Top 41 Prospects: Miami Marlins by Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel December 27, 2019 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. 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. Editor’s Note: Diowill Burgos was added to this list following his acquisition from the St. Louis Cardinals for Austin Dean. Angeudis Santos was added after his acquisition from the Boston Red Sox for Austin Brice. Top Prospects Team Lists 2020 2019 ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG Marlins Top Prospects Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV 1 Jazz Chisholm 22.0 AA SS 2022 55 2 Sixto Sanchez 21.5 AA RHP 2020 50 3 JJ Bleday 22.2 A+ RF 2021 50 4 Edward Cabrera 21.8 AA RHP 2020 50 5 Jesus Sanchez 22.3 AAA RF 2020 50 6 Monte Harrison 24.4 AAA CF 2020 50 7 Lewin Diaz 23.2 AA 1B 2021 50 8 Trevor Rogers 22.2 AA LHP 2021 45+ 9 Connor Scott 20.3 A+ CF 2022 45 10 Braxton Garrett 22.4 AA LHP 2021 45 11 Nick Neidert 23.1 AAA RHP 2020 45 12 Kameron Misner 22.0 A RF 2022 45 13 Jerar Encarnacion 22.2 A+ RF 2022 45 14 Peyton Burdick 22.9 A RF 2022 45 15 Nasim Nunez 19.4 A- SS 2023 45 16 Jorge Guzman 24.0 AA RHP 2020 40+ 17 Osiris Johnson 19.2 A 3B 2023 40+ 18 Victor Mesa Jr. 18.4 R CF 2024 40+ 19 Diowill Burgos 19.0 R RF 2023 40+ 20 Breidy Encarnacion 19.2 R RHP 2023 40 21 Alex Vesia 23.8 AA LHP 2020 40 22 Jordan Holloway 23.6 A+ RHP 2020 40 23 Will Banfield 20.2 A C 2023 40 24 Josh Roberson 23.7 A RHP 2021 40 25 Evan Fitterer 19.6 R RHP 2024 40 26 Jose Salas 16.7 R SS 2025 40 27 Jose Devers 20.1 A+ 2B 2022 40 28 Robert Dugger 24.5 MLB RHP 2020 40 29 Chris Mokma 18.9 R RHP 2023 40 30 Sterling Sharp 24.6 AA RHP 2020 40 31 Brian Miller 24.4 AA CF 2020 40 32 Victor Victor Mesa 23.5 AA CF 2020 40 33 Ian Lewis 16.9 R 2B 2025 35+ 34 Will Stewart 22.5 A+ LHP 2021 35+ 35 Humberto Mejia 22.9 A+ RHP 2020 35+ 36 Cristhian Rodriguez 18.1 R 3B 2024 35+ 37 Dalvy Rosario 19.5 A- SS 2023 35+ 38 Thomas Jones 22.1 A CF 2022 35+ 39 Luis Palacios 19.5 R LHP 2023 35+ 40 Nick Fortes 23.2 A+ C 2021 35+ 41 Tristan Pompey 22.8 A+ LF 2021 35+ Reading Options Detail Level Data Only Full Position Filter All All C 1B 2B SS 3B OF LF CF RF LHP RHP 55 FV Prospects 1. Jazz Chisholm, SS Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Bahamas (ARI) Age 22.0 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr L / R FV 55 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 55/55 45/55 55/55 50/55 55/55 The Marlins seem to have a taste for divisive, polarizing prospects who much of the industry perceives as risky, such as Lewis Brinson, Sandy Alcantara, Magneuris Sierra, and many more of the names currently on this list. That includes Jazz, who was acquired in exchange for Zac Gallen before the trade deadline. The swap meant Miami gave up six years of what looks like a mid-rotation starter for six-ish years of Chisholm, who might be a superstar or strikeout too much to be anything at all. Chisholm has whiffed in 30% of his career plate appearances, partially a product of a sophomoric approach to hitting and otherwise due to him arguably being too explosive for his own good. But that twitch, the violence, Jazz’s awesome ability to uncoil his body from the ground up and rotate with incredible speed, the natural lift in his swing — many of the things that make him whiff-prone also make him exciting, and give him a chance to be an impact offensive player who also plays a premium defensive position. His skillset is somewhere on the Chris Taylor/Javier Báez continuum of strikeout/power offensive profiles at a premium defensive position. We want to see another year of plus walk rates (Chisholm walked 11% of the time in 2019, up from a career 8%) before we declare that to be a true part of the skillset, but the power is real (a 91.4 mph average exit velo would put him in the top 40 of the majors, while 48% of his balls in play being over 95 mph would be in the top 30), the lift is there (he has a career groundball rate in the low 30% range and a 17 degree average launch angle according to a source), and we think he has a chance to be an above-average defensive shortstop, though for the first time we had one dissenting source on the glove. He also performed statistically as a 21-year-old at Double-A. One of several radionuclides in this system, Chisholm has its highest ceiling. 50 FV Prospects 2. Sixto Sanchez, RHP Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (PHI) Age 21.5 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/60 50/55 60/70 50/55 95-99 / 101 Miami had Sixto throw in Extended Spring Training (he threw bullpens until mid-April, then got into games) to control his season-long workload coming off an injury-plagued 2018 (he had visible discomfort in his neck and shoulder early in the year, elbow soreness later on, and skipped Fall League due to collarbone soreness) before sending him to Double-A for the bulk of the summer. There is a gap between how many bats his fastball misses (he has 8% swinging strike rate on the heater, where the big league average on all pitches is 11%) and what you might expect at this velocity (Sixto averages 97, touches 101) because it has sinking/tailing movement rather than ride. Whether Miami player dev can adjust that without compromising Sanchez’s control and health remains to be seen. His changeup, which is one of the better ones in the minors, will be his primary out pitch unless or until that happens. The cambio has bat-missing, screwball action, so much that it dips beneath the barrel of right-handed hitters as well as away from lefties. Sanchez can also run it back over the corner of the glove side of the plate, freezing perplexed hitters. Though his slider has plus spin, it’s horizontal wipe means it needs to be located off the plate to work, but Sixto, especially considering how little he’s pitched in his life and how far backwards his build has gone on him to this point, commands it pretty well. The same arm slot/hand position change that might add more ride to the fastball could add more depth to the breaking ball, but you could argue that such a change is an unnecessary risk considering Sixto’s injury history and how well everything already works. Knowledge of the fastball efficacy gap combined with the injury history has us down on Sixto a little bit. He still has top-of-the rotation upside, there’s just more developmental work to do to get there than we thought there was a year ago. 3. JJ Bleday, RF Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from Vanderbilt (MIA) Age 22.2 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / L FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/55 55/55 45/55 45/40 50/60 60/60 Part of Bleday’s 2019 breakout at Vanderbilt — he hit four homers as a sophomore and slugged .511, then hit 26 as a junior and slugged .717 — was because his 2018 power was hindered by a severe oblique injury that caused him to miss half of the season. Healthy Bleday was not only one of the more polished hitters in his draft class but one of the most physically gifted as well. In addition to having a superlative feel for the strike zone, Bleday is also short to the ball but still creates lift. He murders offspeed stuff, has all-fields ability, and can mishit balls with power — he’s a complete offensive package. He’s also pretty fast, and his instincts in the outfield could make him a plus corner defender. We expect him to move pretty quickly and be an above-average everyday player. 4. Edward Cabrera, RHP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (MIA) Age 21.8 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/60 50/55 45/55 40/45 93-97 / 99 Every year there are a few dozen teenage righties who look like Cabrera did two years ago: big, prototypical frame, mid-90s heat, an occasionally good breaking ball, and command you can dream on if you like the delivery/athleticism. Every once in a while, everything comes together and we end up with a top 100 prospect, and that is exactly what is happening with Cabrera. A slight velo bump and an arm slot change enabled a 2019 ascension (he had strikeout rates around 20% in ’17 and ’18, and roughly 30% in ’19) as Cabrera’s breaking ball now has more downward action. There are clubs who have Cabrera ahead of Sixto on their Marlins org pref list because they prefer Cabrera’s breaking ball and the movement profile on his fastball. His stuff, build, and likely No. 4 starter profile compare pretty closely to the college pitchers who typically go in the top 10 picks of any given draft, and Cabrera has now shown he’s capable of making relevant adjustments without experiencing hiccups in performance, which portends success in future trials. 5. Jesus Sanchez, RF Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (TBR) Age 22.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/50 60/65 30/55 50/50 50/55 60/60 Two of the trades Tampa Bay made last summer — swapping Nick Solak for Peter Fairbanks and Jesus Sanchez for Nick Anderson — made us wonder if we were undervaluing long-tethered, potential late-inning relievers, or at least underestimating their value to immediate contenders or perhaps the impact of 40-man crunch on trade leverage. It also made us worry we were too high on Sanchez himself. We, and much of the industry, are scared of corner-only prospects who clearly lack plate discipline, and Sanchez is one of these (6.5% career walk rate). That, plus Sanchez’s swing still not being fully actualized for power (a seven degree launch angle in 2019, a groundball rate around 50%), means he’s fighting an uphill battle to get to his huge raw power in games, since he’s either swinging at pitches he can’t do anything with or failing to lift a lot of the ones he can. However, Sanchez has some of the most thrilling bat speed in the minors and despite his issues, his talent has enabled him to perform statistically so far. He hits balls very hard (50% of his 2019 balls in play were hit 95 mph or above) and has feel for contact, just not for contact in the air. We think it’ll be enough for Sanchez to be an average everyday hitter, and the Marlins have two option years to try to tinker with the swing and coax out more power if they want to. There’s All-Star ceiling here if they can do it. 6. Monte Harrison, CF Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2014 from Lee’s Summit West HS (MO) (MIL) Age 24.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 40/45 65/65 40/45 60/60 60/60 70/70 Harrison reduced some of the movement in his swing following his move to the Marlins org as part of the Christian Yelich deal, seemingly as a way to find the barrel more often, since good things happen when he does. In his first full season with more of a contact-oriented approach, he cut his strikeout rate from 37% to 30% amid a move to Triple-A, and posted an average statline for the PCL. He hits the baseball very hard — a 93.4 mph average exit velo, per a source, with 52% of his balls in play at or above 95 mph — but not often in the air. We expect what comes from this newfound approach to contact, as well as Harrison’s defensive ability, to result in an average everyday player in aggregate, but the swing-and-miss tendencies, as well as the possibility that Harrison has some huge seasons if he ever hits for power, mean he’s a high-variance player. 7. Lewin Diaz, 1B Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic (MIN) Age 23.2 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr L / L FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 45/55 60/60 50/55 45/40 55/60 50/50 The Twins asked Diaz to shed some weight heading into the 2018 season and he lost so much that the following year, much of the strength that had made him an interesting prospect in the first place had been sapped away. Over time, he was able to add muscle and not only recapture the power he had early in his pro career — resulting in a 2019 offensive renaissance — but to do so while retaining the slick defensive ability he flashed as an amateur before he got big. Diaz is a plus athlete, which is incredible for someone his size, and his infield feet, hands, and actions are all plus. He has a low hand load and a bat path geared for hitting pitches down, so we wonder if big league arms will be able to get him out at the top of the strike zone, but Diaz generally has good feel to hit, he can adjust to breaking balls mid-flight, and he impacts the ball in the air to all-fields. We think he’s a .340 xwOBA guy who also plays plus defense at first, and while ideally he’d be a little more selective, we still think he ends up as a good everyday first baseman. 45+ FV Prospects 8. Trevor Rogers, LHP Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Carlsbad HS (NM) (MIA) Age 22.2 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops 50/55 40/40 50/55 45/50 45/55 90-93 / 96 We were slow to correct our low pre-draft position on Rogers (he turned 20 the fall after he signed and we were skeptical about his breaking ball) as he enjoyed a 2019 breakout at Hi-A, with a 27% K%, 5% BB%, and a promotion to Double-A for his final five starts. The low-80s slurve is still not great and has been usurped by a mid-80s cutter/slider that, considering how quickly Rogers’ fastball/changeup control have developed, should enable him to induce weak contact as he hones it. The lack of a traditional breaking ball will likely be a barrier to true mid-rotation performance, and it’s more likely that, if Rogers is ever to be a No. 3/4 starter, he does so via continued improvement of a hopefully elite changeup or command, rather than the unlikely addition of a viable breaking ball. 45 FV Prospects 9. Connor Scott, CF Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Plant HS (FL) (MIA) Age 20.3 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 has now responded to two pretty bold promotions. The first was during his first pro summer, when Miami promoted him and other recent prep draftees to Low-A for the end of the season. Scott was bad there at the end of 2018, but made adjustments and posted a league-average statline as a 19-year-old in the Midwest League the following year. Scott kept his head above water at Hi-A late in 2019, too, though he did swing and miss much more there. Scott shares some swing components with fellow Plant High School alum Kyle Tucker; he has a similar low-ball proclivity and has shown glimpses of all-fields power. Scott’s frame is broad in the shoulders but otherwise narrow throughout, so he may never grow into big strength, which just makes him more likely to retain his plus speed. Unless unforeseen feel for lift develops, Scott profiles as a table-setting center fielder. 10. Braxton Garrett, LHP Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Florence HS (AL) (MIA) Age 22.4 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 Back after missing 2018 while rehabbing from Tommy John, Garrett cruised through 18 starts (111 punch outs in 95 innings) before he sputtered to a finish in August, a month that included prolonged rest between a couple of starts. At his best, Garrett was living in the low-90s and locating his quality breaking ball to his glove side, which gave him two weapons against right-handed hitters (the changeup is also good) and a finisher versus lefties. His arm action is still short and efficient, same as it was before the surgery, and his pre-injury velocity is back. This isn’t an impact fastball profile, but the quality of the secondaries and Garrett’s command should enable him to pitch toward the back of a rotation. 11. Nick Neidert, RHP Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2015 from Peachtree Ridge HS (GA) (SEA) Age 23.1 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 202 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/40 45/45 50/50 60/60 55/60 89-91 / 94 He struggled to throw strikes during the summer after returning from early-season knee tendinitis, but Neidert looked more like himself during a five-start spin in the Fall League, when he walked just two in 22 innings. Otherwise evocative of a backend starter, Neidert’s out-pitch changeup and location-reliant breaking balls all work and are aided by some of his cross body deception. He doesn’t throw very hard, but the other components should enable him to be more of a No. 4/5. 12. Kameron Misner, RF Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from Missouri (MIA) Age 22.0 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 219 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/45 65/70 30/60 60/55 50/55 55/55 Misner entered his draft spring in the same position of eventual Giants first rounder Hunter Bishop. Both were tooled up outfielders who hadn’t performed to expectations after their first two seasons because their swings were bad, though some of why Misner struggled was also because of a foot injury. He struggled more than was hoped during his draft year, too, especially against SEC pitching (.222/.353/.315), but the raw power/straightline speed combo enticed Miami at pick 35 anyway. He’s a high-risk college bat who needs a swing tweak. 13. Jerar Encarnacion, RF Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (MIA) Age 22.2 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/50 60/60 45/55 30/30 40/45 55/55 Jerar projects to be a player similar to Hunter Renfroe or other corner outfield power bats with less plate discipline than is ideal. Built like an NFL tight end, Encarnacion starts with a closed stance and opens his front side up toward the third base line as he strides. How far he opens depends upon pitch location, which can leave him lunging at breaking balls that he thinks are center cut and end up swirling away from him, but Encarnacion has the power to hit balls out the opposite way, even if he’s fooled, if the pitch catches enough of the plate. He’s sometimes a bit of an adventure in the outfield, but even among polished peers in the Fall League, Encarnacion’s strength and physicality was a cut above, and he should mash his way into a modest big league role within the next couple of years. 14. Peyton Burdick, RF Drafted: 3rd Round, 2019 from Wright State (MIA) Age 22.9 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/45 60/65 35/55 55/55 40/50 60/60 Perhaps no prospect from the 2019 draft buoyed industry opinion during the summer as much as Burdick, who leveled the Midwest League after he signed. His forearms are as thick as support beams and help him generate huge pull power. 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. We tend not to buy heavily into college hitters’ stats at lower levels, but we know more about Burdick’s measurable power now that he’s generated data in pro ball, and it indicates that he might be a four or five-hole masher. 15. Nasim Nunez, SS Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from Collins Hill HS (GA) (MIA) Age 19.4 Height 5′ 9″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr S / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/55 40/45 20/40 60/60 55/70 60/60 Nunez’s pre-game infield is appointment viewing and he had the most athletic footwork and actions in the 2019 draft. It takes a lot of visible effort for him to make throws from the hole, and because of this, there are some clubs who had him evaluated as an elite second baseman before the draft, but we think it’ll work at short. There’s a big gap between Nunez’s present physicality and how strong he’ll need to be to make hard big league contact (his left-handed swing is behind the right), but his move forward is athletic, he rotates, there’s barrel accuracy from the right side already, and enough footspeed to make balls in play a bit of a problem. We don’t anticipate Nunez will become an impact bat, but he projects as a low-end regular because of the glove. 40+ FV Prospects 16. Jorge Guzman, RHP Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic (HOU) Age 24.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 182 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/65 55/55 45/50 30/35 95-97 / 100 Guzman continues to start and he certainly has the stuff for it — in addition to throwing very hard, his changeup and power curveball both flash plus — but his inability to throw strikes (except for an outlier 2017, his walk rate has always been well over 10%) still causes relief projection. He may end up scrapping the changeup in relief since he spikes many of them into the dirt, but the combo of elite velocity and breaking ball depth gives Guzman a shot to pitch high-leverage innings. 17. Osiris Johnson, 3B Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Encinal HS (CA) (MIA) Age 19.2 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/40 55/60 25/50 50/40 40/50 50/50 Surgery to repair a tibial stress fracture in his elbow meant that Johnson, one of the younger players in the 2018 draft, missed his entire first full pro season rehabbing. He played during instructional league and had the same rotational explosion that made teams interested in him in high school despite how raw he was in all facets. We speculated he’d move to the outfield before the draft but our sources who saw him in the fall think it’s more likely he ends up at third base. We still know next to nothing about Johnson’s approach or feel for the strike zone because he hasn’t played much pro ball, and that’s going to be more important if he indeed ends up at a corner, but there’s a chance for big offensive impact here because of the bat speed and Johnson’s ability to rotate. He’s arguably the prospect with the highest variance in a system full of players like that. 18. Victor Mesa Jr., CF Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Cuba (MIA) Age 18.4 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/55 45/50 25/40 50/50 45/55 50/50 The first year of pro ball for the Mesa brothers is an excellent microcosm of the pitfalls of showcase-heavy international scouting. Victor Victor got a big bonus for having workout-friendly tools, while Victor Jr. didn’t blow anyone away before the two signed. But in games, it’s the younger Mesa who scouts liked more after a full year of looks. Victor Jr. has plus instincts and feel to hit, giving him a chance to profile as a glove/contact-oriented center fielder. There’s enough of a frame and leverage in the swing to project for some in-game power down the line, which is what separates this Mesa from the similarly-skilled, 40 FV Jorge Barrosas of the world. 19. Diowill Burgos, RF Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (STL) Age 19.0 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/55 45/55 25/55 40/35 40/50 45/50 The sweet-swinging Burgos has a left-handed cut that looks like Robinson Canó‘s, and George Valera’s. He has a softer, top-heavy frame with bulky shoulders, and probably won’t grow into substantially more power, but he’s already got quite a bit. We’re being a little more aggressive in ranking what is a relatively projectionless, corner-only bat in this situation because we have increased confidence that Burgos will continue to hit for power because of his hitting hands’ talent. Realistically he projects as an average everyday player. 40 FV Prospects 20. Breidy Encarnacion, RHP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (MIA) Age 19.2 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/55 45/55 40/50 40/50 87-91 / 93 He doesn’t throw all that hard right now, but Encarnacion is pretty projectable and his fastball has abnormal spin for a heater with fringe velocity, so if he does throw harder, it has a chance to miss a lot of bats. You can project on the rest of Encarnacion’s stuff with varying levels of zeal, since his arm action is very clean and his curveball has pleasing shape. He’s the best teenage arm in this system and has a chance to be a league average starter in time. 21. Alex Vesia, LHP Drafted: 17th Round, 2018 from Cal State East Bay (MIA) Age 23.8 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/55 45/45 60/60 45/45 91-94 / 95 Vesia seems poised to be the first major league player drafted out of Division-II Cal State East Bay (Joe Morgan attended before transferring to Merritt College) after he reached Double-A during his first pro season. Vesia’s fastball works in the low-90s but it approaches hitters at a very flat angle, and his delivery is tough to time. That, plus his changeup, should enable him to play a valuable bullpen role quite soon. 22. Jordan Holloway, RHP Drafted: 20th Round, 2014 from Ralston Valley HS (CO) (MIA) Age 23.6 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/70 55/60 45/50 35/45 95-98 / 100 Holloway came off of TJ rehab late in 2018 and was setting instructs ablaze with his upper-90s fastball. We thought there was a chance he’d explode in 2019, his first full season since surgery, and emerge as a late-inning relief prospect or maybe even a No. 4 starter, but he walked 66 hitters in 95 innings during his first year on the big league 40-man. Because Holloway holds his velo deep into games and could use the reps, it makes sense for Miami to continue developing him as a starter, even if it means he deals with growing pains as a big leaguer late in the summer of 2020. But ultimately, we think the delivery (stiff and upright with a shorter stride) pushes him to the bullpen. 23. Will Banfield, C Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Brookwood HS (GA) (MIA) Age 20.2 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 55/55 35/50 50/45 45/55 60/60 Banfield continues to track like an Austin Hedges-type of big leaguer: great defense, and pull power he might sufficiently tap into during games to profile as a low-end regular. More likely, he’s a glove-first backup. 24. Josh Roberson, RHP Drafted: 12th Round, 2017 from UNC Wilmington (MIA) Age 23.7 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/55 55/60 40/45 40/45 90-93 / 95 Roberson had Tommy John not long before the 2017 draft, which played a large role in pushing him to Day Three. He returned for 2018 instructs and then pitched out of the Low-A rotation in 2019, battling injury early before settling into a normal workload in late July. He’ll flash a very nasty, two-plane breaking ball and might throw harder (and stay healthy) in a bullpen role. He needs to be added to the 40-man next offseason, which probably increases the bullpen likelihood. 25. Evan Fitterer, RHP Drafted: 5th Round, 2019 from Aliso Niguel HS (CA) (MIA) Age 19.6 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/50 50/55 40/50 40/55 90-92 / 94 Fitterer was often the first player mentioned by our sources who saw the Marlins GCL/instructs group, as he has a traditional fastball/overhand curveball suite and the sort of pitchability you’d expect of an older SoCal high schooler. How much you’re willing to project on his frame and fastball will vary depending on how you balance the traditional-looking frame and Fitterer’s age. We’re on the lower end, but feel pretty confident he’ll have a third good pitch and starter’s command. 26. Jose Salas, SS Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Venezuela (MIA) Age 16.7 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 150 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40 Salas signed for big money ($2.8 million) last July. He’s already filled out and was more of a hands/actions infielder without big arm strength or range to begin with, so we think he probably ends up as a bat-first second baseman, but he could have an impact stick. 27. Jose Devers, 2B Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (NYY) Age 20.1 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 155 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/60 35/40 20/30 60/60 50/55 55/55 Devers fits in a sort of heuristic bucket that historically has been underrated by old school scouting: the small, contact-oriented, up-the-middle prospect. We had Devers on our 2019 Picks to Click list and hoped he’d be on the overall top 100 this offseason. Even though the Marlins have pushed him pretty aggressively (he was sent to Hi-A as a 19-year-old, then the Fall League) and he’s hit a career .278 on his way there, we’re diluting our expectations based on his lack of power and power projection. He can really run and play both middle infield spots well, and there’s lots of visual and statistical evidence in support of the bat-to-ball ability, but the quality of contact is limited, and Devers is so narrowly built that we’re skeptical he’ll grow into any sort of power. We now consider him a lefty utility bench piece. 28. Robert Dugger, RHP Drafted: 18th Round, 2016 from Texas Tech (SEA) Age 24.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/45 55/55 45/45 45/50 50/55 87-93 / 95 Into the middle of the summer, leading up to the trade deadline after he’d thrown some at Triple-A, our sources who’d seen Dugger had his fastball sitting 90-93. A month later he was in the big leagues and his fastball averaged 90 mph toward the season’s end. We’re hopeful the early-season Dugger, who was up to 95, is what we see next spring. He’ll be a ready-made fifth starter who has a standard, four-pitch mix and plus slider command. 29. Chris Mokma, RHP Drafted: 12th Round, 2019 from Holland Christian HS (MI) (MIA) Age 18.9 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/50 40/50 45/55 40/55 89-93 / 94 He was a tad old for the draft class, but there are other reasons to dream on Mokma’s stuff. He has a projectable, shooting guard build, he’s from a cold weather state, and his delivery is fluid and repeatable. It sounds like the curveball Mokma used in high school has already been shelved in favor of a new slider, but the fastball/changeup combo is what might end up missing bats, and the ceiling on the command seems high based on his athleticism. 30. Sterling Sharp, RHP Drafted: 22th Round, 2016 from Drury (WSN) Age 24.6 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/45 40/40 55/60 55/60 88-91 / 93 Miami’s Rule 5 pick, Sharp is currently a sinker/changeup backend starter or swingman type whose breaking ball effectiveness depends on a combination of command and Sharp’s unique delivery. His frame, athleticism, and nomadic, small-school pedigree give him an outside shot to become a No. 4/5 starter if he can somehow find more velo or a better breaking ball. 31. Brian Miller, CF Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from North Carolina (MIA) Age 24.4 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 177 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 45/55 45/45 20/30 55/55 45/50 40/40 Now 24, it’s pretty clear that Miller isn’t going to end up with the kind of power necessary for him to profile in an everyday capacity, and he may not even be a good enough center field defender to be a low-end regular or fourth outfielder. We do love his feel for contact as a lefty bench bat who can play center and left, so we consider him a high-probability fifth outfield prospect. 32. Victor Victor Mesa, CF Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Cuba (MIA) Age 23.5 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 40/50 50/50 20/30 60/60 60/60 70/70 When Victor Victor signed, and occupied about $5 million of the Marlins $6 million outlay for both Mesa brothers, the industry viewed him as a likely fourth outfielder or low-end regular in center field, comparable to Albert Almora Jr. Part of why he was valued was because of his big league proximity relative to most players on the July 2 market, and while the industry acknowledged the volatility in the Cuban player market due to sporadic reps against live pitching, Mesa was considered a relatively stable prospect. He went to Hi-A and had a putrid season, slashing .252/.295/.283 (not a typo) before an unwarranted promotion to Double-A; Mesa was also poor in the Fall League. The length of his swing prevents him from getting on plane with the baseball and hitting for any power, though he does have pretty good feel for the barrel. He’s a good center field defender with a laser arm, and he appears to be a plus runner out there, though Mesa is already notoriously difficult to get max-effort run times out of. We still think there’s a chance for Victor Victor to be a fourth outfielder, but something with the swing needs to change to enable more in-game power or there will just be better bench outfield candidates hanging around. 35+ FV Prospects 33. Ian Lewis, 2B Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Bahamas (MIA) Age 16.9 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 150 Bat / Thr S / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/45 30/45 20/40 70/70 40/55 50/50 Quick as lightning, Lewis is a frame/athleticism projection infielder who is currently weak with the bat. Depending on how his swing and power develop as he matures, he could be a well-rounded second baseman with elite speed. 34. Will Stewart, LHP Drafted: 20th Round, 2015 from Hazel Green HS (AL) (PHI) Age 22.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 30/45 45/50 45/50 45/50 50/55 87-89 / 91 Acquired as part of the J.T. Realmuto return, Stewart’s velo tanked last year, 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 in 2019 than he had in his entire career. He’s a bounce-back candidate who projects as a No. 5 starter if his sinker velo comes back. 35. Humberto Mejia, RHP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Panama (MIA) Age 22.9 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/50 55/55 40/45 45/50 90-93 / 95 Mejia turns 23 in March and he’s only thrown 23 innings above Low-A, but he has a riding fastball with plus-plus vertical movement and a viable curveball, so the Marlins added him to their 40-man. He needs to locate his fastball at the top of the zone more often and should be a fine middle reliever if that — and a velo boost out of the bullpen — occurs. 36. Cristhian Rodriguez, 3B Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Venezuela (MIA) Age 18.1 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/50 45/55 20/50 40/35 40/50 50/55 Scouts who saw Rodriguez during instructs really like his long-term physical projection and consider him one of the toolsier low-level hitting prospects in this system, but he did strike out a concerning amount in the DSL. 37. Dalvy Rosario, SS Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (MIA) Age 19.5 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/40 40/50 25/45 55/55 45/55 55/55 Rosario’s swing cuts some mechanical corners because he lacks present strength, but he has a great frame and can play several positions, including the middle infield and center, so he should be monitored closely. Miami pushed him to the Penn League as a teenager, so his poor 2019 statline doesn’t carry much concern. 38. Thomas Jones, CF Drafted: 3rd Round, 2016 from Laurens HS (SC) (MIA) Age 22.1 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 45/55 30/50 55/50 45/55 50/50 His triple slash line doesn’t look great, but Jones actually put together an above-average offensive season for the Midwest League (111 wRC+), his first in full-season ball. He remains a low-probability, long-term physical projection prospect (same as when he was drafted) and it’s growing more important for Jones to develop impact power because he’s started to see more time in a corner. 39. Luis Palacios, LHP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Venezuela (MIA) Age 19.5 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’ early-career numbers are incredible — in his last two seasons, he’s struck out 104 hitters and walked just six in 104 innings — but we can’t find scouts who love him because his stuff is just okay and he’s not all that projectable. He is fairly deceptive and obviously throws a lot of strikes, but we’re skeptical of the stuff playing at the upper levels unless Palacios grows into more heat than we expect. 40. Nick Fortes, C Drafted: 4th Round, 2018 from Ole Miss (MIA) Age 23.2 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 40/50 40/40 30/35 40/40 45/50 55/55 An athletic, catch-and-throw guy with above-average feel for the barrel, Fortes likely has backup ceiling. 41. Tristan Pompey, LF Drafted: 3rd Round, 2018 from Kentucky (MIA) Age 22.8 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr S / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 60/60 30/50 45/40 40/45 45/45 Pompey entered his junior year at Kentucky as a potential first round pick, a good-framed switch-hitter with plus raw power. He started slow and several teams were off him for preceived makeup stuff, so he fell to the third round. In pro ball he has had problems with injuries (two IL stints in 2019, one for a fractured foot), strikeouts, and hitting the ball in the air. He needs to perform in 2020 to stay on the list, but he’s too talented to come off of after one bad pro season, especially because injury stuff likely contributed to the poor performance. Other Prospects of Note Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category. Projectable Pitching Eury Perez, RHP Delvis Alegre, RHP Mairo Doble, RHP Maycold Leon, LHP You can order these four in a lot of ways depending on your preference. Perez is 6-foot-5 and 155 pounds, and doesn’t turn 17 until early April. His fastball was way up last summer, touching 95 after he was just a projectable 83-86 when he was scouted. Alegre, 18, is the most polished of the bunch and arguably the most athletic. He has a four-pitch mix and is up to 95. Doble (up to 92) is more projectable but less athletic. Leon is 17 and only semi-projectable, but he’s a plus athlete with an overhand delivery that creates ride on his fastball (he currently sits in the upper-80s) and depth on his breaking ball. Thumpers Sean Reynolds, 1B James Nelson, 3B Joe Dunand, 3B Lazaro Alonso, 1B Evan Edwards, 1B Lorenzo Hampton, RF Reynolds is kinda freaky. He arguably has 80 raw and his average exit velos are near the top of the scale, but his levers are so long they need an intermission, and it’s unlikely he makes enough contact to get to first base-worthy power. Nelson is the most athletic of this group and has a body built for longevity but he hasn’t performed at all since his odd breakout, which we’re now several seasons removed from. Dunand is a strikeout-prone right/right corner infielder; Alonso has more playable power right now but is first base only. Edwards and Hampton are good-bodied 2019 draftees with big raw. Possible 40-Man Arms George Soriano, RHP Julio Frias, LHP Colton Hock, RHP MD Johnson, RHP Zach Wolf, RHP Soriano hasn’t taken the step forward we hoped he would; he still has three average pitches and a frame that may portend more velocity. Frias is a low-slot lefty who touches 97 with a lot of running movement, but his command is very poor and it affects his secondary quality. Hock and Johnson touch the 94-96 range and live just beneath it with elite fastball spin. Both might be middle relievers. Zach Wolf has a data-friendly fastball because he’s 5-foot-8 and it comes in very flat. It might work in relief. Post-Publication Acquisitions Angeudis Santos, SS Santos is a lanky, very projectable switch-hitting infielder with advanced ball/strike recognition. He’s an interesting developmental project. System Overview At a time when many teams are trending toward seeking concrete, measurable traits, shorter developmental timelines, and prospects who have lower outcome variance, the Marlins have targeted toolsy, high-risk prospects who might struggle because of unstable contact profiles, but otherwise have premium physical ability. This type of player runs through the farm system like a very wide river, which began flowing as soon as the current regime arrived and started the rebuild. Lewis Brinson, Sandy Alcantara, and Magneuris Sierra were the first round of high-profile names we saw acquired and they’re all still simmering, at best. This type of prospect also pretty clearly runs through the hitters more frequently than the arms. Zac Gallen (later flipped), Nick Neidert, Jordan Yamamoto, and Robert Dugger don’t really fit this description. While Miami has acquired this sort of player at an abnormal rate, they’ve also skimmed off the top of the Quad-A tier fairly well. Harold Ramirez has real raw power and a shot to make a swing change, Jon Berti is a versatile, 70 runner, and any of Garrett Cooper, Jesús Aguilar, or Jonathan Villar might end up tradable or on an ascendant Marlins team. You can see how, so long as some of these prospect really hit, at least some of supporting pieces are being conjured on the undercard.