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House of Shlain: Up, Up and Away

Nick Shlain

Nick Shlain

Nick analyzes prospects for RotoWire and focuses on the Midwest League during the season.

In a surprise move earlier this season, the Marlins called up 22-year-old outfielder Marcell Ozuna to make his major league debut on April 30th. Ozuna, an exciting player with just 10 games above A-ball in the minors, rode a hot streak to a decent month in the big leagues before completely hitting the wall. In his last 36 games, Ozuna has posted a .197/.224/.299 line with 30 strikeouts to just four walks while also hitting into four double plays. He was sent to Double-A after the Marlins' 3-1 victory over the Rockies on Monday night and, as MLB.com's Marlins beat writer Joe Frisaro reports, the club has called up outfielders Jake Marisnick and Christian Yelich.

Marisnick and Yelich should be familiar names as both have been in the top 100 of every top 200 prospects list that Jesse Siegel and I have done this year.

Christian Yelich, OF, Marlins - Yelich was the ninth-ranked prospect in my latest rankings. He has an impact bat with some power and a swing that sprays the ball to all fields. Yelich uses his speed and ability to find gaps to get plenty of doubles and triples. I don't say this about players often, but Yelich is one that I have a feeling will be able to hit major league pitching right away. He's younger than Ozuna was at the time of his callup, but these are very different players and at least Yelich has had 48 games at Double-A and he hit well there (.277/.364/.518).

Jake Marisnick, OF, Marlins - Marisnick actually got his first taste of Double-A last season when he was still property of the Blue Jays. He hit just .233/.286/.336 in 55 games with New Hampshire, before he was traded to Toronto as part of the Blue Jays-Marlins blockbuster that included Jose Reyes and Josh Johnson, among others. Prior to that trade, his value was largely based off of his raw tools and breakout .320/.392/.496 season with Lansing in 2011. Marisnick broke his left hand after getting hit by a pitch in spring training, but he returned relatively quickly from the injury and he's been promoted after posting a .295/.357/.504 line in 66 games with Jacksonville. Marisnick is a tools machine. He's big and his swing sometime gets long, but he has power and speed on the bases. Defensively, he has plus range in center field and plus arm strength. If he can keep his swing on the shorter side, Marisnick is a potential fantasy monster.

Mike Olt, 3B, Cubs Olt was a significant piece of the return the Rangers sent over to the Cubs in the Matt Garza trade Monday. A year ago at this time it's possible the Rangers could have acquired Garza straight up for Olt, or simply scoffed at the idea of trading him altogether. Well, it's not last year anymore. Olt crushed Double-A with a .288/.398/.579 line in 95 games before getting called up to the big leagues in 2012. This year started with a ticket to Triple-A out of spring training and a problem seeing the baseball which he had corrected in early June. After the procedure, Olt hit .255/.364/.520 in 27 games with Round Rock in June showing he was back to doing what he does best. Olt is never going to blow you away with his batting average, but he will take his walks, hit for power, and play a solid third base, a major area of short term need in the Cubs' organization.

C.J. Edwards, RHP, Cubs - Edwards, a 48th-round pick in 2011, is the piece in this deal that could swing it all the way in the Cubs' favor if he can stick in a major league rotation. Edwards has been outstanding in the South Atlantic League this year as he has a 1.83 ERA in 93.1 innings over 18 starts with a 122:34 K:BB for Low-A Hickory. He's 6-foot-2, but rail thin as he's listed at 155 pounds. He's able to throw his fastball in the 92-95 mph range and his curveball and change both have the potential to be above-average pitches. Edwards has the potential makings of a nice three-pitch mix, but it really all plays off of his fastball. If he's able to command that pitch as he moves up in the minor leagues it could all fall into place for him at the back end of the Cubs' future rotation, and if not he'll find a home in the bullpen.