Miami Marlins 2019 Preseason Top 10

Monte Harrison
Monte Harrison. Credit: Aaron Whelan

1)

Player: Sixto Sanchez
Position(s): RHP Opening Day Age: 20 2018 Highest Level: High A
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’ Weight: 185 lbs.
Quick Report: The main piece of the deal that sent J.T. Realmuto to Philly, there is little argument to have anyone but Sanchez atop the Marlins prospect rankings. He did miss a significant amount of time last season with elbow inflammation, but it does not appear Tommy John surgery is imminent and the Marlins are confident he will be healthy this season. He is just 6’ and has a low 3/4 arm slot but shows an athletic and repeatable delivery that allows him to spot his electric stuff reasonably well. His fastball sits in the upper-90s and regularly touches triple digits with run. Both his curve and change grade out above-average to plus, while he has shown a developing slider at times. He is the type of guy who could pitch at the front of a rotation, but really projects more like a number two or three for a contender.

 

2)

Player: Monte Harrison
Position(s): OF Opening Day Age: 23 2018 Highest Level: AA
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’3” Weight: 220 lbs.
Quick Report: If there were a slam dunk competition among current baseball players, I am picking Monte Harrison. If I were drafting a football team made up of current baseball players, I am selecting Harrison to be my wide receiver. If I am selecting a baseball prospect to put the ball in play, I am not selecting Harrison. Arguably the best athlete in baseball, Harrison is a plus defender in center and has as strong an arm as they come, but he also struck out more than any player in the minor leagues a season ago. When he does make contact, the ball goes a long way, possessing true plus raw power. He throws the bat head to the ball well, but given the plane he attacks the ball with, he gets under the ball too often, leading to the strikeouts and popups. If he can make some adjustments and become more of a line drive hitter, he could be an all-star, until then he will just be a power center fielder, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

3)

Player: Victor Victor Mesa
Position(s): OF Opening Day Age: 22 2018 Highest Level: DNP
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 5’9” Weight: 165 lbs.
Quick Report: He, along with his brother Victor Jr., signed for a combined $6.25M this off-season, with all but $1M of that going to Victor Victor. Sons of Cuban legend Victor Mesa, Victor Victor found himself playing at Cuba’s highest level at the age of 16 and then representing his country at the WBC at age 20. He is a fantastic fielder, a guy who is already a big league ready center fielder defensively, but the bat isn’t as polished. The raw power is about average but expected to play a little below average despite the loft he creates with his swing. The bat speed is solid and he should be able to make enough contact to be a quality player at the top of the Marlins lineup as early as next season.

4)

Player: Isan Diaz
Position(s): 2B Opening Day Age: 22 2018 Highest Level: AAA
Bats: Left Throws: Right Height:  5’10” Weight: 185 lbs.
Quick Report: Few are as well traveled as Diaz, born in Puerto Rico but moved to Massachusetts at age four where he went on to be a second round pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Two years later he was dealt to the Brewers, along with Jean Segura and Tyler Wagner, for Chase Anderson and Aaron Hill. Two years after that he was one of the many pieces send to Miami for NL MVP Christian Yelich. Diaz has no standout tools, but no standout weakness either. He has a good glove but doesn’t have the greatest of range. The arm is solid, but not strong enough to stay on the left side of the infield. He has above average raw power but has only hit more than 13 home runs once. The bat itself is streaky, easily being under the Mendoza line for a month but then going on a red hot streak the next two weeks. Overall, Diaz is a polished second baseman that could be ready to make in impact in Miami this year.

5)

Player: Nick Neidert
Position(s): RHP Opening Day Age: 22 2018 Highest Level: AA
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’1” Weight: 180 lbs.
Quick Report: A “soft tossing” righty who relies on command and deception thanks to a very good change that could easily be graded as plus, Neidert isn’t the sexiest of prospects, but is exactly the type of guy a team needs to fill out a competitive roster. While the fastball will make the radar gun flash a number that begins with 8, the threat of the change and the movement on the fastball along with some mild deception in the delivery allows the fastball to actually play up well beyond the radar gun readings. His curve can be above average at time giving him a viable third pitch he can throw in all counts. He lacks the high upside often found in the top five of team prospect lists, but his potential to be an innings eater as a third or fourth starter makes him a guy who will be a fan favorite even if he never becomes a household name.

6)

Player: Sandy Alcantara
Position(s): RHP Opening Day Age: 23 2018 Highest Level: MLB
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’4” Weight: 170 lbs.
Quick Report: Proof that you need more than velocity to be a dominant arm, Alcantara regularly hits 99 on the gun, but the fastball is flat so it doesn’t blow away many batters. The pitch that does is the change, which has real depth to it and plays very well off the heat of the fastball. His best breaking ball is the slider thanks to its late cutting action. When with the Cardinals, they removed the curve from his arsenal, something the Marlins allowed him to start throwing again when they acquired him. Problem is the curve comes from a noticeably different arm slot, making it far too easy to read. His command is below average so I see Alcantara more as a late inning reliever than a starter long term.

7)

Player: Connor Scott
Position(s): OF Opening Day Age: 19 2018 Highest Level: Low A
Bats: Left Throws: Left Height: 6’4” Weight: 180 lbs.
Quick Report: The first player on this list to be originally drafted/signed by the Marlins and played for one of their affiliates (Victor Victor Mesa has yet to debut), Scott is an athletic outfielder with a solid all-around game. He has speed that borders on plus, to go with an arm that would play just fine in right but has the defensive instincts to stick in center. At the plate, he is a guy that uses his smooth swing to drive the ball to the opposite field as much as he pulls the ball. There is plenty of raw power in the bat, but he is currently more of a contact hitter who the Marlins are hoping develops game power in time.

8)

Player: Jorge Guzman
Position(s): RHP Opening Day Age: 22 2018 Highest Level: High A
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’2” Weight: 185 lbs.
Quick Report: Just 96 innings and an 0-9 record with an ERA of 4.03 in 21 starts a season ago as a 22-year-old at High A doesn’t exactly scream future impact guy, but the stuff is most certainly impact stuff. He sits in the high-90s, often hitting triple digits, to go with a slider that is well above average and a change that has shown the potential of being a dangerous weapon when paired with that fastball. His command is not good and, while he has primarily been a starter, his future is in the bullpen, where he could become a dominant closer.

9)

Player: Will Banfield
Position(s): C Opening Day Age: 19 2018 Highest Level: Low A
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’ Weight: 200 lbs.
Quick Report: In terms of pure arm strength, Banfield doesn’t have the strongest, but it is above average. What makes his arm play to a plus tool is the fact he releases the ball very quickly thanks to his quick feet and puts in on target. He is a solid receiver of the ball, quite advanced for a 19-year old but not ever going to be a gold glove type guy. There is plenty of pop in the bat, but the bat path is long and contact isn’t there yet. If he can shorten up the swing some to make better contact while tapping into his raw power that could see him hitting 20+ home runs a year, he could become a high-quality everyday catcher. If the contact does not really improve and he is a pop only bat, he can still be a big league catcher who splits time thanks purely to his defensive abilities.

10)

Player: Braxton Garrett
Position(s): LHP Opening Day Age: 21 2018 Highest Level: DNP
Bats: Left Throws: Left Height: 6’3” Weight: 190 lbs.
Quick Report: The seventh overall pick in 2016 and consensus top 100 prospect in baseball heading into the 2017 season, Garrett was a polished high school lefty expected to advance through the Marlins system quickly. Now, heading into 2019, he has a grand total of 15.1 innings pitched as a pro after being held out the summer he was drafted, then having to undergo Tommy John surgery that cost him the end of 2017 and all of 2018 (although he did throw in Fall Instructs). Reports are he looked good in instructs, but this will be a big season for Garrett. In the past he sat in the low-90s with movement while touching 95-96 on the showcase circuit. He has a breaking ball that has curve velo and slider shape but is rather effective and has shown solid feel for a change. Add to that a smooth delivery despite some late effort and mild inconsistencies in his arm slot, and he can throw for solid command. He has the potential to rocket back to the top of the Marlins prospect list a year from now, but he needs a healthy and effective season to do so.

Others of Note:

Edward Cabrera – RHP – 22 – Low A
Zac Gallen – RHP – 23 – AAA
Jose Devers – SS/3B – 19 – High A
Jordan Yamamoto – RHP – 22 – AA
Brian Miller – OF – 23 – AA
Tristan Pompey – OF – 21 – High A
Osiris Johnson – SS/3B – 18 – Low A
Bryson Brigman – SS/2B – 23 – High A

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