By Roger Hoover / Jacksonville Suns
JACKSONVILLE – Three former Jacksonville Suns were listed among baseball’s Top 100 Prospects according to MLB.com, announced by the website on Thursday evening.
Left-handed pitcher Andrew Heaney (No. 29), outfielder Jake Marisnick (No. 65), and left-handed pitcher Justin Nicolino (No. 81) all made MLB.com’s cut among the game’s top prospects going into the 2014 season.
The Suns had more former players from the 2013 season on the list than any other Southern League club.
Heaney has earned plenty of press this offseason, and last week MLB.com announced that he is the No. 1 left-handed pitching prospect in baseball. Heaney began 2013 in High-A Jupiter where he went 5-2 with a 0.88 ERA in 12 starts before finishing the season in Jacksonville, going 4-1 with a 2.94 ERA in six starts for the Suns.
His 2013 Suns rotation mate Nicolino also made MLB.com’s Top 10, with the website ranking him the seventh best southpaw prospect. Nicolino was named the 2013 Florida State League Pitcher of the Year, going 5-2 with a 2.23 ERA in 18 starts for Jupiter. Like Heaney, he finished the year with the Suns posting a 3-2 record with a 4.96 ERA in nine starts.
Marisnick is the only former Sun listed in the Top 100 that saw major league time in 2013. Marisnick was a 2013 Southern League South Division All-Star, and after hitting .294 with 12 homers and 46 RBI for the Suns he finished the season in Miami. With the Marlins he hit .183 with one homer and five RBI in 109 major league at-bats.
The trio of former Suns were joined in the rankings by fellow Marlins farmhand Colin Moran, who checked in at No. 51. Moran, a left-handed hitting third baseman, was drafted with the sixth overall pick in last year’s first round out of the University of North Carolina, and is projected to play in Jacksonville at some point during the 2014 season.
The Southern League was also well represented on the MLB.com list, with 13 of the Top 100 Prospects playing in the league last season. Among those former Southern Leaguers who made the list was Jacksonville native and former Bragan Award winner Javier Baez of the Chicago Cubs. The Arlington Country Day product was ranked by MLB.com as the game’s seventh-best prospect, and he finished the 2013 season with the Southern League’s Tennessee Smokies.
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