The Miami Marlins made it very clear from the start: If they were going to trade All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto, they were going to need to get a quality investment in return.
The Marlins believe they got just that. They shipped Realmuto off to the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday and in return got catcher Jorge Alfaro and fortified their farm system by acquiring the Phillies’ top prospect in right-handed pitcher Sixto Sanchez as well as left-handed pitcher Will Stewart.
Barring something unforeseen, Alfaro should be on the Opening Day roster.
Here’s what you need to know about the other two prospects.
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Sanchez now becomes the Marlins’ top minor-league prospect, checking in at No. 27 in the MLB Pipeline rankings. While he has not pitched above the High A minors, the Dominican right-hander is just 20. Sanchez managed to pitch just 46 2/3 innings last season due to right elbow inflammation. But the Marlins were obviously convinced the issue wasn’t significant after reviewing his medical reports. Sanchez went 4-3 with a 2.88 ERA before being shut down for the year.
He has drawn comparisons to Pedro Martinez.
Sanchez, while likely a few years away from the Major Leagues, has ace potential if he can stay healthy and adds yet another quality young arm to the Marlins’ farm system that already includes Sandy Alcantara, Nick Neidert, Tommy Eveld and Braxton Garrett among a host of other young prospects.
Stewart, 21, was originally selected in the 20th round of the 2015 MLB Draft out of Huntsville, Alabama. The left-handed pitcher played in Low A for the Phillies last year, going 8-1 in 20 starts with a 2.06 ERA (second in the South Atlantic League). He was one of two pitchers in the South Atlantic League to throw a pair of complete-game shutouts. He struck out 90 while walking just 21 over 113 2/23 innings while holding opponents to a .218 batting average.
His fastball is in the low 90s with decent command, but Stewart’s top pitch is his changeup, which sits around 83-84 mph.