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Miami Marlins Midseason Top 10 Prospects

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Sandy Alcantara (Photo by Michael Dill)

SEE ALSO: Midseason Top 10 Prospects

The Marlins entered 2018 fully committed to the rebuild initiated by new ownership with the offseason trades of outfielders Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna as well as all-star second baseman Dee Gordon.

To that end, the Marlins finished the first half at 41-57, worse than any National League team but the Padres or Mets.

Miami is willing to sacrifice present wins for future wins, with embellishing the farm system and developing young players the organization’s primary focus. The Marlins have received an encouraging performance from rookie third baseman Brian Anderson(^) but had seen rookie center fielder Lewis Brinson fall flat.

Perhaps even more importantly, Miami’s farm system, which was easily one of the least talented in baseball at this time last year, now ranks much closer to average among the 30 major league organizations.

With the July 31 trade deadline quickly approaching, more moves should be expected in Miami. Whether it’s trading away veteran bullpen arms such as Kyle Barraclough, Drew Steckenrider or Brad Ziegler; productive hitters like catcher J.T. Realmuto or first baseman Justin Bour; or starting pitchers Dan Straily and Wei-Yin Chen, the Marlins will likely continue to focus on obtaining as many prospects as possible.

1. Sandy Alcantara, RHP
Miami
Age: 22

The headlining prospect in the Marcell Ozuna trade with the Cardinals, Alcantara began the season at Triple-A New Orleans and reached the majors for a June 29 start against the Mets. Armed with an upper-90s fastball that can reach triple digits, Alcantara struggles with control, which hinders the explosiveness of his pure stuff. He also throws a power breaking ball and low-90s changeup. He landed on the 10-day disabled list shortly after his major league start with a right axillary infection, but he should return to the Marlins’ rotation in the near future. Improved command would help his stuff play up.


2. Nick Neidert, RHP
Double-A Jacksonville
Age: 21

Acquired in the Dee Gordon trade with the Mariners, Neidert excelled in the Southern League in the first half. Often described as having better command than stuff, Neidert knows how to pitch with a 90-93 mph fastball with movement that he controls to both sides of the plate and a plus changeup that is his best secondary offering. His breaking ball is currently average, but his command, fastball, changeup and feel to pitch give him enough weapons to potentially project as a No. 3 starter in the majors.


3. Jorge Guzman, RHP
High Class A Jupiter
Age: 22

Miami acquired the hard-throwing Guzman from the Yankees in the Giancarlo Stanton trade. The 6-foot-2 righthander sits in the high 90s and can reach triple digits. While Guzman’s walk rate is high, opponents struggle to square him up. He complements his fastball with a potentially plus slider and developing 89-91 mph changeup. Improved command and additional refinement of his changeup are Guzman’s two most pressing areas to address.


4. Monte Harrison, OF
Double-A Jacksonville
Age: 22

One of four prospects the Marlins acquired from the Brewers for Christian Yelich, Harrison has struggled in his first taste of Double-A. He showed his trademark power and speed but that was mitigated by a sky-high strikeout rate that bordered on 40 percent. Harrison is one of the most athletic players in the system and has the potential to be a power-speed center fielder. Despite his plus bat speed, Harrison’s swing can get long and he tends to get overaggressive at times.


5. Connor Scott, OF
Rookie-level Gulf Coast League
Age: 18

Ranked as the No. 23 prospect for the 2018 draft, Scott went 13th overall to Miami. A 6-foot-4, 180-pound outfielder, Scott regularly draws comparisons with current Astros outfielder Kyle Tucker, who also attended Plant High. A true plus-plus runner, Scott has a plus arm and should be able to handle either corner outfield spot if he eventually needs to move out of center field. With the potential for above-average power, Scott could impact the game in myriad ways.


6. Edward Cabrera, RHP
Low Class A Greensboro
Age: 20

Cabrera has some of the best pure stuff in the Marlins’ organization, including an upper-90s fastball that has topped out at 101 mph. He occasionally flashes dominant stuff in the South Atlantic League while also regularly reminding scouts he is still raw. Cabrera pairs an above-average slider with an average but improving changeup to go along with his plus fastball. It will likely take several years for Cabrera to reach his potential, but he has one of the highest ceilings of any Marlins prospect.


7. Brian Miller, OF
Double-A Jacksonville
Age: 22

Drafted out of North Carolina 36th overall in 2017, Miller is a slight, 6-foot-1 outfielder who has continuously showed a plus hit tool as a professional. A career .321 hitter, he advanced to Double-A in mid-June. At least a plus runner, Miller steals bases efficiently and covers ground in the outfield, where he has rotated between all three positions. His below-average power makes it hard to profile him as an everyday corner outfielder, so center field is his best bet.


8. Trevor Rogers, LHP
Low Class A Greensboro
Age: 20

The 13th overall pick in 2017, Rogers’ pro career has gotten off to a slow start. The 6-foot-6 lefthander did not throw a professional inning in his draft year because of a forearm strain. After starting 2018 in extended spring training, Rogers made his pro debut in the South Atlantic League on May 22, more than 11 months after he was drafted. After such a long layoff, Rogers’ results have been unsurprisingly rocky, but he still struck out more than a batter per inning with a mid-90s fastball, sharp low-80s slider and upper-80s changeup.


9. Braxton Garrett, LHP
Low Class A Greensboro
Age: 20

Much like Trevor Rogers, Garrett was a high school lefthander whom the Marlins drafted in the first round (seventh overall in 2016) but did not pitch in his first year in the organization. Garrett had Tommy John surgery last June and is expected to miss the 2018 season. The Marlins hope Garrett’s low-90s fastball, potentially plus curveball and above-average control return to the form that made him such a highly regarded prospect entering the draft.


10. Jose Devers, SS
Low Class A Greensboro
Age: 18

Devers has done nothing but impress since coming over from the Yankees in the Giancarlo Stanton trade. He was considered a slight, glove-first shortstop when he signed in 2016, but Devers has proven that his hit tool might be more advanced than expected. Devers’ defense has proven legit as well, with some observers considering him a plus defender with a plus arm. Physically maturing and adding strength should be the biggest points of emphasis for Devers, who is already showing the prerequisite tools to man shortstop in the big leagues.

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RISING

  • RHP Pablo Lopez made 12 combined starts for Double-A and Triple-A before being called up on June 30. The extreme strike-thrower had not pitched about high Class A entering the season. Lopez isn’t overpowering, but his sinking, low-90s fastball and above-average slider and changeup play up because of his command.
  • Part of the return for Yelich, RHP Jordan Yamamoto has impressed in his first season with the Marlins. He reached Double-A Jacksonville on July 4..
  • Despite missing nearly two months early in the season with an oblique strain, 26-year-old RHP Jeff Brigham reached Double-A Jacksonville for the first time. He possesses a mid-to-upper-90s fastball and a low-80s slider that flashes plus, and he could see time in Miami this season if he can remain healthy for any prolonged amount of time.

FALLING

  • Outfielder Isael Soto has had bad luck with injuries in the past, missing most of 2015 with a torn meniscus in his left knee and then sitting out all of 2017 with a fractured foot suffered in spring training. Soto has been healthy for most of 2018, but the results just haven’t been there. After playing a combined 130 games at low Class A Greensboro in 2015 and 2016, Soto is back in the South Atlantic League in 2018, where he has struggled.

INJURED

  • RHP Tyler Kolek has been on the disabled list since early April with what Marlins officials are describing as an ongoing shoulder injury. It’s been a tough career for Kolek, the No. 2 overall pick in 2014 who missed the entire 2016 season after having Tommy John surgery. Since returning from his elbow injury, the 6-foot-5 righthander has made just five appearances in which he walked or hit 17 of the 32 batters he faced in 3.2 innings.
  • SS Christopher Torres, who came over from the Mariners as part of the Dee Gordon trade last offseason, played in just two games with short-season Batavia before being shut down on June 17 with a nagging ankle injury.
  • RHP Matt Givin, a 20th-round pick in 2017, had Tommy John surgery in April and is expected to be out until mid-2019.
  • After having Tommy John surgery in June 2017, RHP Jordan Holloway returned to the mound for his first rehab start in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League on June 21. He faced just four batters and hasn’t returned to the mound since.

GRADUATED

  • The Marlins’ preseason No. 1 prospect, OF Lewis Brinson hit just .186/.232/.338 with 10 home runs and a 30.2 percent strikeout rate in the first half.  He has struggled with his approach and making contact at the plate. There has been internal debate as to whether the Marlins should send the 24-year-old Brinson back to Triple-A, where he has played just 107 career games. He was placed on the disabled list on July 4 with right hip inflammation.
  • After receiving a 25-game taste of the big leagues last September, Brian Anderson has played every day in 2018. A 2014 third-round pick out of Arkansas, he has received most of his starts in right field, with the remaining coming at third base. He hit .288/.363/.429 with eight home runs in the first half.
  • RHP Trevor Richards made the first 13 starts of his major league career in 2018, including his big league debut on April 2 against the Red Sox. He recorded a 4.74 ERA with 57 strikeouts in 62.2 innings in the first half.

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