Top 32 Prospects: Miami Marlins by Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel December 18, 2018 Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Miami Marlins. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as from our own (both Eric Longenhagen’s and Kiley McDaniel’s) observations. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this. **Editor’s Note: Sixto Sanchez and Will Stewart were added to this list on 2/7/2019, after they were acquired from Philadelphia for J.T. Realmuto.** All of the numbered prospects here also appear on The Board, a new feature at the site that offers sortable scouting information for every organization. That can be found here. Top Prospects Team Lists 2019 2018 ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG Marlins Top Prospects Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV 1 Sixto Sanchez 20.5 A+ RHP 2020 60 2 Isan Diaz 22.7 AAA 2B 2019 50 3 Monte Harrison 23.5 AA CF 2020 50 4 Sandy Alcantara 23.4 MLB RHP 2019 50 5 Nick Neidert 22.2 AA RHP 2019 45+ 6 Victor Victor Mesa 22.5 R CF 2020 45+ 7 Connor Scott 19.3 A CF 2022 45 8 Braxton Garrett 21.5 A LHP 2021 45 9 Jose Devers 19.2 A+ 2B 2022 45 10 Jordan Holloway 22.7 A RHP 2020 45 11 Jorge Guzman 23.0 A+ RHP 2021 45 12 Zac Gallen 23.5 AAA RHP 2019 40+ 13 Edward Cabrera 20.8 A RHP 2021 40+ 14 Osiris Johnson 18.3 A CF 2023 40 15 Brian Miller 23.5 AA CF 2020 40 16 Trevor Rogers 21.2 A LHP 2021 40 17 Will Banfield 19.2 A C 2023 40 18 Will Stewart 21.6 A LHP 2021 40 19 Garrett Cooper 28.1 MLB 1B 2019 40 20 Tristan Pompey 21.9 A+ LF 2021 40 21 Jose Quijada 23.2 AAA LHP 2019 40 22 Robert Dugger 23.6 AAA RHP 2020 40 23 Jordan Yamamoto 22.7 AA RHP 2020 40 24 Thomas Jones 21.2 A CF 2022 40 25 James Nelson 21.3 A+ 3B 2021 40 26 Merandy Gonzalez 23.3 MLB RHP 2019 40 27 Riley Ferrell 25.3 AAA RHP 2019 40 32 Nick Fortes 22.2 A C 2021 35+ 33 George Soriano 19.9 R RHP 2023 35+ 34 Davis Bradshaw 20.8 A- CF 2022 35+ 28 Joe Dunand 23.4 AA 3B 2021 35+ 29 Bryson Brigman 23.6 AA 2B 2020 35+ 30 Colton Hock 22.9 A RHP 2020 35+ 31 Christopher Torres 21.0 A SS 2021 35+ Reading Options Detail Level Data Only Full Position Filter All All C 1B 2B SS 3B OF LF CF RF LHP RHP 60 FV Prospects 1. Sixto Sanchez, RHP Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (PHI) Age 20.5 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 60 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 65/65 45/50 55/60 50/60 45/55 94-98 / 101 Sanchez’s first 2019 start — during which he walked an uncharacteristically high four hitters and spent much of the outing rotating his head and neck about his shoulders, and stretching his arm and upper back — was perhaps a harbinger of things to come; his season would later end due to multiple injuries. After that rough first start, his stuff and command were as they usually are. He was generating upper-90s velocity with ease, his breaking balls were crisp, and his changeups were well-located and moving. He walked just seven hitters in his final seven starts of the year before succumbing to elbow inflammation, which ended his regular season in early-June. Sanchez rehabbed in Florida in anticipation of an Arizona Fall League assignment and threw some tune up innings early during the 2018 fall instructional league, his stuff intact and ready for Arizona. Then he awoke one morning with soreness in his collarbone. After an MRI it was determined that Sixto would have to shut things down for a bit and head to Arizona quite late, so he was just shelved for the year. Sanchez has now missed time to injury in two consecutive seasons. In each year, he has often been given extended rest between starts and dealt with issues in his neck and collarbone area. That isn’t ideal and all else being equal, we’d rather have a pitching prospect without this kind of injury history. But all else isn’t equal when one lines up Sixto’s stuff and command, both of which are very advanced for a conversion arm so new to pitching, against the stuff and command of other minor league pitchers. This is one of the most talented pitching prospects on Earth, one with top of the rotation potential. He’s still only 20 so the fact that injuries have diluted his innings output isn’t a huge issue yet. Hopefully he has a healthy, robust 2019 and gets back on track to debut in 2020. 50 FV Prospects 2. Isan Diaz, 2B Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2014 from Springfield HS (MA) (ARI) Age 22.7 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 40/55 60/60 45/50 40/40 45/50 55/55 In mid-May, already mired in a six-week slump during which he hit just .194, Diaz was struck in the helmet by a fastball and missed ten days with a concussion. He began to perform when he returned, slashing .288/.400/.488 over the next six weeks and earning a promotion to Triple-A New Orleans. We have eyeball reports that Diaz struggled to turn on pitches this year and has adopted more of a line drive approach, each of which is backed up by data, as his ground ball rate is up and his pull rate is down. These issues may have been timing-related, perhaps the lingering effects from the concussion, rather than the result of a mechanical change. Diaz still projects as a three-true-outcomes hitter who plays a premium defensive position. He has a 12% career walk rate as a pro and plus raw power we feel confident Diaz will get to in games given how readily he hit the ball in the air. Diaz isn’t great at second base, but his mediocre range can be aided by proper defensive positioning, and his arm strength should enable him to make the longer throws demanded of second baseman by shifts. His arm would play at third base, too, though Diaz has never played there. There’s some risk he underperforms with the bat and is a mediocre defensive second baseman, but because of his power and patience, his floor seems to look like Yoan Moncada’s 2018 season, which was good for 2 WAR. As such, it seems likely that Diaz will become a solid everyday player. 3. Monte Harrison, CF Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2014 from Lee’s Summit West HS (MO) (MIL) Age 23.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/35 65/65 45/55 60/60 50/60 70/70 If ever there were an athletic contest in which players from across multiple leagues had to compete against one another in all of their respective sports, Harrison would be a top five pick. An athletic deity in high school, Harrison was a star in every sport. He was an acrobatic dunker and a dominant open-field runner, who was signed away from a football commitment to Nebraska for $1.8 million. For much of his pro career, Harrison has either been hurt or underperformed. Aside from his .270/.350/.480 season in 2017, he has struggled to make contact, especially in 2018, when he struck out in 37% of his plate appearances, and a minor league leading 215 times. Despite this, Harrison nearly posted yet another 20/20 season and improved so much as a defensive player that he’s now considered plus in center. The Marlins sent him to the Arizona Fall League with a desire to see some kind of bat-to-ball improvement. Harrison responded by ditching his leg kick. His strikeout rate in Arizona was 25% — better than the summer, but still not great — and he hit for almost no power there. His issues with strikeouts weren’t, in our opinion, caused by excessive movement in his swing but rather by things like breaking ball recognition, bat path, and hand-eye coordination. Those aren’t things that can be remedied by mechanical changes, and we’d rather an athlete like this be moving a lot at the plate to help ensure he’s getting to as much of that power as possible, even if it means living with a lot of strikeouts. There’s a wide range of outcomes possible for a talent like this, ranging from Carlos Gomez to Colby Rasmus to B.J. Upton to Drew Stubbs to Jake Marisnick. Harrison is a premium athlete with good makeup who should get plenty of opportunity to cure his own ills at the big league level. We think he’s likely to be frustrating, but reasonably valuable, and possibly have some star-level seasons in his late twenties. 4. Sandy Alcantara, RHP Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic (STL) Age 23.4 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 65/65 55/55 45/50 55/60 40/45 93-97 / 99 We’ve learned a lot about Alcantara’s stuff based on the data we have from his 2017 relief-only cup of coffee with St. Louis and from his larger, eight-start September 2018 carafe with Miami. The Marlins gave Alcantara his curveball back after it appeared that St. Louis had shelved it late last year, but there’s now release point data supporting the anecdotal evidence that the right-hander raises his arm slot when he throws it. It’s also clear that despite high-end velocity, Alcantara’s fastball isn’t going to miss that many bats. He’s created greater demarcation in the movement between his four and two-seamers, that latter of which pairs well with his improving changeup, which now projects to be Alcantara’s best secondary pitch. There’s a strong chance he either ends up in relief due to issues with his fastball efficacy stemming from limited command and movement, but even if that’s the case, he’s a four-pitch reliever with two plus offerings, and that probably plays at the back of a bullpen. 45+ FV Prospects 5. Nick Neidert, RHP Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2015 from Peachtree Ridge HS (GA) (SEA) Age 22.2 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/45 45/50 60/60 55/60 89-91 / 94 A quintessential changeup/command righty, Neidert carved up Double-A hitters with surgical precision and ended his 2018 with a 25% strikeout rate and 5% walk rate in 152 innings. Big leaguers with similar peripherals and similarly below-average velocity include Zack Greinke (whom Neidert mimics, mechanically), Marco Gonzales, and Kyle Hendricks. There’s precedent for success in spite of poor velocity, and several of those case studies tout changeups and fastball command, but many of them also involve a deeper repertoire than Neidert has, which is rounded out by a pedestrian curveball. Without something else, Neidert projects as more of a No. 4 or 5 starter than he does a mid-rotation arm. He’s only 22, so there’s a chance that happens. There’s also a chance his changeup and command become elite and he mimics Kyle Hendricks’ career very closely. 6. Victor Victor Mesa, CF Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Cuba (MIA) Age 22.5 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 40/55 50/50 30/45 65/65 50/60 60/60 It took four trades for bonus space to sufficiently pad the Marlins’ international free agent coffers in excess of Baltimore’s top mark, or at least to come close enough that the appeal of Miami made up the difference, and snag the Mesa brothers. The pair signed for $6.25 million, $5.25 million of which went to 22-year-old Victor Victor. Mesa began playing in Cuba’s Series Nacional when he was 16. He had a breakout ’16-’17 at age 20 and swiped 40 bags while slashing .354/.399/.539. He was seen stateside the following summer during Cuba’s tour of the CanAm League, but didn’t play well. After he defected, teams’ only looks at Mesa were in a workout setting. Cuban prospects have sometimes undergone drastic physical transformations between the point at which they’ve last been observed in Cuba and their workouts for teams. Sometimes these changes are positive, as with Luis Robert, who looked like an Ancient Greek sculpture when he worked out for teams in the Dominican Republic in 2017. Sometimes they are not; Yasiel Puig’s living conditions made it impossible for him to remain in baseball shape for his eventual workout in Mexico. But this was not the case with Mesa, who retained the sort of physicality he possessed during his last several years in Cuba. He ran a plus-plus 60-yard dash time, threw well, and hit some balls out to his pull side during batting practice. Mesa has a linear, contact-oriented swing that we think will lead to below-average power output in games. He can hit, defend, and add value on the bases, but there’s real doubt about the game application of his power. In aggregate, it looks like an average to slightly below-average offensive profile on an above-average defender at a premium position, which amounts to a low-risk, moderate impact prospect who should be ready for the big leagues relatively soon. He garners frequent comparisons to Cubs CF Albert Almora. 45 FV Prospects 7. Connor Scott, CF Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Plant HS (FL) (MIA) Age 19.3 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/50 50/55 20/50 70/65 45/55 50/60 Scott was a big name as a freshman at Tampa’s Plant High School during the draft year of teammate and eventual fifth overall pick Kyle Tucker. Scott was his spitting image, with a lanky frame and a loose, gloveless lefty swing. Scott is a superior athlete to Tucker; he has been into the mid-90’s on the mound, with three average or better pitches and 70 speed that profiles in center field. Scott doesn’t appear to like pitching, so scouts haven’t seen him throw much, but he’s easily a prospect in the top five rounds on the hill. The Marlins popped Scott with the 13th pick and there was some disagreement in the industry about his projection. He had a number of minor injuries in the spring and only went to a couple showcases in the summer, so scouts have different reads on his hitting ability, though they agree he has a pretty swing and premium athleticism. Scott’s lanky frame may not fill out much more, but scouts like his makeup and aren’t worried about the swing-and-miss in his pro debut, as he was just getting an early taste of his 2019 assignment in Low-A. 8. Braxton Garrett, LHP Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Florence HS (AL) (MIA) Age 21.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/50 55/60 45/55 45/55 91-92 / 96 Garrett’s precocious use of a strong three-pitch mix led the Marlins to draft him seventh overall in 2016, and signalled that he might move quickly. Instead, Garrett has been limited to just 15.1 pro innings across three seasons due to a poorly-timed Tommy John surgery that cost him all of 2018. To limit his first year’s workload, Garrett did not pitch during the summer of 2016. After some time in extended spring training, he was sent directly to Low-A. After three good starts he was knocked around in his fourth, and removed after 1.2 innings. He had surgery a month later. Though he didn’t pitch during the summer, Garrett threw in Jupiter during the fall and sat mostly 91-92 with average secondaries. Given how little he’s thrown, it would be reasonable for Garrett’s stuff to be a little better across the board next year and look like it did in high school. He still has a mid-rotation ceiling; he’s just now a good bit behind some of the other first round high schoolers from the 2016 rather than way out ahead of them. 9. Jose Devers, 2B Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (NYY) Age 19.2 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 155 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/60 40/50 20/45 60/60 45/55 55/55 Devers was one of just four 18-year-olds in the 2018 Sally League and yet some scouts, who are well aware of the importance of this context, are still skeptical of Devers because he so lacks physicality. There’s universal acknowledgement that Devers must add strength to be a viable big league hitter because he has so little power right now, and aspects of his swing are compromised because he has to cut some mechanical corners just to swing the bat hard. If Devers does get stronger and grow into some pop, he could become very good very quickly, because he can already do everything else. He’s a plus runner, is likely to stay on the middle infield, and has exceptional hand eye coordination and bat control. His 13.5% strikeout rate was among the best in the entire South Atlantic League, irrespective of age. If Devers remains a skinny slap hitter, he probably maxes out as a utility man. We’re cautiously optimistic that he fills out, though we hesitate to point to his 237-pound cousin, Rafael, as genealogical evidence of that possibility, as they bear almost no physical resemblance to one another. 10. Jordan Holloway, RHP Drafted: 20th Round, 2014 from Ralston Valley HS (CO) (MIA) Age 22.7 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/70 55/60 45/50 35/45 95-97 / 99 Holloway has never pitched above Low-A and threw just 7.2 innings all of 2018 as he rehabbed from Tommy John. And yet the Marlins felt compelled to add him to their 40-man roster based on how good he looked during fall instructional league, commanding 95-97 with movement, touching 99, and flashing a plus breaking ball. Holloway had a huge growth spurt in high school and came to pitching late. It’s possible things are just starting to click here. His inexperience and 40-man presence cloud his development. He probably isn’t already a fully realized starter, but he is on the 40-man and is likely to be on some kind of innings limit coming off of TJ. He might get squeezed into a relief role by these circumstances, but scouts were buzzing about this guy in the fall, and he has a chance to break out. 11. Jorge Guzman, RHP Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic (HOU) Age 23.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 182 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/65 50/55 45/55 40/45 95-97 / 102 Guzman has been traded twice: first from Houston to New York for Brian McCann, then to Miami in the Giancarlo Stanton deal. His control regressed pretty badly in 2018 and this, combined with his addition to the 40-man, make it more likely that he ends up in a relief role. Both the quality of his breaking ball and his fastball velocity vary pretty dramatically, but when they’re both dialed in, Guzman can dominate without throwing a lot of strikes, mostly by bullying hitters with his heater. He is stiff, oddly postured, and may not have the necessary athleticism to repeat his delivery. The Marlins should continue developing him as a starter so he gets more reps with both his change (which got better in 2018 and has a chance to miss bats one day) and breaking ball, but we think they’ll pull the ripcord eventually and let Guzman breath fire in late innings. 40+ FV Prospects 12. Zac Gallen, RHP Drafted: 3rd Round, 2016 from North Carolina (STL) Age 23.5 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops 50/50 50/50 50/55 45/50 50/55 91-93 / 94 Viewed as a low-ceiling pitchability arm in college, Gallen reached Double-A just one calendar year after he was drafted by St. Louis, which traded him to Miami in the Marcel Ozuna deal the following winter. Last year he experienced an uptick in velocity and his four-seamer now sits in the low-90s and touches 94. It helped Gallen miss more bats, and he struck out a batter per inning at Triple-A New Orleans. Realistically, Gallen will pitch at the back of a rotation as a No. 4 or 5 starter because nothing he throws is plus and it’s hard to envision him striking out many major league hitters. But if the velo bump last year was just the start of a trend that continues into the future, there might be a bit more here. 13. Edward Cabrera, RHP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (MIA) Age 20.8 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/60 45/55 45/50 35/45 93-95 / 100 Cabrera has prototypical size and arm strength but is almost exactly the same player we wrote up last offseason. He still has issues locating his heater and with his breaking ball’s consistency, though it flashes plus. Because he has two unteachable skills in his elite velocity and ability to spin, Cabrera has significant upside if he improves the remaining aspects of his craft. He’s not likely to fully actualize, but it is possible. There’s a greater chance that some things improve and enable Cabrera to be a No. 4 or 5 starter or late-inning reliever. 40 FV Prospects 14. Osiris Johnson, CF Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Encinal HS (CA) (MIA) Age 18.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/50 60/60 20/50 50/40 40/50 50/50 There are gothic cathedrals in Europe that have smaller gaps between their ceilings and floors than Johnson, who had some of the most explosive but unkempt talent in the 2018 draft class. Johnson’s special bat speed and ability to rotate are both evident to the naked eye, and he also has remarkable bat control for a player who takes such high-effort swings. But everything about his game is very raw and he’ll likely require years of polish before he’s ready for the majors. This is especially evident in his footwork in the box, where Johnson’s stride length and direction are both highly variable. At times, this enables Johnson to turn on pitches on the inner half; at others it wrecks his swing’s balance and composition entirely. There’s also a wide range of potential defensive outcomes for Johnson. He may end up on the middle infield or in center, depending on how his body and infield actions develop, or possibly in an outfield corner. The good news is that Johnson was one of the youngest players available in the 2018 draft and he didn’t turn 18 the middle of October. There’s a lot of time for both him and the Marlins to figure this stuff out, and he has some unteachable talents (the bat speed and bat control) that could drive an offensive profile befitting any position if he transforms into a hitter instead of a swinger. 15. Brian Miller, CF Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from North Carolina (MIA) Age 23.5 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 177 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 45/60 45/45 20/40 55/55 45/50 40/40 Miller had big sophomore and junior years at North Carolina, which helped scouts feel more comfortable about taking him in the top 40 picks because his tools aren’t as loud as some of those drafted around him. He’s an above average runner who projects as average in center field, but his arm and raw power are both below average, so his instincts and hitting ability will have to carry him. His swing has gotten a little more contact-oriented in pro ball, as was evident in his one home run and 12% strikeout rate across 175 pro games. The outcome here is likely somewhere from 40 to 50 FV, which could be a reserve, platoon, or low-end everyday outfielder depending on how the offense progresses. 16. Trevor Rogers, LHP Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Carlsbad HS (NM) (MIA) Age 21.2 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/60 45/50 40/45 50/55 30/45 91-93 / 96 Rogers was a divisive draft prospect. He was considered by teams in the 8-15 range because lefties this size who throw this hard are very rare, but there was trepidation regarding his age (he was well over 19 on draft day) and whether or not he could actually spin a breaking ball. The Marlins took the same route with Rogers as they had the year before with Braxton Garrett; Rogers didn’t throw a single pro pitch in his draft year and instead was sent to Low-A the following May after a few weeks in extended. By that time, Rogers was already 20. He struck out a lot of hitters at Greensboro but was also relatively hittable, and pro scouts have the same issue with his breaking ball as some on the amateur side of the industry did, though it plays okay against lefties because of his lower arm slot. We think the changeup will eventually be Rogers’ best pitch and it might have to be since right-handed hitters get a nice, long look at the fastballs coming out of his hand. We tend to think he winds up in relief or that he’ll be undermined by several seemingly small issues if he starts, which combined will limit his effectiveness. 17. Will Banfield, C Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Brookwood HS (GA) (MIA) Age 19.2 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/40 55/55 20/50 50/45 45/55 60/60 Banfield burst onto the scouting scene as a prep underclassman, looking among the best in his class with above average raw power, a plus arm, and advanced defense. Things didn’t go quite as well in his draft spring, as those three tools continued to stand out, but Banfield’s swing mechanics, feel to hit, and overall hitting projection tailed off a bit. The Marlins like the upside here, with a chance to have an above average defensive catcher who may just need consistent coaching to tease out average offensive upside. Even if there isn’t much movement there, a hindered power hitter with these defensive tools and makeup still could be an everyday catcher with what is being run out there in the big leagues today. 18. Will Stewart, LHP Drafted: null Round, 2015 from Hazel Green HS (AL) (PHI) Age 21.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/55 50/50 45/50 45/50 45/50 89-92 / 94 Stewart was an under-the-radar 20th rounder from an Alabama high school in 2015 and was mostly anonymous his first two pro summers until showing some progress in 2017 during his third summer in a short-season league, then breaking out this year in Low-A. Stewart primarily relies on an above average low-90’s sinker that helped him post a 62% groundball rate in 2018, ranking fourth among qualified pitchers in all of the minor leagues. His slider is his best secondary pitch, but all three grade various versions of average, and his control, if not his command, is above average. The main hurdle for Stewart becoming an innings-eating starter is whether there is enough swing-and-miss in his repertoire, and if his strike-heavy approach will need to change in the upper minors. 19. Garrett Cooper, 1B Drafted: 6th Round, 2013 from Auburn (MIL) Age 28.1 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 50/50 60/60 50/55 30/30 45/45 50/50 A wrist injury jettisoned Cooper’s 2018, when he might otherwise have had an extended big league opportunity due to Justin Bour’s departure. His 2017 breakout was likely somewhat distorted by the hitting environment in Colorado Springs, but the Yankees bought it and traded fringe reliever Tyler Webb to Milwaukee for him as a way of creating depth behind oft-injured Greg Bird, just as they did with Luke Voit the following year. After the 2017 season, the Yankees sent Cooper to Miami during their annual 40-man crunch, and he spent much of his first season dealing with a nagging right wrist contusion and sprain. The runway appears to be clear for Cooper at first base and we think he has the physical tools to be an okay everyday player there, but he has been hurt a lot as a pro and is already approaching his decline phase. 20. Tristan Pompey, LF Drafted: 3rd Round, 2018 from Kentucky (MIA) Age 21.9 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/45 60/60 30/50 50/45 40/45 45/45 Pompey was on the radar for the first round entering his draft year but things didn’t quite go to plan in 2018 at Kentucky. Scouts were turned off by his lackadaisical defensive play and inconsistent approach at the plate, but loved the big power and exit velos to go along with a projectable frame and solid-but-not spectacular performance at the plate. Pompey isn’t a standout runner, defender or thrower, so he’s limited to left field, but the positives I mentioned shone through in his pro debut, hitting his way to Hi-A at age 21. There’s some offensive regression expected in 2019 and eyes will be on Pompey’s attitude to see if he handles things well when he faces adversity, but he’s certainly beat expectations so far as a pro, so we’ll round up on what we had on him pre-draft. 21. Jose Quijada, LHP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Venezuela (MIA) Age 23.2 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/55 55/60 40/45 40/45 90-95 / 97 Quijada performed in Double-A and Triple-A in 2018 and was added to the 40-man this winter. He may have the raw stuff to start but his frame and stamina leave something to be desired, so he fits best in 1-2 inning stints. His fastball and slider are both above average, with the slider flashing plus at times, and his command has improved to be close to average, so there’s plenty here for a left-handed middle reliever. Plus, he’s big league ready. 22. Robert Dugger, RHP Drafted: 18th Round, 2016 from Texas Tech (SEA) Age 23.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/50 55/55 40/45 45/50 45/50 90-93 / 95 Dugger was dealt before the 2018 season from Seattle to Miami in the Dee Gordon trade. He’s a solid inventory pitcher that can play multiple roles and relies on his above average slider, as his velocity and other pitches all hover around average. His velo was down a bit in 2018 relative to the big jump he made in 2017 when he gained 2 ticks on his fastball. When he’s 92-94, touching 96, his slider plays closer to 60; Dugger’s future may be in shorter stints where that could be what he’s throwing in the big leagues on a regular basis. 23. Jordan Yamamoto, RHP Video Drafted: 12th Round, 2014 from St. Louis HS (HI) (MIL) Age 22.7 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/45 50/55 55/60 50/55 50/55 86-92 / 94 Yamamoto was the best pitchability prospect in the Fall League and has super advanced feel and command of several good secondary pitches. He froze guess hitters for six weeks in Arizona, bisecting the plate with his changeup and slider, and changing eye levels with his curveball and fastball. That fastball, though, sits in the upper-80s and dipped down to 86 at times during his starts. It gives Yamamoto little margin for error with the pitch in the strike zone, and caps his ceiling well beneath that of some of the lower probability prospects in this system, which is why Yamamoto is down here even though we like him a lot. There are several potential outcomes here. Yamamoto could be a vanilla fifth starter, or he could fit into a Ryan Yarbrough kind of role as change of pace long reliever. He could be a junkballing reliever who kitchen sinks hitters for an inning at a time, or once through the lineup. The quality of the secondary stuff and Yamamoto’s artistry should enable him to be something despite the lack of velocity, and he’s on the 40-man now, so we may get to see it next year. 24. Thomas Jones, CF Drafted: 3rd Round, 2016 from Laurens HS (SC) (MIA) Age 21.2 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 50/60 30/50 60/55 45/50 50/50 Jones has a great body, beautiful swing, and runs well enough to stay in center field. The rest of his skills are under-developed. Most significantly behind is Jones’ ball and strike recognition, and he may never have a playable hit tool because of it. But he was a two-sport high school athlete who missed early-career reps with a hamstring injury, so there’s a chance some of this stuff is still coming. This is a classic boom or bust type prospect, as there’s a lot of theoretical upside because of his speed, defensive profile, and power projection. 25. James Nelson, 3B Drafted: 15th Round, 2016 from Cisco JC (TX) (MIA) Age 21.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/45 50/50 30/45 55/50 45/50 60/60 Two years ago it appeared as though the Marlins had gotten in on the ground floor of an athletic, projectable junior college player for whom things were beginning to click. Over the last two seasons, Nelson has plateaued, been hurt a few times, and looks to have lost some of the twitch that made him interesting in 2016. At that time it looked like he could grow into an average offensive player and translate his athleticism into plus defense at third, but those traits still only exist in abstraction. Nelson just turned 21 in October, so we’re not totally out on him yet, but he needs to have a bounce-back 2019. 26. Merandy Gonzalez, RHP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2012 from Dominican Republic (NYM) Age 23.3 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 216 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops 50/50 55/55 45/50 45/50 40/45 91-95 / 97 Gonzalez was acquired at the 2017 trade deadline from the Mets for A.J. Ramos. He made a few big league appearances in 2018, mostly in relief, which is the role we have him projected into long term. He throws hard and at times his fastball has natural cut, but it lives in the middle of the zone where it’s tough for Gonzalez to miss bats. His curveball has nasty natural movement but he doesn’t finish it consistently. These two offerings need a bit of polish but should eventually enable Gonzalez to be a middle reliever. 27. Riley Ferrell, RHP Video Drafted: 3rd Round, 2015 from TCU (HOU) Age 25.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops 55/60 55/60 40/45 94-97 / 99 Ferrell was a high profile amateur, closing for TCU and Team USA before Houston took him in the third round in 2015. They didn’t add him to the 40-man this winter and the Marlins took him in the Rule 5 as an MLB-ready middle reliever who flashes two plus pitches at times. The bump in the road that led to not adding Ferrell to the 40-man roster was a shoulder aneurysm that derailed his 2016 season. He needed a surgery that transplanted a vein from his groin into his shoulder in order to repair it, and the industry worried at the time that the injury threatened his career. His above-to-plus stuff is back and Ferrell is at least a big league-ready middle reliever with a chance to be a set-up man. There was some suggestion by scouts that Ferrell wasn’t the type of pitcher who excels with all of the data and information that Houston offered; Miami’s approach with him will reflect that. 35+ FV Prospects 32. Nick Fortes, C Drafted: 4th Round, 2018 from Ole Miss (MIA) Age 22.2 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Fortes was a high-profile prep catcher who has plateaued tools-wise since showcase season three years ago, but has made strides in the craft of catching. His arm is a 45 that can occasionally play at a 50 when his release is quick, but he shows solid average receiving skills to go with above average makeup. At the plate, there’s some raw power, but it’s more of a contact-oriented, line drive approach, helping Fortes profile as a high probability backup who could be a low-end starter if anything outperforms expectations. 33. George Soriano, RHP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (MIA) Age 19.9 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Soriano didn’t pitch in 2017 and we wonder if there was a surgery here, but we haven’t been able to confirm it. He was sent to the GCL last year and pitched pretty well, pounding the zone with 91-93 and a good breaking ball. At almost age 20, Soriano’s frame isn’t especially projectable but we think he’ll throw a little harder and could wind up with two pluses, which, combined with advanced control, makes him a teenage arm to monitor. 34. Davis Bradshaw, CF Drafted: 11th Round, 2018 from Meridian JC (MS) (MIA) Age 20.8 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+ Bradshaw was an under-the-radar juco athlete in the 2018 draft class who the Marlins popped in the 11th round. His pro debut went well, with the 20-year-old excelling at both short season clubs for Miami. Bradshaw is a plus-plus runner who tinkered with the infield in the spring but fits best in center field long-term. He has a good swing and a chance to be a 50 or 55 bat, which would come with little game power. But that, along with his speed and defense, would help make him a high level reserve or low-end regular. The track record is short and BABIP-fueled, but some blazing runners can do that even in the upper levels, so Bradshaw is one to monitor. 28. Joe Dunand, 3B Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2017 from North Carolina State (MIA) Age 23.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Dunand received attention while at a Miami-area high school for a torrid streak of homers and because he’s Alex Rodriguez’s nephew. In college, Dunand’s long-levered swing didn’t create enough contact to put up the big numbers that many hoped for, and it continues to give him problems now. The Marlins continue playing him at shortstop, but he’s a third baseman long-term. His plus raw power still doesn’t shine through as often as you’d like and he’s now 23-years-old, so the clock is ticking for Dunand to show he can be a big leaguer of consequence. 29. Bryson Brigman, 2B Video Drafted: 3rd Round, 2016 from San Diego (SEA) Age 23.6 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Brigman had a swing change in 2018, though it’s still unclear if he’ll do enough offensive damage to be an everyday second baseman. He added the tiniest of leg kicks last season and dropped his ground ball rate from 54% to 40% in the process. He’s hitting more line drives and hasn’t sacrificed any of the plus contact skills that made him famous as an amateur. He’s also very good at second base, enough that some teams may think they can shoehorn him in at shortstop and live with deficient arm strength if it means there’s a plus bat playing there. We just think he’s either a plus glove at second and he’ll either hit enough to be a low-end regular there, or he won’t and his lack of defensive versatility will make it tough for him to be rostered. The makeup reports indicate we’d be wise to bet on the former. 30. Colton Hock, RHP Video Drafted: 4th Round, 2017 from Stanford (MIA) Age 22.9 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ In mid-July, Hock was moved from the bullpen (where he had been in college) to Greensboro’s rotation, and his performance dipped despite the fact that he had often thrown multiple innings as a reliever. He struck out a batter per inning in relief but as a starter his velo was down, his strikeout rate was significantly down (from 24% to 14%), and he was more hittable. It’s a sign his future is in the bullpen as a fastball/curveball middle reliever. 31. Christopher Torres, SS Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (SEA) Age 21.0 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr S / R FV 35+ Torres is pretty interesting — he can play shortstop, he has doubles pop, he walks a ton, and runs pretty well — but he can’t stay healthy. He has never played more than 64 games in a season and that was in his first pro year back in 2015. Torres also dealt with a shoulder injury as an amateur and because of it, the Yankees reneged on their deal with him, which is why he signed with Seattle. He came over from Seattle with Neidert and Dugger in the Dee Gordon trade. He has low end everyday or utility tools, and turns 21 in February. Other Prospects of Note Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.Young Position Players Ynmanol Marinez, SS Albert Guaimaro, RF Sean Reynolds, 1B Keegan Fish, C Victor Mesa, Jr., RF Marinez was a $1.5 million signee in 2017 as a projectable infielder with some feel to hit. He didn’t have a great summer and wasn’t invited to the states for instructional league. Guaimaro is a curvaceous 19-year-old outfielder with average tools. He was young for the Penn League but physically looked like he belonged. Scouts wanted to see him catch as an amateur and Miami briefly tried it, but Guaimaro hasn’t done it for a few years now. Reynolds is a huge, 6-foot-7 first base prospect with big raw power and very little chance of hitting due to lever length. He also pitched in high school, so perhaps the contact comes late. Fish is a Midwest developmental project with modest physical tools and plus makeup. Mesa got a $1 million bonus, but has fourth outfielder tools. Slightly Older Position Players Isael Soto, RF Jerar Encarnacion, RF Riley Mahan, 2B Brayan Hernandez, CF Soto and Encarnacion each have big power but may not make enough contact to profile in a corner outfield spot. The amateur side of the industry was split on Mahan’s defensive future, with some thinking he’d be okay at second and others thinking he’d move to left field. That second group is correct so far, so Mahan needs to hit. Hernandez has fourth outfielder tools and has had issues staying healthy. Near-Ready Potential Relievers Kyle Keller, RHP Tyler Kinley, RHP Chad Smith, RHP Tommy Eveld, RHP Keller’s stuff got better last year and he was 93-96 with an above-average breaking ball in the fall league. Smith also threw really hard in the AFL, up to 99, but his breaking ball is closer to average. Kinley was Rule 5’d by Minnesota last year but returned to Miami mid-season. He sits in the mid-90s and has a hard, upper-80s slider. Eveld has a four-pitch mix. He’ll touch 95 and his secondaries are average. Young Sleeper Arms Luis Palacios, LHP Dakota Bennett, RHP Zach Wolf, RHP Palacios, who is still just 18, was Miami’s DSL pitcher of the year after posting a 62-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He sits 86-92 with good breaking ball feel. Bennett’s fastball currently resides in the mid-80s but his curveball spin rate is plus. Wolf, 21, is another spin rate/deception sleeper who stands just 5-foot-8. System Overview The Marlins’ current regime has been able to install new leadership across their departments and had stronger internal processes in place for at least part of the 2018 season. That doesn’t mean one shouldn’t judge what has happened in their rebuild up until now. But with turnover in the front office, and an increase in overall staffing levels, there should be fewer excuses for underperformance now than there would have been a year ago. Some rebuilds come with front office and tech system overhauls; some demand big transactions right away, as Miami’s did. Others, like those of San Francisco, Baltimore, and Atlanta, can best be described as wait-and-see situations, with a front office that can get a few things working in their favor before the situation calls for significant action. The Marlins’ main story right now is the continued presence of franchise catcher J.T. Realmuto, but his situation will likely be resolved this winter. The Marlins need a good result there, so you can see why they’re hesitant to make a move until an obviously good deal comes along, especially after the mixed-at-best early returns on the Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich trades. While the team’s young core isn’t fully formed, the 2019 big league team will be almost certainly bad matched up against a division that features four competitive clubs. There are some nice pieces that will be in the majors next year, but it isn’t clear what the next Marlins playoff team will look like. Forward momentum on the personnel front is what’s needed, and Miami has their front office ducks in a row now, so this winter marks the start of a key next year or two of asset collection and development.