2020-21 MLB International Reviews: Miami Marlins
The early returns have already been encouraging for Miami's 2019 international signing class, even though that group has yet to make its official pro debut due to the lost 2020 minor league season. Shortstop Jose Salas Jr. has added strength, improved his swing and started winter ball games for Zulia in the Venezuelan League as a 17-year-old. Dominican righthander Eury Perez has filled out and seen his fastball jump to 95 mph while filling the strike zone from an easy, controlled delivery, especially for his age and size.
Top Of The Class
By age, Cuban shortstop Yiddi Cappe was eligible to sign in the 2019 class. However, with teams having already committed such large chunks of their bonus pools to other players by the time Cappe became eligible to sign, he instead opted to wait an extra year (or what turned out to be an extra 18 months) to sign with the Marlins in the 2020 class when the new bonus pools kicked in on Jan. 15. Cappe is a lanky, thin-framed 6-foot-3 shortstop with athletic, quick-twitch actions, particularly in the field, with the ingredients to develop into a plus defender. He's a slick defender with quick, soft hands who is light on his feet, especially for his size. Cappe moves around with ease at shortstop, showing good body control and actions, with a quick transfer to a plus arm and smooth turns on the double-play pivot. He's an above-average runner for now, though he could lose a step as he fills out. Cappe stands out the most for his defense, as a long-levered hitter who needs more work to be on time and in sync at the plate. The strength he's added over the past year has helped his bat speed and ability to drive the ball with more impact during batting practice, showing the potential for 20-plus home runs.
The Marlins also added one of the top catchers in Venezuela with the signing of Ronald Hernandez. He has a strong lower half with physical projection remaining on his broad-shouldered frame and advanced catch-and-throw skills for his age. Hernandez has quick feet and a plus arm, leading to pop times down to the low 1.9 seconds in games. He's bilingual, a leader on the field and a student of the game with the baseball IQ and intangibles that managers love in a catcher. Hernandez is a fundamentally sound player with good hand-eye coordination, bat-to-ball skills and a solid grasp of the strike zone for his age to go with doubles power and the bat speed to project for that to tick up once he's in his prime. He trained with Johan Ocanto.
Names To Know
Kevin Guerrero, OF, Dominican Republic: Guerrero stands out immediately for his athletic, lanky body type (6-foot-3, 170 pounds) with a high level of physical projection. He has solid patience but is a long-armed hitter who will need to smooth out his swing mechanics. He's an average runner who could start in center field but probably ends up in right field. Guerrero trained with Nolan Peña.
Edward Duran, C, Venezuela: Duran is an offensive-oriented catcher who makes hard contact when he connects. He has work to do on his receiving but has a strong arm and earns high marks for his leadership skills. Duran trained with Kevin Moscatel.
Luis Baldiris, LHP, Venezuela: Baldiris is a 5-foot-11 lefty who doesn't overpower anyone with a fastball in the mid 80s, but he has good mechanics and arm action with advanced pitchability for his age and the ability to miss bats with a big-breaking curveball. He's represented by Wilfredo Polidor.
Venezuelan righthander Jhoniel Serrano has a lot of promising projection indicators. He has long arms on a projectable 6-foot-2 frame with an easy, quiet delivery and good arm action. It's a starter look, as he throws strikes well for his age to both sides of the plate with a fastball up to 92 mph and room to grow. He complements it with a slider that has a chance to be an out pitch and its further along than his nascent changeup.