Name: Eric Marinez
Height/Weight: 6’1’’, 170
How Acquired: Signed as an international amateur free agent in Nov. 2012.
After opening a few eyes in 2016 with Vermont, Eric Marinez took a big step forward in 2017 with the Low-A Beloit Snappers. Can he continue to refine his approach and move up the ranks in the A’s middle infield depth chart?
Marinez earned some notice in 2016 when he hit .251 in the pitching-friendly New York-Penn League as a 20-year-old. The A’s liked what they saw from the switch-hitting infielder in terms of his swing, but his approach left something to be desired, as he walked only four times in 60 games played.
Marinez showed enough with the Vermont Lake Monsters in 2016 to earn a promotion to Low-A Beloit in 2017, and he quietly put together an impressive first year in a full-season league. Playing the entire season at age 21, Marinez hit .278 in 114 games. He also showed marked improvement with his approach at the plate, raising his walk rate from 1.7% in 2016 to 8.6% in 2017.
Marinez showed other gains, as well. He collected 24 extra-base hits, including a career-high three homeruns, and posted a career-best .278 batting average and .359 SLG. He was also successful in six-of-eight stolen bases.
Defensively, Marinez was inconsistent, racking up 28 errors, but he showed a strong arm and above-average hand-eye coordination.
Marinez spent his time during the A’s fall Instructional League working on strength training to improve his foot speed and quickness. He also continued to work on honing his approach at the plate.
Marinez’s solid season with Beloit came despite struggling to hit from the right side for most of the year. His .200/.286/.220 line as a right-handed hitter was significantly worse than his .303/.359/.403 line as a lefty. In 2016, however, Marinez hit better as a right-handed hitter, so it’s too soon to entertain thoughts of abandoning switch-hitting.
Thus far, Marinez hasn’t shown a lot of power. While power isn’t going to be a carrying tool for Marinez, he should see some gap power develop as he matures physically.
The native of the Dominican is an excellent athlete with quick wrists at the plate and strong hands in the field. He has one of the strongest throwing arms in the A’s system. In the past, he has drawn comparisons physically to former A’s prospect Angel Berroa. Marinez did struggle with the routine play at times with Beloit, but his actions and arm strength suggest he has a chance to stick at shortstop.
The A’s have some work to do to spread out their middle infield prospects who played in Beloit and Vermont last season, but Marinez is still a strong candidate to move up to Stockton in 2018. He played only shortstop and third base last season but has seen some time at second base in the past and could get more opportunities at second in 2018. He will be 22 throughout the 2018 regular season.
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