I first saw Nick Neidert in the 2015 AZL after he was selected in the second round by the Seattle Mariners. He absolutely dominated in his 11 starts that season and was eventually traded to the Miami Marlins along with Christopher Torres and Robert Dugger in exchange for Dee Gordon. He has only pitched as a starter as a pro but will likely see his debut come as a reliever, although moving back to the rotation is a definite possibility. He has a good fastball, but it is made even better by the fact he has a changeup that flashes the potential of a plus offering. When in the pen, he will rely heavily on these two offerings, both of which he can put right where he wants, but he can also mix in a solid slider and a get-me-over curve as well.
Jordan Holloway’s draft round is misleading, as he slipped to the 20th round due to signability concerns, but eventually opted to turn pro. At 6’6” and 230 lbs. with a fastball that has touched triple digits, he has the chance to be an impact reliever for the Marlins. He has worked almost exclusively as a starter in the minors, but his lack of command and a change that is incredibly inconsistent has long made it a long shot for him to be a viable rotation option at the big league level, but the big curve and power fastball to go with excellent length and extension are tailor-made to be a high-leverage reliever.
After four years at D-II Cal State East Bay, the Miami Marlins got a clear steal in the 17th round when they took Alex Vesia in 2018. He pitched at two levels that season and put up an ERA of 1.35 over 14 outings and 33.1 innings. In 2019 he managed to see time at three levels, threw exactly double the innings as the year before, and put up an ERA of 1.76, including a cool 0.00 in 16.1 innings at Double-A. he capped off the year with over ten scoreless innings in the Arizona Fall League. He brings a fastball that sits up to 95, a change that has plenty of fade, and a curve that is quite effective against fellow lefties. He should settle in well as a middle reliever, which is a fantastic return on the Marlins $25k investment coming out of the draft.
The final piece to make the Marlins bullpen is one of the best young personalities in the game, Rule 5 pick Sterling Sharp. He was another low round selection, going in the 22nd out of Drury University, a D-II school he transferred to from Eastern Michigan, to the Washington Nationals. Sharp impressed in the AFL this Fall after seeing time in Double-A each of the past two seasons. He has an outside shot at eventually finding his way into a rotation thanks to a three-pitch mix that features an above-average fastball and change to go with a slider that is still below-average at this point. He has walked less than 2.5 per nine innings in his minor league career, so he knows how to pound the zone.
Quick Report: Cream of the crop of an impressive recent influx of talent over the past year plus. He has a thick lower half that should allow him to handle a big innings number. He varies his arm slot slightly between traditional 3/4 slot and just lower with mild effort late in the delivery. He shows both a two and four seam fastball that are plus-plus offerings to go with advanced feel for a change and a breaking ball he manages to command even when altering speeds. He is a front line starter and could knock down the door to Miami this season.
Quick Report: Selected fourth overall, Bleday was a star for perennial powerhouse Vanderbilt and should be that for Miami as well. He lacks any real speed, so the value comes completely form the bat and arm, two things he has plenty of. He shows good instincts to make up for his lack of speed in right and has a plus arm. At the plate he has natural lift in his bat plane that allows him to drive the ball while making plenty of contact. He should become a 30+ home run guy and hit .275.
Quick Report: The big question on Chisholm is whether or not he sticks at short. If he does, his value is obviously increased, if not a move to center is likely in the cards. There are holes in the bat that lead to more swing and miss than you want from a guy with above average speed. The bat gets long and will lead to slumps, but he has much more pop than you expect from a guy his size. Ultimately, I think he sticks at short and is an average defender who only hits .250 but can put up 20+ home runs.
Quick Report: Another guy with a big bat and strong arm, Sanchez has all the tools needed to be a quality right fielder and an above-average defender there. At the plate the raw power is legitimately plus, although he has not shown massive power numbers in games yet. He needs to improve his eye at the plate as he swings wildly and chases too often and doesn’t walk enough. When he stays within himself, he has very good bat control, he just doesn’t stay controlled often enough. There is real boom or bust in the tools, but if all comes together he could become a borderline All Star.
Quick Report: There is a ton of risk in Cabrera despite making it to AA in 2019. He has still has plenty of room to fill out and there is plenty of athleticism in the delivery leading to a good 3/4 arm slot. The command is still a big question meaning he may be best suited for a bullpen role where his fastball flirting with triple digits will play well and the breaking ball is a bit slurvy but plays well. If the change and command improve, he can be a quality number three starter, but chances are the bullpen will be his long term role.
Player: Monte Harrison
Opening Day Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: AAA
Weight: 220 lbs.
Quick Report: Harrison has all the tools, and the Marlins are hoping 2020 is the season they all come together. He will never be a guy who makes a ton of contact, but the ball absolutely flies off the bat, and he can fly down the line. He is a quality defensive centerfielder with an arm that would be borderline plus even in right. There is little question Harrison is one of the 25 best players employed by the Marlins today, but I would anticipate he has to start in AAA before being an early season call up.
Quick Report: I am incredibly high on Misner, but I do want to see more success as a pro before I go all in on him. I believe he has enough athleticism to hold down a job in center but could be an elite defender in right. He has a ton of swing and miss which led to him falling to 35 rather than being a top ten pick but the bat is an impact bat when at his best. He has a very good tournament a season ago and I expect him to sky rocket up lists this season as a guy who could hit 25+ home runs and hit .265.
Quick Report: This is where the system somewhat fall off a cliff as Harrison is likely to be the final impact player on this list and there was plenty of internal debate on who to place at seven, and the upside of Diaz won out. The power in the bat is the best potential carrying tool of any of the final three players on the Marlins list. There are plenty of long levers in the swing, but those also allow for the ball to really jump and carry although the hands stay low and can be beat with elevated velocity. Defensively Diaz is purely a first baseman, but he could be a quality defender at the position.
Quick Report: Garrett is proof a smooth delivery does not ensure longevity, as he has already had to undergo TJ in 2018. The delivery has almost no effort leading to a good extension out of a high arm slot. The fastball is average at best, but he has a curve that is already above-average and cold develop into plus, and a change that is a likely average offering as well. Add to that solid command and you have a guy who is pretty safe to earn a role in the back of a rotation, but lacks any real impact pitch.
Quick Report: The big question on Rogers is whether or not he will ever develop a reliable breaking ball. He has shown attempts at a slider, curve, and cutter, but none have ever given any real confidence in being better than average if it even gets there. He can sit in the mid-90s with his fastball but it plays harder given the good extension off a long body. His best pitch might be the change which he commands really well. He may be able to find his way into a rotation with just two quality pitches, but it is more likely he is a two pitch reliever.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.