Top 46 Prospects: Miami Marlins

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. As there was no minor league season in 2020, there are some instances where no new information was gleaned about a player. Players whose write-ups have not been meaningfully altered begin by telling you so. Each blurb ends with an indication of where the player played in 2020, which in turn likely informed the changes to their report if there were any. As always, I’ve leaned more heavily on sources from outside of a given org than those within for reasons of objectivity. Because outside scouts were not allowed at the alternate sites, I’ve primarily focused on data from there, and the context of that data, in my opinion, reduces how meaningful it is. Lastly, in an effort to more clearly indicate relievers’ anticipated roles, you’ll see two reliever designations, both on my lists and on The Board: MIRP, or multi-inning relief pitcher, and SIRP, or single-inning relief pitcher.

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 Future Value’s merits and drawbacks, read Future Value.

All of the numbered prospects here also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It can be found here.

Marlins Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Max Meyer 22.1 R SP 2021 55
2 Sixto Sánchez 22.7 MLB SP 2021 55
3 JJ Bleday 23.4 A+ RF 2021 55
4 Jazz Chisholm 23.2 MLB SS 2021 55
5 Edward Cabrera 23.0 AA SP 2021 50
6 Trevor Rogers 23.4 MLB SP 2021 50
7 Jose Salas 18.0 R SS 2025 45
8 Peyton Burdick 24.1 A RF 2023 45
9 Nick Neidert 24.4 MLB SP 2021 45
10 Jesús Sánchez 23.5 MLB RF 2021 45
11 Kameron Misner 23.3 A CF 2022 45
12 Jerar Encarnación 23.5 A+ DH 2022 45
13 Nasim Nunez 20.7 A- SS 2023 45
14 Lewin Díaz 24.4 MLB 1B 2021 45
15 Osiris Johnson 20.5 A 3B 2023 40+
16 Eury Perez 18.0 R SP 2025 40+
17 Dax Fulton 19.5 R SP 2025 40+
18 Connor Scott 21.5 A+ CF 2022 40+
19 Yiddi Cappe 18.7 R SS 2025 40+
20 Kyle Nicolas 22.2 R SIRP 2024 40+
21 Monte Harrison 25.7 MLB CF 2021 40+
22 Victor Mesa Jr. 19.6 R CF 2024 40+
23 Ian Lewis 18.2 R 2B 2025 40+
24 Evan Fitterer 20.8 R SP 2024 40
25 José Devers 21.4 A+ 2B 2022 40
26 Braxton Garrett 23.7 MLB SP 2021 40
27 Zach McCambley 22.0 R SP 2024 40
28 Zach Pop 24.6 MLB SIRP 2021 40
29 Chris Mokma 20.2 R SP 2023 40
30 Griffin Conine 23.8 A RF 2022 40
31 Diowill Burgos 20.2 R DH 2023 40
32 Anthony Bender 26.2 AA SIRP 2021 40
33 Josh Roberson 24.9 A SIRP 2021 40
34 Víctor Víctor Mesa 24.7 AA CF 2023 40
35 Jordan Holloway 24.8 MLB SIRP 2021 35+
36 Paul Campbell 25.7 MLB MIRP 2021 35+
37 Will Stewart 23.8 A+ MIRP 2021 35+
38 Yoelvis Sanchez 19.0 R CF 2024 35+
39 Cristhian Rodriguez 19.3 R 3B 2024 35+
40 Dalvy Rosario 20.7 A- SS 2023 35+
41 Will Banfield 21.4 A C 2023 35+
42 Nick Fortes 24.4 A+ C 2021 35+
43 Jorge Guzman 25.2 MLB SIRP 2021 35+
44 Tristan Pompey 24.1 A+ LF 2021 35+
45 Breidy Encarnacion 20.4 R SP 2023 35+
46 Luis Palacios 20.8 R SP 2023 35+
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55 FV Prospects

1. Max Meyer, SP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Minnesota (MIA)
Age 22.1 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 196 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/70 65/70 45/55 30/45 94-98 / 101

I was too low on Meyer before the draft. I saw him up to 101 mph in his first start of the year when he threw a lot of well-located sliders in the 89-92 mph range and struck out several Oregon Ducks. But his stuff and command waned later in the outing, which gave me relief-risk concern, though I should have realized the context for the look (it was his first outing of the season) was likely at play. He proceeded to dismantle TCU (10 K in 5.2 IP), North Carolina (CG, 1 BB, 14 K), and Utah (8 IP, 15 K) in the following three weeks before the shutdown, mostly with the fastball/slider combo, though he did flash a good changeup on occasion, too. Fold in some of the peripheral projection elements I like to bet on (Meyer was also an important offensive player in college, he’s a great on-mound athlete, and he’s coming from a cold weather school) and you can go nuts projecting on the things (mostly the changeup, command, and in-start stamina) that complete what could be a front-end profile. (Alternate site)

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (PHI)
Age 22.7 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 234 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 50/50 60/70 50/55 95-99 / 101

Even though Sixto’s 2020 debut reinforced strong, previously-held scouting reports, we still don’t know exactly how he’ll look over a truly complete season of starter’s innings, which is largely the case across baseball after a lost/shortened year. Recall that Miami brought him back gingerly in 2019 after he had an injury-riddled ’18; he first dealt with neck/shoulder issues, then elbow, then neck/shoulder again. Shoulder issues once again popped up during 2021 spring training and have run into the start of the regular season. These issues are part of why I’m a little lower on Sixto on the overall top 100 than the public tends to expect. The other reason is because of his fastball’s shape. Some of my previously-held concerns about the playability of Sánchez’s fastball (it’s really hard, but only generated an 8% swinging strike rate on its own against 2019 minor leaguers; the big league average on all pitches is 11%) were allayed by him developing a second type of heater. He now has a pretty well-defined four- and two-seam variants, and good arm-side command of the two-seamer. In aggregate, he still missed bats at a rate just below league average, but he also generated a ton of weak groundballs with his fastballs, so I still consider the pitch to be plus.

His changeup, which had been one of the better ones in the minors for a while, will continue to be his primary out pitch. It has bat-missing, screwball action, so much that it dips beneath the barrel of right-handed hitters as well as away from lefties. Sánchez can also run it back over the glove-side corner of the plate for looking strikes. Though his slider has plus spin, the shape and quality of its movement are variable and location-dependent. Sánchez’s command, especially for someone who throws as hard as he does and who converted to pitching later than most others, is pretty advanced, and if he ends up with plus command of three good pitches (one of them great), he’ll likely make some All-Star teams, but he slides just a tad because of his injury history and because I don’t think his fastball can dominate consistently even though it has elite velocity. (Alternate site, MLB)

3. JJ Bleday, RF
Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from Vanderbilt (MIA)
Age 23.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / L FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/55 55/55 45/55 45/40 50/60 60

There’s no change to Bleday’s report: 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 — a complete offensive package. He’s also pretty fast, and his instincts in the outfield could make him a plus corner defender. I expect him to move pretty quickly and be an above-average everyday player. Even though it’s dictated by circumstance (the pandemic), it feels odd to write that about a 23-year-old who has played just 38 pro games. (Alternate site, Fall Instructional League)

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Bahamas (ARI)
Age 23.2 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 184 Bat / Thr L / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/40 60/60 50/55 60/60 55/60 60

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 and 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 very well. His skillset is somewhere on the Chris Taylor/Javier Báez continuum of strikeout/power offensive profiles at a premium defensive position, though the low-end of his potential outcomes looks like Freddy Galvis: a plus-gloved shortstop who hits for power, but with an OBP around .300.

I wanted to see another year of plus walk rates before declaring that to be a true part of the skillset (Chisholm walked 11% of the time in 2019, up from a career 8%), but the pandemic made that impossible and Jazz earned the everyday second base job in Miami with his 2021 spring performance. His 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 Jazz is athletic enough to be a plus defender at shortstop. The contrast between Chisholm and the ultra-steady Miguel Rojas is very stark, and it will be interesting to see how Miami handles the dynamic there over the next couple of seasons. (Alternate site, MLB)

50 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (MIA)
Age 23.0 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 Marlins have been pretty cagey about what sort of “infection” ultimately ended Cabrera’s work at the 2020 alternate site. Before he was shut down, though, his alt site pitch data indicated his changeup might have become an elite weapon. There are already folks in baseball who prefer Cabrera to fellow Marlin Sixto Sánchez because his breaking ball has more two-plane sweep than Sixto’s lateral slider. Like Sánchez, Cabrera’s fastball spin axis resides in a bat-missing Bermuda Triangle and it doesn’t generate swings and misses even though it’s very hard. While there’s almost no strike-throwing relief risk here, there is some related to injury. In addition to his weird 2020 infection, Cabrera has dealt with a biceps nerve issue early in 2021, and only began playing catch again shortly before this list published. If healthy, he’s likely to contribute to the big club in 2021 either as yet another young rotation piece or as a three-pitch relief weapon with huge stuff, which Miami sorely lacks at the back of their bullpen. (Alternate site)

Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Carlsbad HS (NM) (MIA)
Age 23.4 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / L FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 40/45 55/60 60/60 91-96 / 97

I don’t think Rogers will ever have a good breaking ball, but I do think his arm slot will help it play enough against left-handed hitters to be a viable third offering against them. His ability to locate it consistently to his arm side looks better early in 2021 than it has in the past. All the other components — rare lefty velocity, a plus changeup, plus command, an elite frame suggesting athletic longevity — are here in a low-slot package that gives hitters fits. He was up to 97 last year, with his velocity climbing a bit in each successive outing, and he was living in the 93-96 range. Once a very risky, old-for-the-class high schooler, Rogers is now a stable 2 WAR starter prospect. (Alternate site, MLB)

45 FV Prospects

7. Jose Salas, SS
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Venezuela (MIA)
Age 18.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 191 Bat / Thr S / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 45/60 25/50 60/50 35/45 50

Salas signed for big money ($2.8 million) in July of 2019 and is the highest-variance prospect in this system. Even at 17, this is a broad-shouldered, up-the-middle teenager who already has pretty impressive pop. Salas had “the look” at 2020 instructs, filling out a uniform as well as anyone in the 2020 Jupiter/West Palm contingent even though he was only 17. He puts on quite a show during BP, at least as a lefty hitter. His lefty cut has some length but also has serious, lift-inducing leverage, and Salas can put balls out to all fields. His righty swing is borderline unusable right now, but remember we’re talking about a super young switch bat; he deserves time to hone that righty feel to hit.

After instructs, Salas went to Venezuela to play winter ball against grown men and really struggled. The length in his swing was exposed and he K’d in about half of his at-bats. He saw time at both middle infield spots and all three outfield positions while in Venezuela. Because Salas is already filled out and seems very motivated to be in the weight room, he’s not likely to stay at shortstop and has a better chance of leaning on his good hands and actions at second base. The swing-and-miss piece is scary. Heuristically, Salas and Cubs shortstop Reggie Preciado belong in the same FV bucket, but the mechanical length creates some distance for me. He could be a Top 100 prospect in a year or a giant swing-and-miss red flag might reveal itself on paper. Several players behind Salas on this list have more likely big league utility than he does, but almost none of them have his ceiling. (Fall Instructional League, Venezuelan Winter League)

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2019 from Wright State (MIA)
Age 24.1 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 40/50 60

Perhaps no prospect from the 2019 draft buoyed industry opinion during his post-draft summer as much as 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 well under slot 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 (.276/.366/.490) and visual reports.

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. Wright State has an excellent program and college baseball in the Midwest is quite good, but we are talking about a small-school and an old-for-the-level performer here, a 24-year-old who hasn’t played above A-ball yet. But Burdick also has middle-of-the-order power and has begun to lay a foundation of excellent performance. He was a 2020 Pick to Click who got no 2020 season to prove it. (Fall Instructional League)

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2015 from Peachtree Ridge HS (GA) (SEA)
Age 24.4 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 45/45 60/60 60/70 90-93 / 95

Neidert has been a high-probability No. 4/5 starter for what seems like forever now, and he’s very likely to exhaust rookie eligibility in 2021. Any list of pitchers who might end up having a similar career trajectory as Kyle Hendricks‘ should start with Neidert, who has the plus changeup and command of, and some mechanical similarities with, the Cubs righty. I’ve seen him sit 86-91 at times but he’s been more 90-94 of late, aided by some mechanical funk and deception. Though his diving changeup is his best pitch, Neidert’s most-deployed offering during his short big league career is his terse, mid-80s slider, which he commands with sniper-like precision to his glove side. He’ll also dump in a mid-70s curveball on occasion, a pitch that has enough depth to work as a change of pace offering used to get ahead in counts. The Hendricks-level outcome is obviously at the far right tail of what’s possible here, and it’s much more likely Neidert ends up a pitchability No. 4/5. (Alternate site, MLB)

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (TBR)
Age 23.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 222 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 70/70 30/50 50/50 50/50 60

We’ve basically had 70 Sánchez plate appearances to watch over the last 12 months. He was at the 2020 alt site and got about 30 PA in the big leagues, the first of his career, then played pretty consistently for Toros del Este in the Dominican Winter League before a limited 2021 big league spring run due to a groin injury that shut him down in mid-March. He is a flawed but super-talented player with among the most electric bat speed in pro baseball and a huge lefty cut that produces some epic home runs, though probably not enough to make him an everyday player even though he’s talented enough to be one.

I, like much of the industry, am scared of corner-only prospects who clearly lack plate discipline, and Sánchez is one. He’s run a 6.5% career walk rate and tends to get himself out by making poor swing decisions. Additionally, Sánchez’s swing has not fully actualized for power (a seven degree average launch angle in 2019, a groundball rate around 50%), so he’s fighting an uphill battle to get to his huge raw juice 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. Despite this, Sánchez has performed statistically so far: he’s a career .291/.337/.452 hitter, though he has begun to show cracks at Double-A and above, where he’s slugging under .400 in 135 games. Again, if you watch Sánchez’s bat speed, you’ll find it ludicrous that he’s not hitting for power. He hits balls very hard (50% of his 2019 balls in play were hit 95 mph or above) and he has feel for contact, just not for contact in the air. A pro scout recently said to me, “The thing about hitting the ball really hard on the ground is that it’s still really hard, and difficult to turn into an out.” It’s likely Sánchez does enough to be a platoon option. (Alternate Site, MLB, LIDOM)

Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from Missouri (MIA)
Age 23.3 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 218 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 60/60 35/50 60/60 50/55 55

Misner entered his draft spring in the same position as 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/straight line speed combo enticed Miami at pick 35 anyway. His post-draft summer wasn’t great, as Misner failed to hit for power in the Midwest League. Fast forward a little over a year and Misner’s swing remains the same (if there’s been a subtle change then I’m missing it), which means he’ll be limited to damaging mistakes made in the middle of the strike zone like he was in college. Because he can play a pretty good center field, there’s a world in which Misner has a substantial big league role even with an incomplete offensive profile, it’s just probably one closer to the 1.5 WAR area. (Fall Instructional League)

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (MIA)
Age 23.5 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/50 60/60 45/60 30/30 40/45 55

Since he was at the alt site all year, there’s no real change to Jerar’s blurb except for the bit at the end about where he ends up defensively: 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 and the Marlins gave him reps at first base during 2021 spring training, which did not go well. He’d be a near-term beneficiary of the universal DH. Encarnacion’s strength and physicality should enable him to mash his way into a modest big league role within the next couple of years. (Alternate Site)

13. Nasim Nunez, SS
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from Collins Hill HS (GA) (MIA)
Age 20.7 Height 5′ 9″ Weight 158 Bat / Thr S / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 40/45 30/35 60/60 55/70 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 I 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, and there’s barrel accuracy from the right side already and enough footspeed to put pressure on opposing defenses. He was very late on everything he swung at during his brief 2021 big league spring training glimpses. I don’t anticipate Nunez will become an impact bat, but he projects as a low-end regular because of the glove, and if he falls short of that he’ll probably still have a decade-long big league career as a glove-first utility guy. (Fall Instructional League)

14. Lewin Díaz, 1B
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic (MIN)
Age 24.4 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 217 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/45 60/60 45/45 45/45 60/70 50

The Twins asked Díaz 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 do so while retaining the slick defensive ability he flashed as an amateur before he got big.

Díaz is a plus athlete, which is incredible for someone his size, and his infield feet, hands, and actions are all plus as well. He has a low hand load and a bat path geared for hitting breaking balls and low pitches, and over the course of watching him in the big leagues and at length during his time playing for Estrellas Orientales, I’m pretty scared that big league arms will be able to get him out with velocity at the top of the strike zone. You could argue that Díaz is actually in a pretty good position to hit in an environment that looks like it might soon feature more breaking pitches than fastballs, but if pitchers can beat him with topside velo, that’s how they’ll attack him. The low-end outcome here is a career like James Loney 로니‘s, with well-below average offense for the position but great defense. Eric Hosmer is the higher-end version of this. (Alternate site, MLB)

40+ FV Prospects

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Encinal HS (CA) (MIA)
Age 20.5 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 211 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 55/60 35/50 50/40 40/50 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. Kiley and I speculated he’d move to the outfield before the draft but our sources who saw him in the fall thought it was more likely that he’d end up at third base, and that continued to be the sentiment after he was seen in 2020 instructs, as well. He’s much more muscular now than he was when he was drafted.

We still know next to nothing about Johnson’s approach or feel for the strike zone because he hasn’t played much pro ball due to his injury and the pandemic, 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 with breathtaking verve. (Fall Instructional League)

16. Eury Perez, SP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (MIA)
Age 18.0 Height 6′ 9″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/60 45/50 45/60 25/55 91-94 / 95

The revelation of Miami’s instructs, Perez was the youngest pitcher on the roster and the most exciting. He sat 91-95 with mechanical grace and ease, reaching back for heaters in the 94-95 range when he wanted. A scout who saw Perez during 2020 instructs and has seen Giants pitcher Sean Hjelle, who is also built like a skinny power forward, thinks Perez matches Hjelle in athleticism and fastball playability but has markedly better secondary stuff. He has fairly advanced feel for a curveball and changeup, not just for a teenager this size but for a teenager, period. Perez doesn’t have your typical teenager pitcher’s body/velocity projection. Indeed, he’s such a rare case that the range of outcomes is tough to have a natural feel for. Sure, he might fill out and throw super hard but it also feels like there are also some pitchability, Doug Fister-type outcomes that could occur, too. Regardless, I think you have to take him over Dax Fulton (who follows him on this list) since Perez is a year and a half younger, hasn’t had a surgery, has been seen throwing in actual games more recently, and has better body composition than Fulton. (Fall Instructional League)

17. Dax Fulton, SP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from Mustang HS (OK) (MIA)
Age 19.5 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/60 55/60 40/50 20/50 91-95 / 96

There’s no change to Fulton’s report as he was rehabbing from TJ throughout 2020 and was only seen by my sources throwing in the bullpen during instructs, though they thought he looked good doing so: Fulton is a gigantic lefty who creates tough angle on his stuff and repeats his delivery surprisingly well for a pitcher his age and size. His curveball has late vertical action and projects to plus, and Fulton has advanced feel of a mediocre changeup. He’s a remarkable athlete for his size and has a bit of a narrower, Dragan Bender-type of frame that’s perhaps a little less projectable than his measurables would otherwise indicate. Regardless, Fulton throws quality strikes with two impact pitches and already has nascent feel for a third. He had TJ late during the 2019 summer and should return in 2021. (TJ Rehab)

Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Plant HS (FL) (MIA)
Age 21.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 187 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 50/55 30/50 70/70 45/60 60

Reports on Scott coming out of 2020 instructs were not great, and one source went so far as to wonder if he should have been drafted as a pitcher. Last year, I wrote that Scott shares some frame and 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 but doesn’t have quite as good of feel for the barrel toward the top of the strike zone. Well, that flaw may have been more thoroughly exposed in the fall and during 2021 spring training.

Conversely, Scott has 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, which is impressive. He kept his head above water at Hi-A late in 2019, too, though he did swing and miss much more there. How he handles topside velo is going to be huge because that pitch is so common in the big leagues now. Scott has a chance to be a table-setting center fielder if he can get on top of those letter-high heaters. (Alternate site, Fall Instructional League)

19. Yiddi Cappe, SS
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Cuba (MIA)
Age 18.7 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/50 45/55 20/50 55/55 45/50 60

There are differing opinions on Cappe, with some teams enthusiastic about the lanky, toolsy shortstop’s upside while others see him as a workout type with questions surrounding his in-game ability, specifically his feel to hit. He hit the market way back in 2019 when many teams had already committed their pool money, and was rumored to have made a $3.5 million deal with Miami to wait 12 months until July 2nd of 2020 when pools reset. That became a longer wait because of the pandemic and he ended up signing in January 2021. (International signee)

20. Kyle Nicolas, SIRP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from Ball State (MIA)
Age 22.2 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 223 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 55/60 45/45 30/30 30/40 92-94 / 97

The power-armed Nicolas took a big step forward on the 2019 Cape, sitting in the mid-90s, hitting 99, and flashing a plus, mid-80s slider. The effort in his delivery and the fact that Nicolas spent most of his sophomore year and summer on the Cape in the bullpen fueled pretty consistent relief projection, but I think Nicolas is an average athlete with a sturdy, workhorse build, and was pitching with an arm action that looks relatively easy to clean up. The 2020 version of Nicolas, when he made four starts before the pandemic ended the college season, indeed looks like a reliever but his arm action’s length seems to lead to his scattershot fastball. I don’t expect him to ever have pinpoint command, but with the way his heater works, I don’t think he needs to. What is harder to identify is his ultimate repertoire outlook. Nicolas threw about 85% fastballs in 2020. His slider, which is really hard and has back foot utility against lefties, could be plus but he’ll need a third pitch to start. I think the fastball and slider have really strong playability and that Nicolas could end up in a leveraged relief role just through a more consistent release. (Fall Instructional League)

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2014 from Lee’s Summit West HS (MO) (MIL)
Age 25.7 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/30 70/70 40/40 70/70 60/60 70

A god-like, multi-sport high school athlete, Harrison still stands apart from most of his big league peers for his physique, athleticism, raw power, and arm strength. Even though he reduced some of the movement in his swing following his trade to the Marlins as part of the Christian Yelich deal, he still struck out 51% of the time during his 2020 big league debut; strikeouts have long been an issue for him. His swing has very limited playability in the zone; he can really only connect with pitches around the down-and-in part of the zone, and he’s often cutting down at that stuff and driving it into the ground. His leg kick was once again big in 2021 spring training but it didn’t have discernible impact on his output. Harrison’s speed and defense make him a viable fifth outfield sort and the possibility that he might run into a dinger here and there makes him a situational pinch hitting option, too. He has unbelievable physical ability and is a passionate, ultra-competitive guy, so I think there’s a chance he keeps working and working until things click and he ends up performing more like a 45 or 50 eventually. I just don’t think it’ll happen immediately. (Alternate site, MLB)

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Cuba (MIA)
Age 19.6 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 187 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

The first year of pro ball for the Mesa brothers is an excellent microcosm of the pitfalls of showcase-heavy international scouting. Víctor Víctor 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. He’s a muscular kid but has a compact frame that doesn’t allow for big raw power projection, so the feel for contact is what will need to carry water on the offensive side and drive most of his production. As I start to prefer shorter-levered hitters to their lankier counterparts, that seems pretty feasible for Mesa, even if it’s in more of a platoon role than in an everyday capacity. (Fall Instructional League)

23. Ian Lewis, 2B
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Bahamas (MIA)
Age 18.2 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 177 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/45 30/45 20/40 70/70 40/55 50

Much of the focus surrounding the teenage hitters on this list centered on how they looked when they arrived at instructs in the fall, and Lewis is one who took a sizable step forward in the physicality department without compromising his twitch and straight line speed. He was weak with the bat as an amateur but showed noticeably more pull-side pop during 2020 instructs. We still know very little about the feel to hit aspect here, as scattered looks at Lewis in the fall didn’t really clarify any of that, but Lewis is an obvious up-the-middle athlete who appears to be growing into some power. The year off arguably hurts him less than others because he was so young to begin with and only now is he close to the age of the average draft-eligible high schooler. He’s a priority complex-level follow for clubs. (Fall Instructional League)

40 FV Prospects

Drafted: 5th Round, 2019 from Aliso Niguel HS (CA) (MIA)
Age 20.8 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 192 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 45/50 50/55 40/50 35/55 90-92 / 94

Fitterer was often the first player mentioned by sources who saw the Marlins’ GCL/instructs group in 2019, as he has a traditional fastball/overhand curveball suite and the sort of pitchability you’d expect of an older SoCal high schooler (he has a four-pitch mix). 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. I think he’s likely to have a bevy of near-average offerings except for the curveball, which will likely be above. He’s tracking like a No. 4/5 starter, and he could be on the Peter Lambert style fast-track. (Fall Instructional League)

25. José Devers, 2B
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (NYY)
Age 21.4 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 174 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/60 35/40 20/20 60/60 50/55 55

I really want to like Devers because he’s my kind of player: a speedy, contact-oriented up-the-middle guy. But I find myself skeptical because he’s just so slight of build and has concerningly-low exit velos. Both his average exits and rate of balls in play at or above 95mph (4%) are 20s on the scouting scale; the low-end of big league hard hit rates are around 12% (David Fletcher, Nick Madrigal, guys like that). He’s especially adept at slicing contact to the opposite field much like Luis Arraez — who himself was an underrated prospect with a skillset like this — but even he hits the ball much harder than Devers. The feel for contact here isn’t so elite, as I considered it to be with Madrigal, that I’m willing to set the rest aside and still bet on Devers becoming an everyday kind of player. Because he can really run and play both middle infield spots well, I do think he’ll end up carving out a bench role of sorts. (Alternate site)

Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Florence HS (AL) (MIA)
Age 23.7 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 202 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/40 45/45 55/55 50/50 50/55 91-92 / 96

Garrett made his big league debut last year and now projects as a fifth starter. He has a short, repeatable arm action and wields four vanilla pitches; his fastball has settled into the 91-93 range over the last couple of years. His slider and changeup are both pretty hard for a guy who only throws about 92, with each routinely sitting in the 83-86 mph range. His best chance of missing bats comes via a well-located curveball, and Garrett does a great job of living just beneath the zone to his glove side with it. He’s a lower-variance fifth starter prospect likely to play a depth role in the big leagues this year. (Alternate site, MLB)

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2020 from Coastal Carolina (MIA)
Age 22.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/45 20/55 70/70 40/45 30/45 89-93 / 95

After working in a swingman role as an underclassman, McCambley had a great 2019 Cape and came out of the gate hot as a starter last year, striking out 32 in just 25 innings before the shutdown. He worked 89-93, touched 95, and his curveball was perhaps the best in the entire draft. It bends in anywhere between 77-83 mph and it regularly embarrasses hitters into bailing on pitches they think are going to hit them only to watch the ball bend into the zone. McCambley needs a third pitch (he barely threw a changeup in 2020) and to refine his fastball shape and command, but he has a real bat-missing weapon in that curveball. I have him projected to add a slider in pro ball because his feel for spin is just so good that it might as well be taken advantage of via another breaking pitch. A lot of dominos need to fall for him to start, but if they don’t, all he needs is a little velo bump to be a playable relief piece. (Fall Instructional League)

28. Zach Pop, SIRP
Drafted: 7th Round, 2017 from Kentucky (LAD)
Age 24.6 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
60/60 50/50 50/50 94-96 / 98

Pop was part of the return package sent from Los Angeles to Baltimore in the Manny Machado deal but he ended up throwing only about 40 innings across parts of two seasons with Baltimore because he missed the back end of 2019 and all of 2020 due to Tommy John. The Marlins made him another of the several TJ rehab guys selected in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft, and largely because they lack in-house relief options with premium arm strength, he seemed like a really good bet to make the club.

Peak Pop looked much like a turbo sinker/slider, high-leverage low-slot reliever with a shot to be a set-up guy does, but he looks more like a very solid middle-inning option now. He was sitting anywhere between 93-98 during 2021 spring training and more commonly lives 94-96. It’s not an in-zone swing-and-miss pitch and instead gets groundballs. Pop’s slider has length, though what looks like early break to my eye provides an early in-flight tell, and hitters seem able to pick it up pretty well. Unless Pop develops feel for locating his sinker just below the knees with greater consistency, this well-located slider will need to act as his putaway pitch. He has fair command of both offerings, but I don’t see a sufficiently nasty offering to slam dunk this guy in the eighth inning or later. (TJ Rehab)

29. Chris Mokma, SP
Drafted: 12th Round, 2019 from Holland Christian HS (MI) (MIA)
Age 20.2 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 194 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 40/50 45/55 25/55 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. The curveball Mokma used in high school has already been shelved in favor of a new slider, and his feel for spinning that pitch has gotten better since last year’s list, enjoying a 400 rpm increase. The fastball/changeup combo was the foundation of the profile here, and you could dream on Mokma’s command because of his athleticism. Now he might also have a viable breaking ball. He’s a dark horse 2021 breakout candidate. (Fall Instructional League)

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Duke (TOR)
Age 23.8 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 213 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/35 70/70 35/60 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 continued in Low-A but, boy, does Conine have mood-altering power. His exit velos and hard hit rate were on par with Yordan Alvarez’s in 2019, though Conine is older than Alvarez and played several levels below him. His performance — .283/.371/.576 with 22 homers, 19 doubles, and a 36% strikeout rate — came in just 80 games because Conine was popped for PEDs (ritalinic acid, a stimulant) and served a 50-game suspension to start 2019. He spent 2020 at the alt site and instructs. Nothing about his year alters his placement here. This is a guy who will either hit enough to keep producing in-game power or he won’t, and based on the track record of guys who strike out this much, there’s real risk he won’t. (Alternate site, Fall Instructional League)

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (STL)
Age 20.2 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 218 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/55 50/55 35/50 30/30 30/30 50

Sourcing on the Marlins’ 2020 instructs definitely tempered some of my enthusiasm for Burgos, who came over from St. Louis in a minor trade for current big-leaguer Austin Dean. Burgos has a good-looking left-handed cut. His best swings look really sweet, but mostly he has a conservative approach that prioritizes contact and lets his strength and the gentle loft in his swing drive the ball for extra-base power. The issue is that he’ll probably end up being a DH. He’s also a softer, top-heavy athlete with bulky shoulders who you could argue has some reverse projection. He’s only 20, after all. But I think Burgos likely won’t grow into much more power and he runs the risk of getting so big that it has real impact on his athleticism and mobility. I still want to keep him alive in the 40 FV tier because I like what I see as good hand-eye coordination, a simple swing, and strength-driven power, enough to play the Vogelbach sort of DH/leverage bench bat role. (Fall Instructional League)

32. Anthony Bender, SIRP
Drafted: 20th Round, 2016 from Santa Rose JC (KCR)
Age 26.2 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
60/60 55/55 40/45 96-98 / 99

Bender was a Royals and Brewers minor leaguer who also pitched in Indy ball in 2019 and ’20 (for the Milwaukee Milkmen!) before signing a minor league deal with the Marlins. He had a very impressive 2021 spring training, striking out 10 and allowing just five baserunners in eight innings of work. Though he was throwing pretty hard in 2019 (93-95, touch 97), he’s throwing even harder now and was consistently 96-98 during camp. He’s a low-slot sinker/slider guy, and with a name like Bender you know the slider is pretty good. He actually threw it more than his fastball during the spring. It’ll typically be in the 85-87 range but tops out at 89, and Bender’s low-ish slot makes it a tough look for righty batters. I think he has a chance to carve out a regular middle relief role at some point this year. (Independent ball)

33. Josh Roberson, SIRP
Drafted: 12th Round, 2017 from UNC Wilmington (MIA)
Age 24.9 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

There’s nothing new here. 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 ’19, 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. A 2021 spring NRI, Roberson never got into a game before being optioned. He also wasn’t at the 2020 alt site or instructs, and teams passed over him in the Rule 5. All of that is somewhat concerning to me, and perhaps an indication I’m too heavy here, but I also don’t have any new info that might justify coming off of him, so I’m sticking to my guns for now. (At-home dev)

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Cuba (MIA)
Age 24.7 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 188 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/40 50/50 30/30 60/60 60/60 70

When Víctor Víctor signed, and occupied about $5 million of the Marlins’ $6 million total 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 among Cuban players due to sporadic reps against live pitching, Mesa was considered a relatively stable prospect.

He went to Hi-A in 2019 and had a putrid season, slashing .252/.295/.283 (not a typo) before an unwarranted promotion to Double-A; Mesa also did poorly 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. I have him in as a glove-centric fifth outfielder. (Fall Instructional League)

35+ FV Prospects

35. Jordan Holloway, SIRP
Drafted: 20th Round, 2014 from Ralston Valley HS (CO) (MIA)
Age 24.8 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
60/60 45/50 35/40 94-96 / 98

Holloway came off of TJ rehab late in 2018 and was setting instructs ablaze with his upper-90s fastball. It looked like 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. His slider is hard, typically 84-86, and sometimes has nasty vertical action, but it’s pretty inconsistent. His velo has settled into the 94-96 range, topping with some 98s, and Holloway has single-inning relief projection due to the length of his arm action. He fits in an up/down bucket until he can find more consistency. (Alternate site, MLB)

36. Paul Campbell, MIRP
Drafted: 21th Round, 2017 from Clemson (TBR)
Age 25.7 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Command Sits/Tops
40/40 45/45 55/55 55/55 91-93 / 95

Miami’s other Rule 5 pick, Campbell was plucked from Tampa Bay. He’s a strike-throwing long-relief/swingman type with command of two solid breaking balls, the better of which is his low-80s curveball. Campbell also has a cuttery slider in the 86-87 range and a below-average fastball. He’ll be playing an important, length-providing role out of the bullpen before settling in as a depth starter long-term. (At-home dev)

37. Will Stewart, MIRP
Drafted: 20th Round, 2015 from Hazel Green HS (AL) (PHI)
Age 23.8 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/40 45/50 45/50 45/50 50/55 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 had no true 2020 bounce-back season. A source who saw him during 2020 instructs thought his stuff had recovered enough that he might fit in a low-leverage, multi-inning relief role but left exposed to the Rule 5 Draft, Stewart went unselected even after he was seen in the fall. He certainly fits the bill as a funky, middle-inning long man due to his starter pedigree, four-pitch mix and command. (Fall Instructional League)

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (MIA)
Age 19.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 163 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding
20/45 35/45 20/40 60/60 40/55

Scouts liked what they saw of Sanchez during 2020 instructs. He’s a projectable, lefty-hitting outfielder who is likely to stay in center field because he’s a plus runner. Of the previously unheralded teenagers at their camp, Sanchez is the only one with a confluence of body projection and up-the-middle fit. (Fall Instructional League)

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Venezuela (MIA)
Age 19.3 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 55

There were no instructs for Rodriguez, so his report from the fall of 2019 remains the same: Scouts who saw Rodriguez during 2019 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 prior to their looks at him. (At-home dev)

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (MIA)
Age 20.7 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 40/45 30/35 55/55 45/55 55

Rosario’s swing cuts some mechanical corners because he lacks present strength, and reports coming out of 2020 instructs suggest that this is still a problem. But he has a great frame and can play several positions, including the middle infield and center, so I’m still valuing him in this tier hoping that he grows into viable big league physicality as he gets deeper into his 20s. Miami pushed him to the Penn League as a teenager, so his poor 2019 statline doesn’t carry much concern. I’m just on him as a projectable, up-the-middle athlete. (Fall Instructional League)

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Brookwood HS (GA) (MIA)
Age 21.4 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 55/55 35/50 50/45 45/55 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. (Fall Instructional League)

Drafted: 4th Round, 2018 from Ole Miss (MIA)
Age 24.4 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

An athletic, catch-and-throw guy with above-average feel for the barrel, Fortes likely has backup ceiling. (Fall Instructional League)

43. Jorge Guzman, SIRP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic (HOU)
Age 25.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 182 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 55/55 45/50 30/35 95-97 / 100

Guzman spent 2020 at the alt site, had a rough go of it in a single big league inning, then went to LIDOM and again threw just one inning for Gigantes del Cibao. Had I known what is generally understood now about how and why fastballs play when Guzman was acquired, I’d have hit the breaks on his evaluation at the time, even though he was routinely throwing 99 mph or more. There’s still big velo here (93-96, touch 99), just not impact movement. Guzman is a really stiff guy who lacks the touch and feel elements of pitching. He falls behind a lot of hitters, throws many non-competitive sliders and changeups (though they’re good pitches when released right) and his fastball is vulnerable when it’s not located well because it doesn’t really move. There’s still up/down relief hope, though Guzman will need to show he’s healthy coming off of an elbow injury that has kept him out early during the spring of 2021. (Alternate site, MLB, LIDOM)

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2018 from Kentucky (MIA)
Age 24.1 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr S / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/35 60/60 30/50 45/40 40/45 45

There’s no change here, though Pompey is the sort of prospect who needs to perform in 2021 to stay on this list. 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 perceived 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. As I said, he needs to perform in 2020 to stay on the list, but he’s too talented to come off it after one bad pro season, especially because injury stuff likely contributed to the poor performance. (At-home dev)

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (MIA)
Age 20.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/45 45/50 40/50 40/50 87-91 / 93

I got pushback from scouts who saw instructs regarding Encarnacion, who they think lacks the kind of athleticism that would indicate he’s going to throw harder in the future. He doesn’t throw all that hard right now, but he is somewhat 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. Realistically, he’s a fifth starter, and he’s a lower-variance sort than the typical 20-year-old. (Fall Instructional League)

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Venezuela (MIA)
Age 20.8 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 2018 and ’19 combined, he struck out 104 hitters and walked just six in 104 innings — but I 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. Velocity is easier to develop now than it used to be but the frame projection is still part of anticipating growth in this area, at least for me, and Palacios needs to grow into more heat if he’s going to be more than a depth starter type. Still, his statistical performance has been exceptional and there might be something deceptive happening with his stuff that can carry him to something more. (At-home dev)

Other Prospects of Note

Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.

Projectable Pitching
Jake Eder, LHP
Delvis Alegre, RHP
Mario Doble, RHP
Maycold Leon, LHP

Eury Perez was in this group last year but grew four inches and has now added 10 mph since signing. Eder is a lefty with plus velocity who a lot of my sources think could be as high as the 40 FV tier. He certainly has that kind of stuff, he’s just been wild every time I’ve seen him dating back to high school, so I have him toward the lower end of his feasible range. Alegre, 18, is the most polished of this 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. Both were at instructs but didn’t really break out from the year before. Leon is 18 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
Joe Dunand, 3B
Lazaro Alonso, 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. Dunand is a strikeout-prone right/right corner infielder. Alonso has more playable power right now but is first base only; he’s a candidate to play in Asia. Hampton is a good-bodied 2019 draftee with big raw.

Possible 40-Man Arms
Alexander Guillen, RHP
George Soriano, RHP
Zach Thompson, RHP
Colton Hock, RHP
M.D. Johnson, RHP
Zach Wolf, RHP
C.J. Carter, RHP

Guillen has a funky overhand release and it’s super tough to pick up his slider out of hand. He gave hitters fits during the 2019 Fall League, in part because his slider seemed to be especially well-suited for the electronic strike zone at Salt River, where he pitched most of his games. Soriano hasn’t taken the step forward I hoped he would; he still has three average pitches and a frame that may portend more velocity. Thompson has two average pitches (fastball, slider) and 40 control; he’s a fine bullpen depth arm. Hock and Johnson touch the 94-96 range and live just beneath it with elite fastball spin. Both might be middle relievers. Wolf has a data-friendly fastball because he’s 5-foot-8 and it comes in very flat. It might work in relief. Carter probably won’t get there, but I really love watching him change his arm angle and stride direction in several different ways. I’ve never seen anything quite like the way he does it.

Position Player Pupu Platter
Angeudis Santos, SS
Thomas Jones, OF
Brian Miller, OF

Santos is a lanky, very projectable switch-hitting infielder with advanced ball/strike recognition. He’s an interesting developmental project. Jones has long been a toolsy dev project who is now well into his mid-20s and still needs a lot of seasoning. I once considered Miller a high-probability fourth outfielder but he doesn’t seem to have viable bat speed anymore.

System Overview

This is a very, very strong system, and perhaps the toolsiest in baseball. The team has had a taste for hitters with rare power/speed combinations whose industry standing is impacted by their questionable approach at the plate, especially when pro scouting was spearheading the rebuilding effort a few years ago. I once thought the Marlins had acquired so many of those boom or bust type prospects that surely some of them would become stars. That may have been presumptuous. The Yelich trade is the most glaring example of this, as all of those players have struggled to hit. Even as the big club feels like it’s in the NL East mix, Chisholm is the only hitter in the lineup acquired during Miami’s prolonged period of exciting trade activity. Most of the big league Marlins are well-regarded journeyman, solid ballplayers too aggressively non-tendered as they got deeper into arbitration. Whether this will continue to be the club’s modus operandi under Kim Ng is unclear and it might change, because the team isn’t an obvious seller right now. If anything they might act as buyers.

For all of the flawed hitters, pro scouting in Miami has absolutely nailed the pitchers they’ve gotten back in deals: Pablo López, Sandy Alcantara, Sixto, Neidert, and I thought Elieser Hernandez was a sweet Rule 5 pickup. Much like those magical 2003 Marlins, the young foundation of this team is its pitching. With Max Meyer on the way, that should continue.

It’s been a little harder to detect patterns on the amateur side here because they’ve picked toward the top of the last several drafts and just ended up with upper-echelon talent. But they’re willing to take high-upside gambles on high schoolers and guys with relief risk, and this isn’t an org that tends to target contact-oriented players.





Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.

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Cave Dameron
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Cave Dameron

Thank you Eric, very cool!