Even for the Miami Marlins, sometimes early might just be too early.
Just ask Jake Marisnick, the top outfield prospect formerly of the Toronto Blue Jays organization who came by way of the teams’ big offseason trade. Coming up at the same time as top prospect Christian Yelich, the 22-year old seems destined to be locked in a comparison game with his younger outfield compatriot, though it’s not exactly a fair contest.
Namely, there’s simply a talent gap between the two that is being very clearly demonstrated.
Where Yelich is starting to heat up in August and finding his groove (.326/.354/.457 over 46 at-bats), Marisnick has continued to struggle with the MLB learning curve. It did at one point seem like things wouldn’t stay south, however, as he did manage a string of getting hits in six of eight games towards the end of July into the beginning of August, including a three-hit performance against the Cleveland Indians on August 2.
It should have been Marisnick’s coming out party; instead, it was there that he peaked.
Since that impressive game, the youngster has collected just three total hits. That’s across his last eight games, with none of them being doubles. Worse, he has not drawn a single walk over 36 at-bats in the month, giving him very poor .167/.167/.194 with his most eye-popping number being 12 strikeouts over 37 PA — good for a 32.4 percent K rate.
That, folks, looks a whole lot like a 22-year-old rookie who is lost, flailing away into oblivion and popping up pitches at an incredible 21.1 percent of the time.
And the part about his speed tool? Well, he just doesn’t get on base enough to show any of it right now. At -0.4 fWAR after only 19 games and 71 PA, it should be abundantly clear to most franchises that Marisnick might just need a little more seasoning in the minors before things spiral out of control.
That is unlikely to happen, though. Not in Miami where, for better or worse, he’ll have to work though his slump like any other big-leaguer would.
For a player like Marisnick who is expected to be a major part of the team’s future, this can be both a blessing and a curse; and while the he’s definitely being burned with the trail by fire at the moment, there is the potential that he could come out of it with a flourish in September and really start to establish himself against big league pitching. That, or it could set his development back significantly as a result of being rushed …
It’s a game of prospect Russian roulette that the Marlins are playing these days, and fans can only hope that it doesn’t end up jeopardizing what is starting to look like bright-ish future.