Barry Jackson

Here’s the buzz on Cuban outfield prospect Victor Victor Mesa, the Marlins’ top target

Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter talks about the team

Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter talks about the state of the organization following the trade deadline, the farm system, and the future of catcher J.T. Realmuto
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Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter talks about the state of the organization following the trade deadline, the farm system, and the future of catcher J.T. Realmuto

So what would be the Marlins be getting if they sign 22-year-old Cuban outfield prospect Victor Victor Mesa, the organization’s top target at the moment?

Here’s some of the feedback:

Fangraphs’ Eric Longenhagen and Kylie McDaniel, who spoke to scouts who attended his Marlins Park workout for all teams earlier this month, offered this assessment:

“Mesa hit some balls out to his pull side during batting practice, showing 50-grade raw power, but he has a linear, contact-oriented swing that we think will lead to below-average power output in games. There’s no question he can hit, defend, and add value on the bases, but there’s real doubt about the game application of his power. In aggregate, it looks like an average to slightly below-average offensive profile on an above-average defender at a premium position.

“Scouts think Mesa is a low-risk, moderate impact prospect who should be ready for the big leagues relatively soon. He garners frequent comparisons to Cubs CF Albert Almora.”

Almora hit 286 with five homers and 41 RBI for the Cubs this season.

Mesa, incidentally, is the son he son of legendary Cuban player and manager Victor Mesa.

He has played in the top league in Cuba since 16. Some believe he will be a leadoff hitter who could steal 25 bases and possibly get to double figures in home runs.

His brother, Victor Mesa Jr., is a 17-year-old left-handed hitting outfielder/first baseman who is not nearly as highly regarded.

Some believe the two could be a package deal.

Both Mesa brothers worked out at the Marlins Park event, as did right-handed pitcher Sandy Gaston.

Fangraphs assessed Gaston this way: “Just 16, ranked 20th on our July 2nd board as the lowest 40 FV, and he was the clear second-most interesting prospect at the event. Kiley saw him in February when he topped out at 97 mph and flashed an average curve and change, but Gaston also sent four balls to the backstop in a one-inning showcase against other 16-year-olds.

“[In his workout at Marlins Park], Gaston worked 94-97 with similar secondary stuff, but with better feel, particularly in his first inning. There’s still a reliever look to him due to his delivery and mature physicality, but at age 16, so much will change that you can’t project that with certainty at this point, and Gaston has one of the most talented pure arms in the world at his age.”

Here’s the full fangraphs report on those three players.

The Marlins are believed to be very close to the Baltimore Orioles in terms of money available to sign international players under MLB rules. Those two teams have the most international pool money.

The Marlins acquired more pool money, pushing their total to the $6 million-plus range, in recent trades that sent pitcher Kyle Barraclough to the Washington Nationals and pitching prospect Ryan Lillie to the Cincinnati Reds.

“Two international scouting directors think the Mesas to Miami is a done deal,” MLB Network’s Peter Gammons tweeted two weeks ago.

Discussions with their agents are ongoing.

ARBITRATION TALK

Here’s what the Marlins’ arbitration-eligible players would stand to make if they get to arbitration, according to baseballtraderumors.com:

J.T. Realmuto – $6.1MM

Derek Dietrich – $4.8MM

Dan Straily – $4.8MM

Jose Urena – $3.6MM

Miguel Rojas – $2.6MM

Adam Conley – $1.3MM

Bryan Holaday – $1.2MM

Realmuto assuredly will be tendered but could be traded if the Marlins make him a multiyear offer than he rejects. Urena very likely will be tendered, and Rojas and Conley figure to be, too.

Straily and Dietrich are more questionable. Though both were assets this season, Dietrich doesn’t fit the prototype of this new management, which values defense. And the Marlins, with a wealth of young starting pitching, could choose to trade Straily.

Here’s one option: Combining the nearly $10 million that Straily and Dietrich stand to make in 2019 and use that money on a quality outfielder, with Lewis Brison, Magneuris Sierra, Monte Harrison, Austin Dean, potentially Mesa eventually, among others competing for two other starting outfield jobs.

That would be a decision that could easily be justified.

Brian Anderson would play third base instead of right field in that scenario.

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Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

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