Three trades. Three top prospects. Three more players to keep an eye on as the Miami Marlins continue their rebuild.
The futures of Jesus Sanchez, Jazz Chisholm and Lewin Diaz could play a valuable part in the process during the next two years.
All three became part of the Marlins organization at the July trade deadline as the Marlins continued to fortify their burgeoning minor-league system.
Sergio Romo and pitching prospect Chris Vallimont went to the Minnesota Twins for first baseman Diaz.
Zac Gallen was shipped to the Arizona Diamondbacks for shortstop Chisholm.
Trevor Richards and Nick Anderson were traded to the Tampa Bay Rays for outfielder Sanchez and relief pitcher Ryne Stanek.
Five pitchers — including three with multiple years of team control — gone.
In return, three left-handed-hitting position player prospects who all rank in the top 12 in the Marlins’ system — and two in the top 100 of all of baseball — that the Marlins hope all will be on the major-league roster by the 2021 season.
“We’ll continue that in our acquisition of talent, that up-the-middle talent, that athleticism,” Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. “But when you think about the hitters we add, we want hitters first. That’s the overall goal is to continue to take steps and get ultimately where we want to go as an organization.”
Sanchez, the lefty-hitting outfielder, is the closest to being ready of the trio. The 22-year-old finished the 2019 season in Triple A and hit .260 with 13 home runs, 63 RBI and 49 runs scored in 113 total games (78 in Double A; 35 in Triple A). Four of his five home runs at the highest minor-league level came in 17 games in the Marlins’ organization.
Sanchez is the Marlins’ No. 3 prospect and the No. 51 overall prospect in baseball according to MLB Pipeline. He could crack the major-league roster at some point in 2020.
Chisholm and Diaz, the Marlins’ No. 4- and 12-ranked prospects, respectively, have a little bit more work to do. Both finished 2019 at Double A Jacksonville, and the Marlins would likely want to wait until 2021 to have them reach the MLB level.
But the club is optimistic about both.
They have already dubbed Chisholm, the No. 54 overall prospect in baseball, as their shortstop of the future. He’s a solid defender, hit 21 home runs last season and stole 16 bases.
There were questions about Chisholm’s high strikeout rate (33.8 percent) and low batting average (.204) when the Marlins traded for him. But the 21-year-old improved his marks in both areas over his short time with the Marlins, hitting .284 and dropping his strikeout rate to 25.5 percent (24 in 94 plate appearances).
With the Marlins signing Miguel Rojas to a two-year contract extension, it affords the team extra time to develop Chisholm and not rush him to the majors.
Diaz’s presence gives the Marlins a true top first base prospect in their system.
The 22-year-old had a power surge at the plate this season, belting out 27 home runs — 13 in 57 games at the Class A Advanced level and another 14 in 64 Double A games— while still hitting .270 overall and playing solid defense.
The Marlins see him as a player who can hit 25 home runs a year at the major-league level.
“I think we see three everyday players in the major leagues,” Marlins director of player development Dick Scott said, “and we see three guys that have some thump to it, that can hit it out of the ballpark.”
More changes to the Marlins’ coaching staff are coming. MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reported late Monday that catching coach Brian Schneider and bullpen coach Dean Treanor will not be retained. Both were on one-year contracts in 2019.