Marlins CEO Derek Jeter: We’re trying to build something that’s special
The Miami Marlins have infused a host of new talent into their minor-league systems under the Bruce Sherman-Derek Jeter ownership group. It was a needed task, considering the organization talent gap between the Marlins’ farm system and the rest of Major League Baseball. And, thus far, it has been a successful move, with the Marlins’ farm system moving from 29th out of 30 teams last year by Baseball America to 14th at the start of this year.
However, it’s worthy to point out that the Marlins did have some talent from the past regime. Five of the Marlins’ top 15 prospects are players the Marlins drafted or signed as international free agents prior to Sherman and Jeter taking over the team. All five have had impressive runs this year. Here’s a look.
LHP Braxton Garrett, No. 7
Garrett, the Marlins’ first-round pick in 2016, had to build up his stamina on the mound and be used with caution early in 2019 after sitting out last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. However, the 21-year-old lefty has picked up the pace as of late. He has thrown at least five innings in each of his last five starts for Class A-Advanced Jupiter and only gave up more than two earned runs in one of those outings. He has struck out 59 batters while walking just 19 through 46 1/3 innings in nine starts. Garrett, if he can stay healthy, uses a three-pitch mix with a mid-90s fastball, a plus curveball and a serviceable changeup and has the potential to be a No. 2 or No. 3 starter.
RHP Edward Cabrera, No. 8
Cabrera, a 6-4 right-handed pitcher the Marlins signed as an international free agent in 2015, very well might have the best stuff of any pitcher prospect in the organization not named Sixto Sanchez. He has a high-90s fastball that has touched triple digits at times, a low-90s changeup and a breaking ball that ranges from 82 to 85 mph. He has held opponents scoreless in five of his nine starts in Jupiter, and hitters have a collective .183 batting average against him. Cabrera has 60 strikeouts to just 16 walks in 47 2/3 innings of work.
RHP Jordan Holloway, No. 13
There’s a theme developing here. Holloway, like Garrett and Cabrera before and like one more player to come on this list, is part of the Jupiter starting pitcher rotation. Like Garrett, Holloway had Tommy John surgery in 2017, but the 6-6 righty with a fastball that touches 99 mph has impressed with the Hammerheads this season. Holloway, the Marlins’ 20th-round pick in 2014, has struck out 51 batters in 44 2/3 innings and is holding opponents to a .160 batting average. His walks are high (30), but he has shown improved command in his past few starts.
OF Brian Miller, No. 14
Miller, the Marlins’ competitive balance pick in the 2017 MLB Draft and the only position player on this list, has been one of the more consistent hitters for Double A Jacksonville this season. He leads the Jumbo Shrimp with a .284 batting average, a mark that ranks 12th in the Southern League. Fourteen of his 61 hits have gone for extra bases (10 doubles, three triples, one home run). He rattled off a 16-game hit streak that lasted from May 17 to June 4, during which time he posted a .394 batting average (26 for 66) with three doubles, a triple, 10 RBI and seven runs scored.
LHP Trevor Rogers, No. 15
Remove one bad start from his repertoire this season — a eight-run shelling against the St. Lucie Mets — and Rogers has put together a strong second season of minor-league baseball. The 6-6 lefty with a mid-90s fastball has not allowed more than three earned runs in a given start outside of that Mets game and has struck out 65 batters against 19 walks over 62 2/3 innings.
Other Marlins minor-league news
▪ Second baseman Isan Diaz, the Marlins’ No. 6 overall prospect, carries an 11-game hitting streak into Triple A New Orleans’ game against the Sacramento River Cats on Monday night. Diaz, obtained as part of the Christian Yelich trade, also has 14 home runs on the season.
▪ Right-handed pitcher Zac Gallen once again put up another strong start for New Orleans, throwing five shutout innings with five strikeouts, three hits allowed and one walk. On the season, Gallen has 104 strikeouts and a 1.57 ERA over 86 innings.
▪ Sanchez’s updated numbers through seven starts this season (two in Class A-Advanced Jupiter and five in Double A Jacksonville): 37 1/3 innings pitched, 44 hits allowed, 18 runs allowed (16 earned runs), 31 strikeouts and seven walks.
▪ Outfielder Magneuris Sierra, who was promoted to Triple A on May 30, is hitting .286 through 10 games with the Baby Cakes after hitting .282 over 48 games in Double A Jacksonville.