Miami Marlins

Marlins promote prolific hitting prospect; Realmuto regaining his rhythm at the plate

Miami Marlins outfield prospect Austin Dean was promoted to the majors on Wednesday and added to the team’s 40-man roster.
Miami Marlins outfield prospect Austin Dean was promoted to the majors on Wednesday and added to the team’s 40-man roster. Miami Marlins

He’s had arguably the most productive hitting season of any Marlins’ prospect in the minors this season.

On Wednesday afternoon, Austin Dean got his first crack at the majors.

The Marlins recalled Dean from Triple A New Orleans on Wednesday and optioned utility player Christopher Bostick to the Baby Cakes.

Dean, a fourth round draft pick of the Marlins in 2012, was added to the Marlins’ 40-man roster filling the spot vacated by pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne after he was traded to the Los Angeles Angels for cash considerations late Tuesday night.

Marlins’ CEO Derek Jeter has said multiple times this season that the players the organization feels are performing the best will get opportunities.

Dean, 24, has hit .326 with nine home runs and 54 RBI in 87 games (316 at-bats) at New Orleans. Before that, Dean hit .420 with three homers and 14 RBI in 22 games (81 at-bats) at Double A Jacksonville.

“He’s just a guy that’s been able to use the whole field and handle different pitches,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “He’s been able to hit the fastball, which is a good sign because he’s going to see a lot of those up here.”

Dean, the club’s No. 28 prospect per MLB Pipeline, played 649 minor-league games over the past six years - seeing action on every Marlins’ affiliate - to earn his major league opportunity.

“When I got called up to Triple A it was my second time getting promoted during a season,” Dean said. “I think the organization is doing a good job promoting guys that are doing well and deserve to show they can play.”

Dean, who was born in Spring, Texas, the same hometown of former Marlins’ great Josh Beckett, played with a lot of the players on the Marlins’ active roster at one level or another on his journey to the majors.

“This has been a dream of mine since I was a little kid,” Dean said. “I still can’t really even take it in yet. I’m just excited to be with the guys.”

Dean said his parents, his girl friend of five years, his trainer and his agent all attended Wednesday’s game. He said his girl friend, Sarah Kirby, was the first person he told when he got the news of his promotion.

“We’ve been together for five years so she’s been with me through the long haul of this process,” Dean said. “When I told her she busted out in tears. She’s been a huge support in my life and keeping me sane in this journey in baseball. My dad’s had a huge influence in my life in baseball and so has my mom.”

With Martin Prado on the disabled list with a left quad strain for at least eight more days, and Miguel Rojas also ailing from a bruised left ankle, Brian Anderson moved back to third base on Wednesday.

Dean started in left field where he played 66 games in the minors this season. Dean also played in right field 37 games.

Last week, Dean was named the Pacific Coast League’s Player of the Week hitting a league-best .647 in five games.

“He’s had a tremendous season and it’s always nice when players put themselves on the radar,” Marlins President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill said. “He’s opened a lot of eyes this year. He’s taken a big step forward this year. He mastered Double A and we wanted to see how he’d respond to the challenge of Triple A and he continued the same quality at-bats. Suffice to say given our injury situation we definitely talked about him and how he might possibly fit.”

IMG_Marlins_Braves_Basea_2_1_63E9AV9K_L411002203.JPG
Miami Marlins’ J.T. Realmuto follows through on two-run base hit in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018 in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore) John Bazemore AP

REGAINING HIS STRIDE

J.T. Realmuto, who tied the game in the third with a two-run home run and gave the Marlins a brief lead with a single in the fourth inning of Tuesday’s 10-6 loss, seems to have broken out of a recent slump he’d been mired in since the All-Star break.

Over the past six games, Realmuto is 7 for 17 with a home run, two doubles and five RBI. He has also walked four times and overall has reached base in 12 of his past 23 plate appearances. Realmuto hit .186 (11 for 59) from July 22 to Aug. 8.

“I’m feeling better and starting to see the ball better,” Realmuto said. “I went through that slump where I was a little late and wasn’t swinging at good pitches.”

THIS AND THAT

The Marlins traded Despaigne to the Angels for cash considerations. Despaigne, 31, opened the season in the Marlins’ rotation before being moved to the bullpen and was eventually optioned to Triple A New Orleans. This season, Despaigne went 2-0 with a 5.31 ERA in 20 1/3 innings with 18 strikeouts and eight walks. Despaigne is 13-21 with a 4.76 ERA in 331 career major-league innings.

Lewis Brinson (hip bone bruise) played his first rehab game at Double A Jacksonville on Tuesday and went 0 for 3 with a strikeout.

Kyle Barraclough (lower back stiffness) threw about 20 pitches in a simulated game Wednesday.

COMING UP

Thursday: OFF.

Friday: Miami Marlins RHP Dan Straily (4-5, 4.42 ERA) vs. Washington Nationals TBA, 7:05 p.m., Nationals Park.

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