A six-pack of Marlins notes on a Friday:
▪ One encouraging sign, even with the big-league team having lost 15 of its past 19 games: All of their top pitching prospects (except Braxton Garrett - who’s been up and down the past three weeks - and injured Edward Cabrera) have had some very, very good moments recently, with a couple of them sustaining success for a few weeks.
Entering Friday, Sixto Sanchez had allowed three runs and 23 hits with 35 strikeouts in his last 40 innings at Double A.
Sanchez — rated by MLB.com as the 24th best prospect in baseball — left after four shutout innings of his last start with dehydration, and Marlins president/baseball operations Michael Hill said it’s undetermined if he will pitch again in the final 10 days of the minor-league season.
Meanwhile, Jorge Guzman has allowed two runs and just four hits in his last 25 innings in Double A, with 27 strikeouts. The hard-throwing Guzman has shown dramatic improvement in recent weeks.
And Nick Neidert, the top piece acquired in the Dee Gordon deal, is back healthy and allowed two runs with 14 strikeouts in his past 12 innings at Triple A New Orleans.
Meanwhile, Trevor Rogers pitched seven shutout innings (two hits, 10 strikeouts) in his third Double A start. He gave up six runs in 4 ⅓ innings of his fourth start Thursday, but Hill said poor defense was largely to blame.
We’ll have more on the Marlins’ young stable of pitchers in the coming weeks. But the Marlins believe all of these arm — plus Jordan Holloway — have very high ceilings.
▪ Jose Urena, who has been out since June 12 with a herniated disc in his lower back, will return in September as a back-end reliever and will get closing opportunities, Marlins manager Don Mattingly said Friday.
Urena has thrown three innings in three rehab starts, twice as a starter and once as a reliever.
But Hill said Friday there has been no discussion of Urena moving to a closer’s role next season.
Urena, the Marlins’ Opening Day starter the past two years, probably would be effective in that closer role, but a case also could be made to keep him in the 2020 rotation. He’s arbitration eligible this winter.
▪ The Marlins have looked at Ryan Stanek as a closer in two games and both were walk-off losses. But the Marlins want to give him more of a look as a back-end reliever because a two-game sample size isn’t a fair judge of anyone.
“Stanek has back end type stuff,” Mattingly said. “He’s going to be a piece moving forward. We just don’t know where that piece is. Is it middle of the game? Is it different spots? He’s a guy that has the type of stuff that you feel like can be effective.”
▪ The Marlins are unlikely to promote Jesus Sanchez, one of their top outfield prospects, when rosters expand in September, according to a source.
The Marlins believe Sanchez already has had a full year playing for three teams at Double and Triple A. Sanchez, rated baseball’s 40th best prospect by MLB.com, is hitting .254, with four homers and nine RBI in 16 games in New Orleans since being acquired from Tampa.
▪ What do the Marlins need a read on, organizationally, over the final five weeks?
“Lewis Brinson is a good one, because you want to see what he’s going to be able to do,” Mattingly said of a player who is hitting just .164 (10 for 61) with four RBI, 18 strikeouts and two walks since his promotion from Triple A.
“We want to see if Isan [Diaz] has settled down and relaxed and what he’s going to be. You’re going to try to find out where does Ryan fit into the equation. We’re starting to see Andy [Brian Anderson] is a true piece, a guy who’s gotten better as the season went on.
“Garrett Cooper (.284, 12, 42) is a guy you want to continue to look at. Is he a guy that can stay on the field, be productive as teams make adjustments. Harold Ramirez [.268, 7, 38] is another guy we’ve gotten a pretty good look at. Teams have made some adjustments and he has too.
“Elieser Hernandez (2-5, 5.18 in 16 games, 10 starts) you put him in that Harold category. He’s throwing the ball well at times. He’s been better as a starter than a reliever. You say is this a piece that’s part of a championship rotation?”
As far as needing more of a read, Mattingly also mentioned 29-year-old Jon Berti, who’s hitting .267 with 12 RBI in 42 games while getting time at shortstop, third base and the outfield.
▪ Diaz, who had a wonderful year at Triple A, has struggled in his first 16 games with the Marlins, hitting .153 with 21 strikeouts in 65 at bats. He has six errors after committing nine in 99 games in New Orleans.
“Offensively, I don’t think he’s relaxed yet and showed the hitter he’s going to be,” Mattingly said. “He’s a guy that seemed to be pulling off a lot of balls. He’s got a great swing into left center and center field. I don’t think he’s utilized that enough. I don’t think he’s gotten comfortable, and that’s OK. It’s part of his process of growing. Defensively, had a couple of tough days. I have a lot of faith in Isan because he’s a good kid, willing to work. He handled a tough couple games well and that speaks well of his character.”