Barry Jackson

Two scouts break down Marlins prospects after watching them this spring

The Marlins and evaluators have high hopes for Marlins outfielder Lewis Brinson, who was acquired in the Christian Yelich trade with Milwaukee. (David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald/TNS)
The Marlins and evaluators have high hopes for Marlins outfielder Lewis Brinson, who was acquired in the Christian Yelich trade with Milwaukee. (David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald/TNS) TNS

With the Marlins season opening Thursday, we solicited input on the team’s young players from two opposing big-league scouts who watched them extensively this spring.

Some feedback:

POSITION PLAYERS

▪ Starting center field Lewis Brinson, acquired in the Christian Yelich trade with Milwaukee: Both scouts believe he will be very good.

“His bat looks ready,” one of the scouts said. “He’s an exciting player. He has been impressive this spring. Big-time tools, and there’s too much talent there for him not to succeed. At times he has some issues with breaking balls, but he seems to be able to make some adjustments and late in the spring he’s been hitting sliders and curveballs better than early in the spring. Can definitely hit a fastball anytime.”

Second scout: “I don’t think he’s can’t miss, but I like him. He can throw, very athletic. Some days he’s going to look good and some days he’ll look bad.”

▪ Outfielder Magneuris Sierra, acquired in the Marcell Ozuna deal with St. Louis: “I saw him a lot before his [leg] injury and he’s more a bench guy at this point in his career but can work his way into a starting role eventually. Has speed, more of a line drive hitter than big-time power. Can drive the ball to the gaps in the middle of the field. Has the athleticism and speed to run down balls defensively. He looked good the first half of the spring — was making hard contact. Has a simple swing. He’s a major-league player.”

Scout two: “He has caught my eye. He can run, throw, profiles as more of a center fielder than corner outfielder. The power may not be what one thinks a corner guy should have.”

He will begin the season in the minors.

Coral Springs native and Miami Marlins prospect Lewis Brinson talks about the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on Feb. 19, 2018.

▪ Left fielder Derek Dietrich, who’s getting his first chance as an everyday player: “He swung the ball really well this spring. Lot of hard contact. He’s going to be OK. Strong guy. Defense is a work in progress; he’s below average out there but better than I expected — I’ve seen him make a couple of sliding catches.”

Scout two: “If they keep throwing him fastballs, he’s going to have a good year.”

▪ Third baseman Brian Anderson, who will open the season as a starter in place of injured Martin Prado: “Doesn’t have big-time tools, but for a young guy he’s pretty steady. Usually those guys who don’t have spectacular tools are going to struggle at some point. He will have to make some adjustments. He’s fine defensively.”

Scout two: “I like him. He doesn’t look out of place.” He said the four spring homers shouldn’t be overstated but believes he can hit double-figure homers in the majors.

▪ Outfielder Monte Harrison, the ex-Brewers prospect who will begin the season in the minors: “He’s really raw. It looks like he’s got some power, but he was a little overmatched in this camp. His whole game needs development. His at-bats were pretty quick; three or four pitches and usually out. Defensively, he’s got work to do; he breaks back on a ball that was in and those sort of things. Baserunning the same deal; made a couple mistakes on the bases. He probably will be good long-term. He needs to play every day [in the minors].”

▪ Backup first baseman/outfielder Garrett Cooper, acquired from the Yankees: “A big guy with some power. Longer swing; will run into some extra bases from time to time. But he’s got limits athletically. Probably for a good club, he’s an up and down guy [between the majors and minors]. He’s a bench guy for me.”

▪ Backup catcher Tomas Telis: “Contact guy, puts the ball in play. His defense has been fine back there. He has outplayed [his competition] Bryan Holaday all spring. I don’t see why he couldn’t catch 30 games behind [JT] Realmuto.”

The Marlins optioned their top pitching prospect, Sandy Alcantara, to the minors on Tuesday.

▪ Infielder Isan Diaz, the former Brewers prospect who will begin the year in the minors: “Very good at-bats for a young guy; hit the ball hard a few times. Real athletic.”

Scout two: “He’s going to be an offensive second baseman, going to hit more doubles than home runs. He’s got to make sure he doesn’t get too thick in the midsection. Fringy type defender. Won’t be like Dee Gordon, but can make routine play.”

PITCHERS

▪ Right-handed starter Sandy Alcantara, acquired in the Ozuna deal and will begin the year in the minors: “I like him. Tall, clean arm action, hits his velocity really easily. Has four pitches. He’s going to be a big-league starter for a long time. He might not be an ace but will be a No. 3 or No. 4 for a long time.”

Scout two: “He’s got great stuff but needs to learn to pitch and not go hard, hard, hard all the time. He’s going to be a strike thrower.”

▪ Opening day starter Jose Ureña: “He has the stuff to be an All-Star. I can see him repeating what he did last year. He’s got a mid-90s fastball consistently. Good durability.”

▪ Right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne: “A lot of those guys competing for [rotation spots No. 3 through No. 5] have struggled. He wouldn’t be a disaster and he can give you five innings. [But] those last three spots are going to be some growing pains. And some pain, period.”

Scout two: “He’s been a pleasant surprise to me. His velocity has improved; saw him touch 95 [mph] early in spring. He’s usually 92 to 94 when I’ve seen him.”

▪ Left-hander Caleb Smith: “Been just OK. Stuff is OK, but command is inconsistent.”

Scout two: “He can help as a spot starter or long man. Won’t wow you with stuff, but competitive.”

▪ Right-handed reliever Tayron Guerrero: “He’s going to be good. Hard thrower, has got some angle.”

▪ Rule 5 pickup Eliser Hernandez: “He hasn’t pitched in awhile because of the dental surgery. He’s fearless on the mound for a young kid, didn’t look overwhelming.”

▪ Lefties Adam Conley and Dillon Peters, who were demoted to the minors: Peters’ “command in both outings I saw was well below average. He has to figure things out in Triple A. Conley threw OK; his velocity was 91 to 94, flashed a decent breaking ball. He has long arm action so keeping his delivery together and repeating it is an issue. He will be in their rotation at some point this year.”

▪ Young relievers Kyle Barracough and Drew Steckenrider: “Both have impressed me. They have the stuff to pitch late in games. Both are aggressive. With those two and Brad Ziegler, the back of their bullpen might be better than expected.”

One scout said: “They will be better quicker than people think; [competitiveness] could happen by 2020 [instead of later]. They have improved their their athleticism in system. All their young position players have a quick twitch and the size you look for. I’m optimistic on what they got back in these trades.”

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