Is timing right to promote top prospects?

The promotions were inevitable. It was always going to be a matter of when.

As it turned out, the when came moments after the Marlins beat the Rockies, 3-1, on Monday night at Coors Field.

In the aftermath of the victory, the club announced they were selecting the contracts of outfielders Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick from Double-A Jacksonville.

The corresponding moves were mildly surprising, as second baseman Derek Dietrich and outfielder Marcell Ozuna were optioned to Double-A.

Ozuna and Dietrich each showed promise. At times, they also showed their youth, and now they will get some more Minor League seasoning. Both still project to be major parts of the organization’s future.

As for Yelich and Marisnick, they now get their first big league chances. Both are highly touted. Both are highly athletic, confident and eager to prove they will be mainstays in Miami’s outfield for years to come.

Yelich, a first-round pick in 2010, has one of the best swings in the Minor Leagues. Look for him to take over in left field.

Marisnick is a speedster who is terrific defensively, and he will likely step in at center field. The question is how much will he hit?

Both bring energy and excitement to a team in a transition year.

Is the timing right now? It’s easy to say, why not? After all, the Marlins have just 36 wins, and they are building for a better tomorrow. They’re pretty much on a three-year plan to becoming a serious contender. They are entrenched in last place, and giving opportunities to other prospects.

Jose Fernandez, remember, was promoted to the big leagues at age 20. He got the nod without pitching higher than Class A. Still, he pitched well enough to be Miami’s lone All-Star.

Some in the organization felt Yelich was ready in Spring Training, when he hadn’t played above Class A.

Marisnick missed a bulk of Spring Training, as well as April, due to a broken left hand. The injury occurred after he was struck by a Trevor Rosenthal fastball in a Spring Training game against the Cardinals.

The big question with Marisnick is whether he will hit? And there are questions about his swing. We are about to find some answers out.

Ideally, both would get more time to develop in the Minor Leagues.

But where Miami is in the standings, the club felt it is worth seeing what both can do right now at the Major League level. So many are getting on-the-job-training already, so it makes sense to move along two more young players.

Miami fans have reason to be excited about the upside of both players.

They also should have some caution.

In talking to a number of scouts who have seen Yelich and Marisnick at Jacksonville, the general feeling is neither dominated at Double-A. Perhaps if they didn’t miss time due to injuries, they would have.

Yelich is more advanced offensively, but still he had his troubles at Jacksonville, especially against left-handed pitchers.

As for Marisnick, some evaluators feel he would benefit by another half year — minimum — in the Minors.

Working in their favor is their talent.

Talent is talent, and in the evaluation process it often weighs more heavily than Minor League statistics. One way to find out how they will handle the games’ highest level is to actually experience it.

Now is their time.

But in the unforgiving big leagues, the bottom line is production.

If they make the necessary adjustments and produce, Yelich and Marisnick should have promising careers. If not, they could be the ones getting sent down for more seasoning.

The way the Marlins’ season has been going, the club believes it is worth the risk to see right now if they are big league ready.

Joe Frisaro

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