Miami Marlins

How self-evaluation helped Marlins prospect Connor Scott in his second minor-league season

A cold start to the 2019 minor-league baseball season had double meaning for Miami Marlins prospect Connor Scott.

The Marlins’ 2018 first-round draft pick began the season with the club’s Class A affiliate in Clinton, Iowa, where the average high temperature was 60 degrees in April as he began his first full season of professional baseball.

By the time that first month came to a close, Scott found himself hitting just .137 with just one multihit game over 18 contests.

The Marlins’ No. 14 prospect found himself already playing catch-up.

“You just have to adapt,” Scott said last week, reflecting on the season. “Just make adjustments.”

And Scott, who turned 20 on Oct. 8, finished the season on as high of a note as possible and has the potential to keep turning heads in 2020.

After the tough opening month, the 6-4, left-handed hitting outfielder posted a .279 batting average during rest of his time with the Lumberkings before he was promoted to the Class A Advanced Jupiter Hammerheads on July 30. Scott hit .235 with four doubles, a triple, a home run, five RBI and 12 runs scored in 27 games with the Hammerheads.

“I know I’m a young guy,” Scott said. “You’ve got to spend your time in the minor leagues. You’re going to have your ups and downs, but that’s baseball. Just staying with it and having a positive mind-set really helps me be where I need to be.”

Scott’s biggest self-help tool: Immediate evaluation.

After he finishes an at-bat, Scott quickly analyzes the pros and cons of what he did at the plate.

Did he have a good approach?

Did he swing at the right pitches?

Getting the ball in play is a plus — and ultimately will be a main indicator of how he progresses inside the organization. But for now, Scott said, establishing the fundamentals as he continues to face more advanced pitching.

“If you’re having good at-bats and putting good contact on the ball,” Scott said, “that’s where you want to be.”

Scott, projected by MLB Pipeline to be MLB ready by 2022, knows the internal competition he has to face as he contends for an eventual spot on the Marlins’ big-league roster.

Scott shared the outfield with four other top-30 prospects this season during his time with the Lumberkings and Hammerheads this season: 2019 first-round pick JJ Bleday (No. 2), Kameron Misner (No. 9), Jerar Encarnacion (No. 17) and Peyton Burdick (No. 28). And that group is still behind Jesus Sanchez and Monte Harrison, the club’s Nos. 3 and 5 prospects who are in Triple A and will likely be call-ups at some point during the 2020 season.

Two other top Marlins outfield prospects — No. 13 Victor Victor Mesa and No. 24 Brian Miller — finished 2019 in Double A Jacksonville.

“It’s really cool,” Scott said. “We all reflect and learn from each other in what we do. We talk a lot. ... Hopefully we’ll be playing together for the next 20 years.”

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Jordan McPherson covers the Miami Marlins and high school sports for the Miami Herald. He attended the University of Florida and covered the Gators athletic program for five years before joining the Herald staff in December 2017.