez at third base, as well as a number of players who have had big league experience, like outfielder Scott Cousins.