Barry Jackson

Marlins add more well-regarded international talent. And good news on the farm

Marlins CEO Derek Jeter: We’re trying to build something that’s special

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:

Eight months after making a splash in the international market by signing Cuban outfielders Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Jr., the Marlins have added three more talented Latin American players, all infielders.

According to a source, the Marlins have agreed to terms with Venezuelan shortstops Jose Salas and Junior Sanchez and Bahamian infielder Ian Lewis. All are 16 or 17.

We wrote about Marlins interest in all three players in this piece in May. Craig Mish, host of the Swings and Mishes podcast, was first to report the Lewis deal on Sunday.

A scout with another team who has watched two of the players in person said Salas “has great feet and a premium body. Switch hitter who should be a force offensively. Projects as a shortstop, could be a third baseman…. Ian Lewis has premium hands, strong baseball IQ. I think he will hit for power. Projects as a shortstop or third baseman.”

Salas is rated 10th and Sanchez 24th on MLB.com’s international prospect list for 2019.

Here’s what MLB.com said about all three players.

These signings take a chunk out of the $5.9 million the Marlins have to sign international prospects. Lewis reportedly got $950,000. Salas’ deal is substantially more. Sanchez got $1.15 million, per MLB.com.

The Marlins aren’t done in the international market and could add to their international pool money in trades, with Sergio Romo one example of a player who could be flipped for international money.

The Marlins also have been linked to Cuban shortstop Yiddi Cappe, who is considered the best prospect of this group, but as Mish reported, he might wait until next year to sign.

Isan Diaz, the Marlins’ likely second baseman in 2020, continues to impress at Triple A New Orleans. He hit his 19th home run of the season on Monday and is hitting .295 with 52 RBI in 78 games.

Diaz figures to get an opportunity in September, potentially sooner if the Marlins can dump Starlin Castro in a trade.

One scout said one reason he likes Diaz is he “gets the fat part of the bat on the baseball” consistently and has good balance at the plate.

As for the other players acquired in that Christian Yelich trade with Milwaukee (besides impressive Jordan Yamamoto), Lewis Brinson now has 46 RBI and 12 homers in his 54 games at New Orleans, while batting .294. He will get another big-league chance by September, if not sooner.

Monte Harrison is at .284 at New Orleans, with nine homers but just 22 RBI in 50 games. He has struck out 66 times in 190 at-bats, a better percentage than a year ago, but still not ideal. One scout said he has been better than he expected but still has “some holes in his swing.” Harrison, by the way, is 20 for 21 in steals.

Also encouraging: Former Marlins first-round left hander Braxton Garrett has regained his pre-Tommy John surgery form. He was named Florida State League Pitcher of the Week after allowing one hit and striking out 11 in seven innings.

Over his last three starts, Garrett is 2-1 with a 1.53 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings pitched. He’s now 3-3 with a 2.86 ERA in 12 starts.

The Marlins’ other first-round lefty at Jupiter, Trevor Rodgers, also continues to impress, with a 2.50 ERA in 13 starts. Over his past three starts, he has allowed six hits and no runs in 19 innings with 24 strikeouts.

What Garrett and Rodgers have been doing at Jupiter ranks high on the list of developments for longterm-looking Marlins fans to get excited about.

The Marlins’ two Wright State rookies are off to good starts at Batavia, with speedy outfielder J.D. Orr (10th round pick) hitting .422 with eight steals in 11 attempts, and outfielder Peyton Burdick (third round pick) hitting .318 with a homer in six games.

Thirty-fifth overall pick Kameron Misner, the Missouri outfielder, remains unsigned, unwilling to accept the Marlins offer even though the idea of him going back for his senior year of college would seem a less than ideal alternative. The sides are believed to be $100,000 to $200,000 apart.

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