Miami Marlins Top 35 Prospects by Eric Longenhagen June 24, 2022 © Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Miami Marlins. Scouting reports were compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as my own observations. This is the second year we’re delineating between two anticipated relief roles, the abbreviations for which you’ll see in the “position” column below: MIRP for multi-inning relief pitchers, and SIRP for single-inning relief pitchers. A quick overview of what FV (Future Value) means can be found here. A much deeper overview can be found here. All of the numbered prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details than this article and integrates every team’s list so readers can compare prospects across farm systems. It can be found here. Top Prospects Team Lists 2022 2021 ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG Marlins Top Prospects Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV 1 Eury Pérez 19.2 AA SP 2025 60 2 Max Meyer 23.3 AAA SP 2022 50 3 Jose Salas 19.2 A SS 2025 50 4 Kahlil Watson 19.2 A SS 2026 50 5 Edward Cabrera 24.2 MLB SP 2022 50 6 Jake Eder 23.7 AA SIRP 2022 45+ 7 Ian Lewis 19.4 A 2B 2025 45+ 8 Yiddi Cappe 19.9 R SS 2025 45+ 9 Peyton Burdick 25.3 AAA CF 2023 45 10 Dax Fulton 20.7 A+ SP 2025 45 11 Cody Morissette 22.4 A+ 2B 2025 45 12 Nick Fortes 25.6 MLB C 2022 40+ 13 Joe Mack 19.5 A C 2026 40+ 14 Nasim Nunez 21.9 A+ SS 2023 40+ 15 Sixto Sánchez 23.9 MLB SP 2022 40+ 16 JJ Bleday 24.6 AAA RF 2022 40 17 Ronald Hernandez 18.7 R C 2027 40 18 Cody Poteet 27.9 MLB MIRP 2022 40 19 Payton Henry 25.0 MLB C 2022 40 20 Braxton Garrett 24.9 MLB SP 2022 40 21 Angeudis Santos 20.8 A+ SS 2025 40 22 Griffin Conine 25.0 AA RF 2022 40 23 Sean Reynolds 24.2 A+ SIRP 2024 40 24 Antony Peguero 17.0 R RF 2027 35+ 25 Zach King 24.2 A+ SP 2023 35+ 26 Jordan McCants 20.1 R SS 2026 35+ 27 Osiris Johnson 21.7 A CF 2023 35+ 28 Luis Vizcaino 21.0 R SP 2024 35+ 29 Andrew Nardi 23.9 AAA MIRP 2023 35+ 30 Jerar Encarnacion 24.7 MLB DH 2022 35+ 31 Javier Sanoja 19.8 A SS 2025 35+ 32 Evan Fitterer 22.0 A+ SP 2024 35+ 33 Will Stewart 24.9 AAA MIRP 2022 35+ 34 Zach McCambley 23.2 AA MIRP 2024 35+ 35 Luis Palacios 22.0 A SP 2023 35+ Reading Options Detail Level Data Only Full Position Filter All All C 2B SS CF RF SP SIRP MIRP 60 FV Prospects 1. Eury Pérez, SP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (MIA) Age 19.2 Height 6′ 9″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 60 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/70 50/60 45/50 45/60 50/70 96-98 / 99 After he made just five starts at High-A toward the end of his breakout 2021 campaign, this season the Marlins sent the 6-foot-9, 19-year-old Pérez to Double-A Pensacola, where he has been a buzzsaw, striking out 34.2% of opposing hitters while only walking 5.4% across just north of 50 innings. Over the last year, Pérez has added about 30 pounds, experienced a two-tick fastball velocity bump, and incorporated a second, harder breaking ball that has become his primary non-fastball weapon. After sitting 94-95 mph last year (Pérez was a 50 FV prospect ranked 67th in the offseason), he’s now parked in the 96-98 mph range for entire starts, and his hardest sliders (in the 85-87 mph range) are nearly 10 mph harder than his average curveball was in 2021 (77 mph). While he’s been uniformly dominant in the minors, Pérez’s stuff has now hit a different gear. Even more precocious than Pérez’s velocity is his fastball command, which is absurd for a 19-year-old, let alone one who throws this hard and is also this size. He shows bend and balance in his lower half as he propels himself way down the mound and releases on the doorstep of the batter’s box, making hitters extremely uncomfortable. Though he doesn’t throw the pitch a ton, his changeup feel is also very good, and currently more consistent than his feel for his new slider, though I expect that will come. Pérez’s fastball shape operates to the east and west of the zone. His heater is only generating about a 14% swinging strike rate, per Synergy Sports, which is above the big league average but not elite. There are still some things to work on here, but Pérez is younger now than Trevor Rogers was on the day he was drafted, and the fact that Pérez has made relevant adjustments this year and continues to dominate while implementing them is remarkable. Within the last few weeks, scouts who have seen Pérez (one who I happened to be at a game with, as well as a newer source of mine) have said they can make the argument that he’s the best pitching prospect in baseball right now because the other few in that discussion (for me, Grayson Rodriguez, who has a strained lat; Shane Baz, who had arthroscopic surgery from which he recently returned, arm strength intact; and Daniel Espino, currently in a pretty long layoff for a knee issue) have all been hurt recently. 50 FV Prospects 2. Max Meyer, SP Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Minnesota (MIA) Age 23.3 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 196 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/60 60/70 45/55 40/50 94-98 / 101 The third overall pick and first pitcher selected in the 2020 draft, Meyer had arguably the best stuff in the class, touching 102 mph and bending in a low-90s, plus-plus slider during the brief ’20 college season. His athleticism (he was a two-way player), simple delivery, and easy arm action gave teams confidence in his ability to start despite a smallish frame. Beginning his pro career at Double-A, Meyer passed his first professional tests with flying colors, finishing the year with a 2.41 ERA at Pensacola, and a pair of impressive Triple-A outings at Jacksonville. His velocity was down compared to 2020, as Meyer “only” sat 94-96 and touched 98 throughout the entire season, and the Marlins had also totally altered his arm slot, which is now much more vertical than when he was in college. His changeup has improved by leaps and bounds but remains inconsistent, while his calling card remains one of the best sliders in all of the minor leagues. Thrown in the upper-80s and at times exceeding 90 mph, Meyer’s devastating power breaker features huge two-plane action with considerable sweep and late downward bite. He began 2022 at Triple-A and pitched well (his fastball averaged 96 mph, barely wavering from the 94-97 range) before Meyer hit the IL for a month with ulnar nerve irritation. In one rehab outing prior to list publication, Meyer’s velocity sat in the 92-95 mph range, low enough that it’s worth monitoring as he continues to put distance between himself and the IL, but not so low as to generate list-altering terror. You have to still project on Meyer’s command (his slider command is great, fastball and changeup less so) and changeup in order to see him as a true front-end option. Because of his athleticism, cold weather/two-way background, and relatively lost 2020 season, there are certainly scouts willing to do that but, especially with the injury and significant mechanical overhaul, I’m more inclined to be conservative and project him in the middle of a good rotation rather than at the top. 3. Jose Salas, SS Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Venezuela (MIA) Age 19.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 191 Bat / Thr S / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/60 45/55 20/50 55/50 35/45 50 Salas signed for big money ($2.8 million) in July of 2019 and became the highest-variance prospect in this system, though he has since been usurped by a few others as Salas’ hit tool has stabilized while others are more volatile. He has “the look” at a sculpted 6-foot-2, he has a middle infielder’s actions and hands, and he has precocious feel for contact despite being a young switch-hitter. Some of the left-handed swing length issues that plagued him during the very early portion of his pro career (mostly while playing winter ball in Venezuela during the earlier portion of the pandemic) have already been remedied, and Salas is now short to the ball from the left side of the plate, while his righty swing still lags behind. He is especially adept at flattening his bat path and turning on high fastballs, though Low-A fastballs aren’t all that hard. His game is much more about bat-to-ball skills than it is huge bat speed or rotational athleticism, and because Salas is already quite big and strong, he doesn’t have the same physical projection as the typical teenage hitter. He still has star-level upside, it’s just looking more likely that Salas will attain it via a plus or better hit tool than from growing into gigantic power. He continues to be a 50/50 long-term proposition at shortstop, making all the routine plays now while perhaps projecting off the position due to his size at peak. Either way, he continues to track like a potential above-average everyday player with an extremely favorable profile (switch-hitting infielder with feel for contact) that should hold water even if he does end up as a 2B/3B. 4. Kahlil Watson, SS Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Wake Forest HS (MIA) Age 19.2 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 168 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/40 50/60 25/60 60/60 30/45 45 Watson had one of the wilder draft days in his class last July. In the mix for multiple teams selecting in the top six, things got weird once Watson fell out of that range, as the teams below that either passed on him because he wouldn’t budge off his bonus demands or because they simply hadn’t scouted him thoroughly enough, assuming there was no way he would drop to them. Watson plays with a lot of confidence and bravado, traits that turned off some old school scouts, but served to enamor him even more to the let-them-play set. The Marlins finally ended his slide with the 16th overall pick and signed him to the 10th highest bonus in the first round; Watson followed that up with a brief but outstanding debut in the Complex League. Watson’s tools are nothing short of electric, as he combines plus power and speed in a compact package. Watson has struggled badly with swing decisions in Low-A and often looks like he’s decided whether or not to swing before the pitch is even thrown. His peripherals as of publication (40% strikeouts, 5% walks) are extremely concerning, and Watson’s physical ability is the only thing keeping him this high on the list. He’s a flashy but inconsistent defender at shortstop, with an arm that might force him to second base and hands that might force him to center field in the end, but he’ll be given every opportunity to stay at short for now even though he’s been on low-level rosters crowded with other middle infielders. Few of the draft picks who went ahead of him have more variability in their potential outcomes, but just as few have as much upside as Watson. 5. Edward Cabrera, SP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (MIA) Age 24.2 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 217 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/60 50/60 45/55 45/50 93-97 / 99 The oft-injured Cabrera began the season with a biceps injury that prevented him from pitching at an affiliate until late April and it wasn’t long before he hit the IL again with elbow tendinitis, which he had just begun to rehab back from immediately prior to list publication. This is the sixth (!) consecutive season Cabrera has had injury issues that brought about at least one IL stint and his second consecutive year with a biceps issue that delayed the start of his season. His stuff always seems to come all the way back, and when healthy he throws extremely hard while complementing his arm strength with a bevy of plus secondary offerings. He routinely gets into the upper-90s with his fastball and his velo had been trending up before he got hurt for the second time in 2022, creeping closer to 97-100 as Cabrera re-joined the big league roster (he recently exhausted rookie eligibility). Similar to teammate Sixto Sánchez, the heater’s shape and movement cause it to play down, and it isn’t an elite offering despite having elite velocity. Cabrera adds a plus upper-80s slider that features so little downward movement that it almost seems to be rising compared to most breakers, though he has been working more with a low-to-mid-80s curveball that may usurp his slider as his go-to breaking ball. Cabrera’s best pitch is a killer changeup that while on the firm side, typically in the 90-92 mph range, features very low spin and significant fade and tumble. His command and control, both of which were firmly in the average bucket as a younger minor leaguer, regressed mightily during his brief 2021 time in the majors, which may have been a result of him being amped up or simply trying to get too cute around the edges to avoid his fastball getting hit. He has sufficient pitch execution to profile as a starter. Cabrera has an All-Star starter’s stuff, and Reds starter Luis Castillo presents pretty good mechanical precedent for someone like Cabrera succeeding, but there are obviously questions about his ability to hold up over the course of an entire season, as between injuries and conservative workloads, 100.1 is the most innings he’s thrown in a season, and that was all the way back in 2018. 45+ FV Prospects 6. Jake Eder, SIRP Drafted: 4th Round, 2020 from Vanderbilt (MIA) Age 23.7 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/60 70/70 40/45 35/40 92-95 / 97 Eder was a tantalizing but inconsistent high school prospect who at times would sit 94-97 mph, but often with scattershot control. He ended up at Vanderbilt, where those issues continued, and finished his career there sitting 91-92, which is part of why he fell to the fourth round of his draft. He had a breakout 2021 at Double-A, his first full season in pro ball, posting a .98 WHIP across 15 starts while working about five innings per start until August, when he blew out and needed Tommy John. Eder’s delivery has changed since college and his arm slot is not as deliberately north/south as before, but his fastball still plays as an in-zone bat-misser. The tweaks have made Eder’s slider one of the nastier ones on the planet (the pitch data I have a shows a 300 rpm uptick from his college slider to now), with some of them looking like they’re headed into the ribs of left-handed hitters before bending over the plate. His changeup is only fair right now, and his command still comes and goes, and even though he wasn’t walking nearly as many hitters in 2021 as he did in college, there was still relief risk here even before his elbow blew out. But if Eder does have to move to the bullpen, there might be another gear of velocity in the tank, which gives him the out of being a premium reliever with two plus-plus pitches. 7. Ian Lewis, 2B Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Bahamas (MIA) Age 19.4 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 177 Bat / Thr S / R FV 45+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/45 45/60 20/55 70/70 40/55 50 It was first evident that Lewis had taken a sizable step forward in the physicality department (without compromising his twitch and straight line speed) during 2020 instructs. He was weak with the bat as an amateur but showed noticeably more pull-side pop at the end of the year. That has continued, and now Lewis is showing plus-plus bat speed from the left side of the plate. He has a bottom-hand dominant swing from the left side and needs to incorporate his whole body to swing this hard, but Lewis can dial his swing’s effort up or down situationally and shows the ability to shorten up and spray all-fields contact against pitches all over the zone. He is an extremely aggressive hitter, perhaps because he can basically hit anything he tries to, and this creates bust risk since indiscriminate approaches have been the undoing of many talented prospects. Across a couple thousand scouting reports I write at this site every year, I probably use the phrase “five-tool potential” fewer than five times. It applies here. Lewis could become a switch-hitting leadoff man with power and speed in the Jimmy Rollins mold (without the 70 arm). 8. Yiddi Cappe, SS Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Cuba (MIA) Age 19.9 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/50 45/60 20/50 55/55 40/50 60 Cappe has an ideal baseball frame, as well as the athleticism, hands, and arm strength to play shortstop, and while his swing is a little noisy and imbalanced, he tracks pitches well and finds a way to put the bat on them even if it isn’t always pretty. On paper, Cappe has performed well from a bat-to-ball standpoint early in his career, and he has very exciting raw power projection because of his wide receiver-ish frame. Though his lower half looks a little stiff and he plays defense with a high center of gravity, he’s capable of acrobatic defensive plays and at least has a shot to stay at short long-term. Despite being rough around the edges (remember Cappe waited an extra year to sign so he could get more money from the Marlins and has played a full season less than the typical 20-year-old prospect), he has a great tools and projection foundation that is now being reinforced by early-career performance, most notably from a bat-to-ball standpoint. He’s still risky as a prospect but has All-Star upside. 45 FV Prospects 9. Peyton Burdick, CF Drafted: 3rd Round, 2019 from Wright State (MIA) Age 25.3 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 70/70 40/60 55/55 45/50 60 Perhaps no prospect from the 2019 draft buoyed industry opinion more during his post-draft summer than Burdick, who leveled the Midwest League after he signed. He hit .407/.538/.729 and had more walks than strikeouts during his career at Wright State but only hit an impressive sum of homers as a junior. It’s likely teams’ draft models discounted Burdick slightly due to his draft day age, which was well over 22, and the Marlins were able to pick him up for an under-slot bonus in the third round. He went out and crushed Low-A, with his triple slash line (.308/.407/.542) largely reinforced by his underlying data (an expected .276/.366/.490) and visual reports. As he’s climbed the minors, his strikeout rates have ballooned into a scary area, climbing into the 30% range. His swing is geared for contact in the bottom two-thirds of the zone, as he just turns his top hand over and lets his gigantic forearms drive the quality of his contact. Indeed, almost all eyeball reports of Burdick begin with a remark about his physicality. His forearms are as thick as support beams and help him generate huge power; the closest contemporary body comp here is Tyler O’Neill. Even though Burdick is a thicker guy, he takes a pretty athletic swing that demands a lot of his balance through contact, but he never appears out of control, even when he’s swinging his hardest. He sometimes strides open in a way that impacts his ability to cover the outer third of the plate and his bat path works in such a way that Burdick tends to shoot pitches in the middle of the zone the opposite way, which makes me kind of scared about whether he’ll be able to turn on inner-half big league fastballs. Most of his big pull-side contact actually comes against hanging breaking balls. The biggest difference between Burdick and the other K-prone hitters you’ll read about in this system is Burdick’s ability to play center field. While he’s seen time at all three outfield positions, he is fine in center and actually quite adept at going back on balls, and he’s fearless around the wall, perhaps because he’s an indestructible cyborg. This gives Burdick room to have a below-average hit tool and still play a significant big league role. 10. Dax Fulton, SP Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from Mustang HS (OK) (MIA) Age 20.7 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/40 60/60 45/55 35/55 90-94 / 96 Fulton is still only sitting about 92 mph in his second season coming off Tommy John, but his mechanical funk and the extreme downhill angle of his fastball make him an uncomfortable at-bat, and he commands two good secondary pitches. His height and vertical arm slot give his fastball steep angle that runs counter to the flat-angled, bat-missing modern heater, but it takes hitters a few tries to get comfortable with it because of the unique look Fulton presents. His curveball also doesn’t pop out of his hand — because he’s so freaking big, it’s always descending after it leaves the southpaw’s fingertips — and it looks much more like his fastball out of hand than is typical of pitchers with upper-70s breaking balls. He can turn over an average changeup and locate it consistently. Even though Fulton is young and lanky, he’s a relatively stiff athlete without the mechanical grace and ease that would typically lead one to project on the velocity, but even if this is all there ever is, Fulton is still of the fourth starter ilk. 11. Cody Morissette, 2B Drafted: 2nd Round, 2021 from Boston College (MIA) Age 22.4 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/55 45/45 20/45 55/55 40/45 50 Morissette is a compact middle infielder with a sweet lefty stroke, and a hit/power combination that has a shot to play every day at second base. He has terrific vertical plate coverage, able to shorten up and barrel gut-high pitches, as well as drop the bat head and scoop low balls out to his pull-side, and he does most of his slugging damage that way. This can sometimes lead Morissette to pull off of pitches away from him, which might be something upper-level pitchers will start to exploit. Overall, his feel for contact helps weaponize his modest raw power enough that Morissette projects as a core infield role player. 40+ FV Prospects 12. Nick Fortes, C Drafted: 4th Round, 2018 from Ole Miss (MIA) Age 25.6 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 50/55 40/40 30/35 40/40 50/50 55 Fortes, long a prospect because of his defensive ability and above-average arm, is proving hard to make swing and miss at the upper levels. He’s especially adept at getting on top of high fastballs and has one of the lowest swinging strike rates in this org. His control of the zone and bat-to-ball skills give him more offensive ability than is typical of a generic backup catcher, which he has been projected as basically his entire career. While the small-sample power numbers he’s producing on paper are not likely to be sustained (he’s slugging a ridiculous .629 as of publication and has an xSLG of over .500 across about 50 big league batted ball events), Fortes looks like more than a backup and actually has a shot to get the lion’s share of the catching reps in Miami for the next few years. 13. Joe Mack, C Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Williamsville East HS (MIA) Age 19.5 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 203 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/45 50/60 20/50 45/40 30/50 60 Mack (whose brother Charles was drafted by the Twins a few years ago) is a lefty-hitting catcher with a big frame, above-average bat speed, and an upright swing. His cut has gorgeous natural loft (but is quite long), and he’s a loose, explosive rotator. Because he was an upstate New York high schooler, Mack’s showcase summer was of particular importance. He hit well at the events he attended, but he certainly has some swing- and demographic-related risk since high school catchers are low-probability prospects. He might play some 3B/2B in pro ball. There’s everyday talent here with considerable risk. 14. Nasim Nunez, SS Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from Collins Hill HS (GA) (MIA) Age 21.9 Height 5′ 9″ Weight 158 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 40/45 30/35 60/60 55/70 60 It’s looking less and less likely that the 21-year-old Nunez will develop the sort of physicality he’d need to regularly impact the baseball with power. While he’s reaching base at a well above-average clip, he still doesn’t have a pro home run and the .049 ISO he’s running as of publication is easily the highest of his career; he’s slugging .268. Still, Nunez is an extremely slick shortstop defender and seems likely to at least play a low-impact infield utility role because of his defense. It takes a lot of visible effort for him to make throws from the hole, and because of this, there were some clubs that had him evaluated as an elite second baseman before he was drafted. But especially with shifting perhaps becoming a thing of the past, we might see the return of Rey Ordonez types like Nunez in more than just a bench role, and such a special glove at a premium position merits more than a 40 FV grade. 15. Sixto Sánchez, SP Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (PHI) Age 23.9 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 234 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/60 50/50 60/70 50/55 95-99 / 101 Following a solid 2020 debut, Sánchez was lined up to spend last season in the Marlins rotation, losing his prospect status by April. Instead, he was sidelined with shoulder issues in late March and finally succumbed to capsule surgery in July. That’s nowhere near as serious as work being done on or around the labrum, and while the lockout made it hard to know how close Sánchez was to throwing, he was expected to be healthy by the time camp was originally scheduled to start in February. He wasn’t, and his 2022 is in doubt as he languishes away on the Jupiter backfields, looking rather out of shape. Sánchez is a difficult arm to evaluate, even without the missed time. He can light up a radar gun like few others, sitting in the upper-90s while consistently reaching triple-digits, but the fastball gets hit far more often than one would expect due to its terrible shape and minimal action. His secondaries are much better than his heater in terms of both pitch data and actual performance. His slider is driven more by velocity than break, but as it’s in the upper-80s (and at times the low-90s), it misses plenty of bats. Meanwhile, he can really deaden the spin on his impressive changeup, which sits in the upper-80s and generates some silly swings from hitters gearing up for the heat. Even before the shoulder problem, Sánchez felt like a starter who would produce more GIFs on Twitter than dominating performances, but a healthy version still lines up as a mid-rotation starting pitcher. He has had persistent injury issues that severely alter the way he lines up here. 40 FV Prospects 16. JJ Bleday, RF Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from Vanderbilt (MIA) Age 24.6 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 40/40 55/55 45/50 40/40 55/55 60 I’m skeptical that things will pan out in an impact fashion for Bleday, whose swing path, even his re-worked cut, leaves him vulnerable to in-zone swing and miss, especially to fastballs riding away from him on the outer third, and to big velocity overall. As of list publication, he’s hitting just .143 against fastballs above 93 mph, per Synergy, and is really only able to do pull-side damage on pitches hanging on the inner half of the plate. While his approach is narrow enough for him to get to his pull-power so far (Bleday tends not to swing at those problem pitches on the outer third), he strikes me as the kind of hitter big league arms are going to feel comfortable pitching to given how obvious the hole in his swing is. If I’m wrong, it’ll be because Bleday’s feel for the strike zone and ability to hunt pitches he can drive enables him to get to enough in-game power to be a corner platoon option. Given where he was drafted, he’s likely to get that opportunity. 17. Ronald Hernandez, C Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Venezuela (MIA) Age 18.7 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/50 35/45 20/40 30/30 40/55 55 Hernandez is an advanced switch-hitting catcher with an above-average arm and exciting feel to hit. His frame is relatively mature, but Hernandez has enough else going on that even if he’s unlikely to grow into big power, he still might have an everyday catcher’s complement of skills. While not as athletic as Joe Mack, he’s arguably a more stable prospect because of his bat-to-ball skills and is the youngest of the many good catchers in this system. 18. Cody Poteet, MIRP Drafted: 4th Round, 2015 from UCLA (MIA) Age 27.9 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/45 50/50 45/45 55/55 50/50 92-95 / 96 Poteet had a two-tick velo bump during quarantine, and after sitting 89-93 mph and topping out at 95 in 2019, he was sitting 92-95 and touching 96 pretty consistently in ’21, and he’s throwing even harder now that he’s moved to the bullpen, sitting 94-96. It’s surprising that Poteet had such a late bump in velocity. His era of UCLA pitcher had already adopted Driveline principles, and I would have guessed he was already maxed out. Of his three secondaries, Poteet most often deploys his changeup, a heavy, sinking offering in the 85-88 mph range that he’s increased his usage of since moving to the bullpen. His slider has more linear, diagonal movement than two-planed sweeping shape, but it can still miss bats away from righty batters, and it is basically his only breaking ball now that his slower curve has been all but scrapped. His curveball has plus-plus spin rates but is easy to identify out of his hand since he has a sink/tail-oriented fastball. The limited utility of the breaking balls, and the fastball being more a grounder-getter than a bat-misser, holds Poteet in the low-variance backend starter bucket for me, but the Marlins rotation is full, so it looks like he’ll work in long relief for now (he exhausted rookie eligibility earlier this season). 19. Payton Henry, C Video Drafted: 6th Round, 2016 from Pleasant Grove HS (UT) (MIL) Age 25.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/35 60/60 40/45 30/30 45/45 50 A bat-first high school catcher who was considered a long shot to stay behind the plate, Henry has made sufficient developmental progress as a defender and now projects to stay back there. He was drafted by Milwaukee and traded to Miami during the 2021-22 offseason, part of the significant catcher turnover on the Marlins’ 40-man roster. He’s still not a great ball-blocker, but he’s an average receiver and framer, and his pop times are average as well. He catches on one knee with the bases empty, then is in a traditional crouch with runners on, but he’ll still drop to one knee when the ball is mid-flight if he think it’s a borderline pitch. Mike Zunino often does this, if you’re looking to see this sort of thing in action. Henry’s strikeout issues are scary, and he has struggled to get to power in games in every season but 2019, mostly because of his swing plane. He began the season as the Marlins backup, which is realistically what he projects to be, but he’s currently on the IL after having thumb surgery. 20. Braxton Garrett, SP Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Florence HS (AL) (MIA) Age 24.9 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 202 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/45 60/60 45/45 50/50 55/60 89-92 / 93 Garrett, who recently exhausted rookie eligibility, still looks like a generic fifth starter (89-92 mph, touching 93, plus slider, command-reliant changeup), but his velocity has slowly been climbing, year after year, since he returned from Tommy John. He’s throwing harder for the second straight season, and Garrett has had to sharpen his command to deal with the reduced velocity he experienced coming off TJ (he was in the mid-90s as a high schooler). If he can somehow continue to throw harder, then he’ll come close to hitting his pre-draft projections, or at least peaking there. It’s not likely, but it is plausible. Until then, he’s a crafty, fun-to-watch backend lefty. 21. Angeudis Santos, SS Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (BOS) Age 20.8 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 45/55 30/45 60/60 40/55 60 Acquired from Boston in exchange for reliever Austin Brice, Santos is an extremely projectable and athletic switch-hitting infielder with crude feel to hit. He is a long-striding, plus runner underway, has the range, athleticism and arm strength to play any infield position, and will likely grow into meaningful power as he matures. Santos’ swing-happy approach is an issue that has diluted his offensive production to this point, limiting him to one career home run despite his bat speed. He’s a low-probability prospect, but he’s too toolsy and exciting in other ways to leave off the list. 22. Griffin Conine, RF Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Duke (TOR) Age 25.0 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 213 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/20 80/80 50/60 45/40 45/50 60 Conine looked like a sure first round pick after an exceptional 2017 sophomore year and subsequent wood-powered summer on Cape Cod. During his .330/.406/.537 tear on the Cape, he started to strike out more often. That carried into his junior year at Duke in very concerning fashion, as his strikeout rate spiked from 16% the year before to a whopping 26%, a mark that most teams consider a red flag, putting hitters on the wrong side of binary hit tool evaluation. The strikeouts have continued in pro ball and Conine is one of the few prospects I’ve ever projected to have a 20-grade hit tool and still be a big leaguer, because, boy, does he have profile-altering power. Conine is fourth in all the minors in home runs since 2019 even though he missed 50 games due to a PED suspension. It is ridiculous, all-fields juice that makes Conine one of the more dangerous mistake hitters in pro ball, but everything that applies to JJ Bleday’s in-zone holes mentioned above is also true for Conine, except to an even more severe degree, especially at the top of the strike zone. In the last half decade or so, Joey Gallo represents the only real precedent for someone who strikes out this much becoming a star-level performer, and it’s more likely Conine becomes a Russell Branyan kind of role player. 23. Sean Reynolds, SIRP Drafted: 4th Round, 2016 from Redondo Union HS (CA) (MIA) Age 24.2 Height 6′ 8″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/55 50/55 45/60 30/40 92-96 / 97 The 6-foot-8 Reynolds had been a power-hitting (and whiff-addled) 1B/OF throughout his minor league career, but the Marlins moved him to the mound in 2021 and he’s missed bats in the mid-minors while sitting 94-96 mph. Reynolds has 80 raw power and put up superlative TrackMan data in the minors in 2019, with a 94 mph average exit velo and a 57% hard hit rate. He also struck out well over 40% of the time, and it doesn’t matter how much pop you have if you strike out that much. Upon initially returning to the mound (Reynolds played both ways in high school), his fastball was up to 95 mph a couple of times and sitting 92-94 with pretty considerable spin for that velocity, but now he’s sitting 95 and his changeup flashes bat-missing action. While his present stuff would be on the fringe of big league viability, the arrow is pointing up for Reynolds, who has had a three-tick bump since last year, and who is built like a construction crane and might take some time to iron out his mechanics and secondary stuff. He’s an extremely fun sleeper relief prospect. 35+ FV Prospects 24. Antony Peguero, RF Signed: July 2nd Period, 2022 from Dominican Republic (MIA) Age 17.0 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/55 35/50 20/45 50/45 30/50 50 A prototypical corner outfield prospect, Peguero is lanky, projectable and has fair feel to hit right now even though he clearly hasn’t totally grown into his body. Peguero cuts his leg kick with two strikes and lets his hitting hands do the work, an advanced approach for such a young player. He is likely to move to a corner as he fills out since he’s only an average runner right now, but he’s initially being developed in center field. Peguero might progress more quickly than the other hitters in his class since his feel to hit is relatively advanced. He doesn’t have gigantic tools right now, but he’s a well-rounded youngster and among the most promising recent signees in the org. 25. Zach King, SP Drafted: 13th Round, 2019 from Vanderbilt (MIA) Age 24.2 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 228 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops 40/40 55/55 45/50 45/45 40/50 90-92 / 94 King, who is leading the org in strikeouts as a 24-year-old at High-A in his 40-man evaluation year, should have been promoted already to stress-test his stuff against upper-level hitters. He works just 90-92 mph, but mixes funky ride and cut and two-seamers together in a fastball-heavy approach. Another of the many tall glasses of water in this org, King stands 6-foot-6. His stride looks much more comfortable and balanced now than it did in college, when King’s weird, short-stride delivery was extremely awkward-looking. His east/west fastball command helps set up a slider and changeup that break off either side of the plate, and his slider is easily his best pitch. Living at least somewhat off of arms and legs deception, King has a bulk relief fit. 26. Jordan McCants, SS Drafted: 3rd Round, 2021 from Pensacola Catholic HS (MIA) Age 20.1 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/55 35/50 20/40 55/50 30/45 45 McCants is a frame-based projection infielder who eschewed a commitment to Mississippi State to sign with Miami for a shade over $1 million out of high school. His in-the-box footwork and swing are extremely simple, showing better bat control than is typical for a longer-levered high school hitter. He’s a fair athlete with fair bat speed, but might layer meaningful strength onto his frame and end up hitting for strength-driven power. He’s a long-term developmental project. 27. Osiris Johnson, CF Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Encinal HS (CA) (MIA) Age 21.7 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 211 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 55/60 35/50 55/45 40/45 50 Johnson was one of the younger players in the 2018 draft, but a tibial fracture and the pandemic kept him from playing for what would have been his first two full seasons. He was still easily age-appropriate for Low-A in 2021, but flopped there before he was sent down and rebounded on the complex. Back with the Jupiter Hammerheads in 2022, Johnson continues to lack even a modicum of an approach, but still has tantalizing bat speed and power for his age. Playing exclusively center field now, he’s a bat speed/power late-bloomer candidate rather than someone who looks like an imminent big leaguer. 28. Luis Vizcaino, SP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (MIA) Age 21.0 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Command Sits/Tops 40/45 60/70 30/50 90-94 / 95 Vizcaino began 2021 carving up the FCL with a plus-plus curveball. He sits 90-94 mph, is modestly projectable, throws a fair rate of strikes, and his rainbow curveball has enough depth to be a low-level weapon even though it’s only 72-74 mph. He is on the 60-day IL with a right lumbar spine fracture and hasn’t pitched in 2022, making him a low-level sleeper for now. 29. Andrew Nardi, MIRP Drafted: 16th Round, 2019 from Arizona (MIA) Age 23.9 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 201 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/50 55/55 45/50 45/55 92-94 / 95 He isn’t going to be a dominant late-inning reliever or anything, but Nardi was a relatively innocuous Day Three draft pick who knifed through the low minors and has put himself in a position to claim a 40-man spot after this season. He sits 92-93 mph, will top out in the 95-96 range, and has an average low-80s slider and a playable mid-80s changeup that relies on location more than action. He also has experience working four-to-six outs at a time. He’s in position to work as an optionable long man next year. It’s imperative for Miami to keep guys like this coming as support for the aging/oft-injured group likely to comprise their bullpen for the next several years. 30. Jerar Encarnacion, DH Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (MIA) Age 24.7 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/35 60/60 45/50 30/30 20/20 55 Encarnacion’s surface-level stats have been quite good, especially in 2022, and he has every bit of the power you’d expect given his output. Because he lacks a defensive position (he is like a Choose Your Own Adventure book in the outfield) he needs to hit more than I’m projecting him to in order to have any kind of significant role. Encarnacion tends to be late on fastballs, which leads to lots of in-zone swings and misses against them. He’s strong enough to drive them with power when he makes contact, and his bat path enables him to do this most often to the opposite field, but he’s likely to end up with a comfortably below-average hit tool. It isn’t typical for players without a position to have such fringe feel for contact and play a significant long-term role. 31. Javier Sanoja, SS Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Venezuela (MIA) Age 19.8 Height 5′ 9″ Weight 150 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/55 20/30 20/30 60/60 40/50 35 Sanoja is a diminutive, plus-running second baseman with precocious bat-to-ball skills. He was extremely tough to strike out in the 2021 DSL and got a late-summer promotion to the complex in Jupiter. The Marlins thought enough of him to essentially skip him over the Florida Complex League and send him right to Low-A to start 2022, and his extremely aggressive approach became such a problem that he was demoted after about a month of hitting .162 and walking at a 3% clip. Even in the Florida State League, Sanoja was physically overmatched, and he needs to get stronger to compete in full-season ball. Despite his statistical struggles, the up-the-middle defensive fit and Sanoja’s bat-to-ball skills make him a notable low-level prospect. 32. Evan Fitterer, SP Drafted: 5th Round, 2019 from Aliso Niguel HS (CA) (MIA) Age 22.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 192 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/50 45/50 50/55 40/50 35/45 90-92 / 94 Fitterer was an interesting $1 million-ish high school prospect with the traditional fastball/overhand curveball suite and the sort of pitchability you’d expect of an older SoCal high schooler, but because he was older, it was tougher to be confident projecting on his wiry frame. From a velocity standpoint, Fitterer hasn’t progressed. He was 90-92 mph and touching 93 during my Fall League looks and has been in that range again in 2022. That pitch does have cut and carry elements that help it play when it’s located, but his arm swing and line to the plate were highly variable in Arizona, and his walk numbers have taken a step back in 2022. Both of Fitterer’s breaking balls — a mid-80s slider and an upper-70s curveball — are consistently average or better, and give Fitterer the repertoire depth to start. If we assume Fitterer’s velocity just is what it is, he’ll need to develop better command to hold down a rotation spot. Right now he looks more like a Day Two college arm with a depth starter projection. 33. Will Stewart, MIRP Drafted: 20th Round, 2015 from Hazel Green HS (AL) (PHI) Age 24.9 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/40 55/55 45/50 50/50 87-89 / 91 Acquired as part of the J.T. Realmuto deal, Stewart’s velo tanked in 2019, and he topped out at just 91 mph after he sat 88-92 the year before. His groundball rate dropped from 62% to 51%, and he gave up more homers that year than he had in his entire career. He bounced back into his usual range in 2021 and ’22, sitting 90-94 mph with a slider and changeup that have lots of lateral action. He’s back to generating a ton of groundballs (62% at Pensacola before a promotion to Triple-A) and is in position to be a depth starter. 34. Zach McCambley, MIRP Drafted: 3rd Round, 2020 from Coastal Carolina (MIA) Age 23.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 30/30 70/70 40/45 30/45 89-93 / 95 McCambley’s best pitch remains his sweeping, low-80s breaking ball, which has 2-to-8 shape. This is an especially effective backdoor pitch, and McCambley hardly ever leaves it vulnerable and hanging, almost always dotting the corner with it or finishing it below the zone. His fastball is more of a sinker than a bat-misser, vulnerable in the zone and not a great natural complement to his breaker. While he repeats his delivery with the consistency befitting a starter, limitations around his fastball utility might mean a bulk relief role is a better fit for McCambley, who can pitch backward (and very heavily) off his plus curveball. He has the lowest swinging strike rate among Marlins Double-A pitchers and is similar to Zack Godley. 35. Luis Palacios, SP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Venezuela (MIA) Age 22.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 30/40 45/50 50/55 45/60 85-87 / 89 Palacios has just 40 walks in a shade over 280 career innings. Since 2017, he has one of the 10 lowest walk rates in the minors among pitchers who have thrown at least 250 innings, and he’s the youngest among them by a wide margin. Even now, at almost 22 years old, Palacios isn’t throwing hard, sitting just 87 mph, and it’s tough to find a scout who actually buys that he will be part of a big league pitching staff. Still, his statistical performance has been exceptional and there might be something deceptive happening with his stuff that can carry him to something more. If not, he’s a reliable injury replacement who is still a few levels away from the Show. Other Prospects of Note Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category. Water-Carrying Hit Tools Troy Johnston, 1B Kyler Castillo, LF Paul McIntosh, C José Devers, 2B Victor Mesa Jr., CF Diowill Burgos, 1B Johnston might turn into a Yadiel Hernandez type of bench bat. He has uncanny timing and feel for contact, but his raw power is several grades below what’s typical at first base. He’s crushing Double-A (he’s always performed on paper) and needs to be promoted. Castillo was a 2021 undrafted free agent, a squat, short-levered outfielder with great baseball instincts. McIntosh, 24, is another undrafted free agent with good timing and bat-to-ball ability that he’s put to good use at Pensacola, where he had an OPS a shade over 1.000 just before publication. He is very rough on defense, especially from a throwing and blocking standpoint. It’s bad enough to consider him highly unlikely to catch, but he’s hitting too well at Double-A in his first full season to write off entirely. Devers has struggled with injury. You could conceivably make an age-related adjustment to Mesa’s 2022 performance, but unlike the 35+ FV prospects who I kept alive in the main section of the list despite their issues, I don’t see a plus tool here. I think Burgos can hit a little bit, but for whatever reason, the org has been reticent to promote him and he’s still on the complex at age 21. Depth Relievers Tyler Mitzel, RHP Jefry Yan, LHP Chandler Jozwiak, LHP Mitzel, 26, has been up to 96 mph and has a good changeup. He is pitching well at High-A. Yan was found pitching in a men’s league in Phoenix, where he was up to 96 mph. He sits in the mid-90s and will flash a plus breaking ball but is very wild. Jozwiak was an ultra-consistent college reliever at Texas A&M who is sitting about 90 mph with a plus slider. Developmental College Pitchers Holt Jones Jr., RHP Justin Fall, LHP Brandon White, RHP Jones is a very well-built 6-foot-8 righty who was up to 97 mph at Kentucky (he transferred from Clemson). He barely pitched in college, averaging just 20 annual innings in four years. He needs to find a better breaking ball, but might end up throwing really hard. Fall is a lefty with a two-seam/slider combo who also might have developmental meat on the bone after he spent time at a JUCO and then with an ASU program that is way behind when it comes to pitch design. White, a Day Three pick out of Washington State, blew out in front of me during extended spring training. The 6-foot-8 righty was 93-95 mph with a good curveball for a few innings before his velo dropped into the mid-80s and he walked off the mound. Recent College Draftees Will Banfield, C Dalvy Rosario, SS Cristhian Rodriguez, 3B Tanner Allen, LF Banfield, who signed an over-slot deal to turn pro rather than head to Vanderbilt, has a plus arm and some power. Frame and athletic projection are huge aspects of both Rosario’s and and Rodriguez’s profiles; they’re young (21 and 20, respectively) and they’re good defensive infielders, but they aren’t hitting. Allen is one of the most prolific SEC hitters of all time, but is also struggling mightily from a bat-to-ball perspective in A-ball. System Overview The Marlins’ big league rotation could soon rival their group from the 2003 World Series team, with Sandy Alcantara and Pablo López already in place, and Eury Pérez and Max Meyer on the way. The intermittent struggles of Trevor Rogers and Jesús Luzardo (who has pitched better in 2022), and Braxton Garrett’s career narrative, should act as a reminder that growing pains and attrition are likely to occur as this dream rotation unfolds. While they’ve drafted, signed, and acquired all of these pitchers, which is evidence of competence on its own, the Marlins aren’t developing internal pitching depth at the rate the teams that consistently contend seem to be able to. It has left their big league bullpen thin and forced them to trade interesting pieces to patch those holes. The Dylan Floro trade is the best example of this, while the Louis Head swap is the most recent. Ideally, they’d be home-growing middle relievers, or otherwise acquiring them at the cost of a roster spot via waivers, rather than trading prospects who stand a chance to be better than who the team is acquiring, and who would have more roster flexibility if they develop into viable big leaguers. I buy that these moves are being made out of perceived necessity and with an awareness that this approach isn’t ideal, but if that’s true, it’s still an indication of other deficiencies in the org that these trades are trying to mask. You need a huge amount of pitching depth to actually win the whole thing and this group feels top heavy, much like a lot of recent Philly clubs. The collection of electric up-the-middle players in this system is very impressive, though the artery of hit tool risk running through it is scary, with echoes of the same underlying issues that made the Christian Yelich trade turn out so badly. Miami’s system looks like Texas’ did five years ago (and like Miami’s did five years ago), with huge tools and strikeout issues running through it. Texas pivoted while Miami has not. Fixation on athletic projection isn’t crazy — part of what makes Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado and others as good as they are is their size, bodily strength and athleticism all wrapped into one, while their feel to hit is what separates them from guys like Monte Harrison, who I was all-in on and who is every bit as fast, strong, and athletic as everyone in that group. Targeting huge-framed athletes gives you a more bites at this sort of high-upside apple, but it also tends to come with higher variance.