Marlins Add Promising Pair To 40-Man
Marlins minor league hitting coach Edwar Gonzalez met shortstop Jose Devers four years ago, when both were members of Yankees organization.
Miami acquired Devers in the Giancarlo Stanton trade in December 2017. By chance, Gonzalez joined the Marlins two years later, and he again began working with Devers.
“The ball sticks to Jose’s glove, so smooth,” Gonzalez said. “He controls the game defensively.”
The Marlins added 20-year-old Devers and 23-year-old right fielder Jerar Encarnacion to their 40-man roster, protecting them from the Rule 5 draft.
A lefthanded hitter from the Dominican Republic, Devers peaked at high Class A Jupiter in 2019 in a season limited to 47 games because of a strained right forearm. He hit .322/.391/.390 that season.
The 6-foot, 174-pound Devers hasn't shown power in pro ball (one home run) but has hit for average with a contact-oriented approach and shown plus speed.
Devers spent the 2020 season at Miami’s alternate training site in Jupiter, Fla.
“He’s intriguing because he has always played up against older competition,” Gonzalez said. “He is humble, hard-working and coachable.”
Devers also has good bloodlines. His cousin is Red Sox star third baseman Rafael Devers.
Jose Devers is not at that level—at least not yet—but he has been getting stronger.
“You don’t know how Jose’s body will develop, but you can see that ‘man’ strength coming through,” Gonzalez said. “He’ll hit balls out in BP, and you can see his swagger.”
Encarnacion has a vastly different body type at 6-foot-5, 239 pounds. He played 135 games at both Class A levels in 2019, hitting .276/.331/.425 with 16 home runs. He boasts a cannon arm and a natural stroke to right-center field.
Gonzalez compared Encarnacion with Marlins first baseman Jesus Aguilar because both are big men who can swing for hits as well as power.
“Jerar can drive the ball to all fields, and he can hurt you with two strikes by minimizing his swing,” Gonzalez said. “His raw power is as good as anyone in the majors, and I saw Aaron Judge in New York.
“(Encarnacion) is agile for a guy that big, but he needs to stay on top of his body. He has the type of body that might get too big, but he has a good work ethic.”
— Lefthander Jake Eder, the Marlins’ fourth-round pick in 2020, has spent the past few months working with Jim Fannin, author of the book "S.C.O.R.E for Life: The Secret Formula for Thinking Like a Champion." Eder is learning about visualization, breathing and managing in-game adjustments.
Eder, who walked 4.6 batters per nine innings as a starter at Vanderbilt, is attacking that issue with sports psychology. “I will never think a negative thought,” Eder said. “My thought is: I am accurate. I throw strikes.”