Barry Jackson

Marlins are poised to make another splash in the international market

Scouting department loves Victor Victor Mesa, says Derek Jeter

Miami Marlins Chief Executive Officer Derek Jeter talks to the media before start of the first full-squad spring training workout on Monday, February 18, 2019 in Jupiter, FL.
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Miami Marlins Chief Executive Officer Derek Jeter talks to the media before start of the first full-squad spring training workout on Monday, February 18, 2019 in Jupiter, FL.

A six-pack of Marlins notes on a Tuesday:

Less than a year after signing Victor Victor Mesa and his brother Victor Mesa Jr., the Marlins are poised to make another splash in the international market.

Don’t be surprised to see the Marlins sign at least three talented players from Latin America: Venezuelan shortstops Jose Salas and Junior Sanchez and Bahamian infielder Ian Lewis. All three are 16.

Miami is the favorite to land all three. Scouts believe all three can play multiple infield positions.

A 6-1 switch-hitter, Salas is rated 10th on MLB.com’s international prospect list. Here’s how MLB.com assessed him:

“Salas is a third-generation shortstop from Venezuela, and his familiarity with the game is apparent in his strong natural instincts. Salas’ impressive bat speed and strike zone recognition cause him to stand out as the most advanced hitter in his class. The shortstop is a line-drive hitter now, but his power is expected to increase as he matures, and his above-average speed could eventually turn him into a 30-30 player.

“As he continues to develop, some scouts feel Salas will turn into a plus defender in the Majors. If he doesn’t stick at short, others have suggested that his tools could play in center field, if necessary.”

Sanchez, a 6-0 left-handed hitter, is rated 24th on MLB.com’s international prospect. MLB.com says Sanchez “shows plus bat speed with good timing, rhythm and a mature approach when he’s in the batter’s box. He has a gift for barreling up balls and has a strike zone awareness that’s beyond his teenage years. He hits line drives to all fields, and his power is starting to show.

“On defense, he has a chance to stay at shortstop because he shows good actions at the position, soft hands and good footwork. He’s been praised for his work ethic along with his good makeup, and the team that signs him will likely envision him as an everyday middle infielder in the big leagues one day.”

Lewis, a 5-10 switch-hitter, has impressed scouts who have watched him in the Bahamas.

This Marlins ownership group has made it a priority to land some of the top young talent from Latin America.

How do you explain Brian Anderson going from .273 last season to .227 this season?

Anderson said pitchers “are trying to get me to chase out of the zone more.”

Marlins people believe he has been hurt by not having J.T. Realmuto in the lineup around him.

“Maybe that’s a factor,” Anderson conceded. “Sometimes, I try to do too much.”

He said Marlins CEO Derek Jeter cautioned him during his struggles that “this is part of the game. Learn to go through it.”

Don Mattingly’s theory:” I think you see a lot more respect [from pitchers]. I think a lot of teams last year as the season went on, they knew this guy was swinging really good and was a good player. In general, he’s really trying hard. He’s a kid who’s tough on himself and wants to be good. He’s frustrated when he’s not going good.”

Though he has been needed in right field at times this season, Anderson said the Marlins have told him they see him at third base long-term.

Though the Marlins have been cautious with top prospect Sixto Sanchez because of past arm problems, Marlins president/baseball operations Michael Hill said there won’t be an innings limit on him.

“We should be able to allow him to pitch every five days and have a normal progression for him,” Hill said. “It’s an exciting time. We took the time to start from scratch with the delivery work. His delivery is considerably better. Hopefully that will keep him healthy.”

Sanchez if 0-3 with a 3.74 ERA in four starts, two in Jupiter and two in Jacksonville. He was dominant with six scoreless innings in his first start at Jacksonville, but allowed 11 hits and three runs in 4 2/3 innings of his second start.

Right-hander Jordan Yamamoto, the fourth player acquired in the Christian Yelich trade, pitched seven hitless innings and struck out four for Double A Jacksonville on Monday. He has a 1.80 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 25 innings in May.

Though Jorge Guzman is just 1-4 at Double A Jacksonville (giving him a 1-13 record in 29 starts since being sent to the Marlins in the Giancarlo Stanton trade), the reports have been good. He has a 3.27 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 44 innings.

“He’s developing into a pitcher,” Hill said. “We firmly believe he’s a future major-league starting pitcher. He’s another pitcher who needs to be more consistent and repeat his pitches more consistently and understand how to attack lineups. That’s what the minor leagues are about. From a pure stuff standpoint, it’s front-of-the-rotation stuff when you put Guzman and Sixto, when you talk about their stuff.”

The Jupiter rotation continues to thrive with Braxton Garrett (3.10 ERA in six starts with 40 strikeouts in 29 innings), Edward Cabrera (2.17 ERA in six starts with 16 hits allowing in 29 innings and 42 strikeouts), Trevor Rogers (2.58 ERA in seven starts) and Jordan Holloway (1.50 ERA in seven starts, with 11 hits allowed in 30 innings and 39 strikeouts).

All are legitimate prospects.

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