What’s the status of the 13 prospects acquired by the Marlins in offseason trades for Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Dee Gordon and Marcell Ozuna? An update, with stats entering Friday and comments from president/baseball operations Michael Hill.
The Marlins received second baseman Starlin Castro (hitting .297, 24 RBI for Miami), right-hander Jose Guzman and shortstop Jose Devers.
Guzman is 0-2 with a 2.21 ERA in eight starts at Single A Jupiter, with 28 strikeouts but also 26 walks in 36 2/3 innings.
Hill: “As advertised, a very physical young pitcher. He was a little delayed the first month of the season with an oblique. But we’ve gotten him healthy. Everyone has seen the fastball; every start he’s touched 100 [mph]. The highest I’ve seen is 101. He sits about 97-98 [mph]. It’s quite impressive when you talk about the staying power of his fastball and ability to maintain that velocity deep into games. But what’s been equally as impressive has been the secondary pitches because they are in place, a slider/changeup.”
Though he has the velocity to be a back-end reliever, Hill said the Marlins will “keep him in the rotation” because “he maintains his fastball for multiple innings. Five, six innings, he can maintain that velocity.”
Devers, 18, is hitting .255 with seven RBI and is 5 for 10 on steals in 40 games at low-level Single A Greensboro.
Hill: “He’s one of the younger players in that league, hitting in the middle of the lineup and doing a good job. Progressing and developing the way we would expect.”
The Marlins got four players.
Marlins outfielder Lewis Brinson has hit better in the past week and has nine homers in 59 games, but is hitting just .172 with a .218 on-base average and 21 RBI in 59 games. Don Mattingly said the Marlins will give him one start off every series but he still might play in that game.
“We understand how challenging it is at this level but we want to make sure he’s doing all the things we’re asking him to do offensively that will get him through this where you can see all these wonderful tools produce,” Hill said. “We’ve seen glimpses of it. We haven’t seen it consistently enough.
“His defense - he had a couple of missteps in Arizona, the one in San Diego, but besides those three occasions, you are talking about Gold Glove defense and metrically, one of the top three defensive center fielders in baseball. When you see a player that in spite of his offensive inconsistencies is still doing what he needs to do defensively, still working hard to get himself in a position to hit consistently, you’re excited about what the future holds for him. I’ve seen him in batting practice hit balls out to every part of this ballpark. So we know that ability and the tools are there. It’s a matter of continuing to work hard until we see it on a consistent basis.”
Mattingly’s take: “He’s had better at-bats [recently], more contact. We need him to be a hitter first [not a power hitter per se]. Now all we’re getting is home runs. A moment here, moment there. We need more consistency.”
Outfielder Monte Harrison is hitting .232 with eight homers, 13 doubles and 18 RBI in 57 games at Double A Jacksonville. He’s a .241 hitter in five minor league seasons.
Hill: “Just a matter of when, not if with him. Extremely talented young man. We got him into his routine of what he needs to do every day to be a successful player. Unbelievable talent that can impact the game in every way imaginable. His defense has been outstanding. His base-running and offensively we’ve seen the good and the bad you see with young players. Extremely encouraged with the progress he’s making. He will be here when he’s ready.”
Infielder Isan Diaz is hitting .222, five homers and 19 RBI at Double A Jacksonville – the same average he posted last season at Single A Carolina.
Hill: “We see an above average offensive approach. He’s going to hit and he’s going to hit for power. He’s comfortable playing second base. We know he’s played shortstop in his past but we’re comfortable allowing him to be an offensive type second baseman who can be an above average defense second baseman, which we’ve gotten up to this point. He got off to a slow start offensively but he’s bounced back. Since he’s back off the disabled list, we’ve seen him do the things offensively we know he’s capable of doing.”
Right-hander Jordan Yamamoto is 1-0 with a 2.31 ERA in two starts at Single A Jupiter, having missed the early part of the season with an injury. He was 9-4, 2.51 at Single A Carolina last year.
Hill: “When you talk about all of these pitchers, they all have advanced ability to pitch,.. keep hitters off balance. Jordan fits exactly in that mold.”
The Marlins got four players. Right-hander Sandy Alcantara is 4-1 with a 3.53 ERA in 11 starts at Triple A New Orleans, holding opposing batters to a .240 average.
Hill said the Marlins have considered promoting him but wanted him to continue polishing his game at Triple A.
“Everyone saw the upper 90s fastball in spring training, but there were finishing pieces to allow him to be successful at this level,” Hill said. “He understood those were things that he needed to attack and address at the Triple A level. We’ve all been pleased with the progress. He’s been more efficient with his pitch count. He’s evolving into a major league pitcher. I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t see him here in the near future.”
Right-hander Zac Gallen is 4-1 with a 3.12 ERA at New Orleans. He was hit hard in spring training but Hill explains the change he made since then:
“He was such a good strike thrower, he threw too many strikes in spring training. We talk to him about changing eye levels. For him, what allowed him to fly through the minor league system is his ability to throw strikes and get early contact and put up big numbers by being always aggressive. You need to be calculated in your approach and you need to occasionally throw a ball so they know you can throw a ball, so that’s a part of his development. We had that conversation. It is OK to throw a ball [with as many strikes as Gallen throws]. That’s the approach he’s taken. A full season of Triple A [will help].”
Left-hander Daniel Castano is 5-6 with a 5.65 ERA in 11 starts in Jupiter, having allowed 96 base-runners in 57 innings. He’s on the disabled list “but it’s not a longterm type deal,” Hill said. “He’s a crafty lefty.”
Outfielder Magneuris Sierra is hitting .259 with two homers and 11 RBI (and 8 for 10 in steals) at New Orleans. He’s a career .288 minor league hitter but has a subpar .288 on base average this season, with just nine walks in 52 games.
Hill: “He pulled the hamstring and missed the last part of spring training and you need those at-bats you weren’t able to get him in spring training. You start to see him finally get himself in regular season shape just in terms of his eye and the at-bats. Starting to string together some multi-hit at bats. We are still incredibly excited with what the future holds for him. We’re hopeful of getting him at bats and be the player we expect him to be.”
The Marlins got three players.
Right-hander Nick Neidert is 6-3 with a 3.03 ERA at Double A Jacksonville, with 68 strikeouts in 59 innings.
Hill: “Nick is pitching in our Double A rotation; he’s young for the Double A level as well [at 21] and showing his ability to command the strike zone and get outs. We’ve been very pleased with his production.”
Could he be late summer promotion? “The thing I’m happy to say is through all the trades this offseason we’ve been able to layer our starting pitching. You talk about seeing some of this pitching at some point in the big leagues and there’s no room. You talk about five starters performing in the major league level. And five in Triple A. And then another three at Double A. And then Guzman and Yamamoto. We’ve been able to layer the pitching in the big leagues all the way to A ball. That’s something we’ve never been able to do organizationally. That’s something we always wanted to do.”
Right-hander Robert Dugger is 3-1 with a 2.40 ERA in seven starts at Single A Jupiter and 0-0 with a 5.40 ERA in two starts at Jacksonville.
Hill: “Can command the strike zone and efficiently navigate a lineup. Above average strike thrower, command of three pitches and an ability to induce early contact and efficiently get deep into games. We pushed him to Double A.”
Infielder Chris Torres, who has hit .248 with 8 homers and 70 RBI in 160 games over three seasons in the low level minors, hasn’t played in a minor league game yet this season because he was in extended spring training but is now healthy and will report to short-season Batavia, Hill said.