Miami Marlins 2020 Top 10 MLB Prospects Chat

Image credit: JJ Bleday (Photo by Tom DiPace)



Kegan Lowe: Hey everybody! Thanks for joining for me to talk Marlins Top 10. Let’s get moving.

Jesus Sanchez (Still Elite?): 

    Thanks for the chat! During my breakout 2017 campaign, scouts drooled over my tantalizing tools. It seems I have yet to unlock everything my elite bat speed could allow me to. After being traded in 2019, what are scouts saying about me now? Still a potential above average hit/plus power above-average defensive RF?

Kegan Lowe: I think you’re on the right path. Maybe Sanchez settles in as more of an average hitter, but the plus power potential and above-average defense in right field are in line with what I heard from scouts and evaluators. There was some debate over Sanchez and JJ Bleday for the No. 2 spot, but ultimately I felt better about Bleday’s hit tool, and thus his ability to make more of a major league impact down the road.

Bryan (Illinois): 

    Any hot takes on Kameron Misner?

Kegan Lowe: I always enjoy rewarding readers who guess the player who *just* missed the list. Now, I can’t say for sure Misner ranks No. 11 when we expand to Top 30s for the Prospect Handbook (shameless plug), but he’ll definitely be in that range. Misner is an outstanding athlete. I think he’s most likely to end up in right field in the future, but he seems to handle center field fine for now. He’s big, strong and has plus raw power, so it’ll be the hit tool that will decide his future role. There was a clear argument for him to be included in the Marlins Top 10, but ultimately I decided to stick with the upside of Connor Scott for now.

Chris (NY): 

    Encarnacion is looking interesting. What does he need to do in 2020 to increase his stock?

Kegan Lowe: A lot of questions about Jerar Encarnacion, so let’s tackle that topic now. One of the Marlins prospects who improved his stock most in the last 12 months, Encarnacion probably fits more into that 15-20ish range right now. While his low Class A numbers were impressive, he struggled in his first taste of the Florida State League. He’ll be 22 all next year, so there’s still time for him to tackle the upper minors in the future. He learned how to tap into his raw power more often this year, which was his biggest improvement, and he’s an asset in right field with the strongest arm in the system. Just looking at the Marlins’ depth chart, you have Bleday, Sanchez, Monte Harrison and Scott as outfielders in the Top 10. And that’s to say nothing of Misner or Victor Victor Mesa. And let’s not completely forget about Lewis Brinson. The Marlins have a lot of outfield options, and while I wouldn’t put Encarnacion in the top five of that group, he’s definitely a lot closer than he was at this time last year.

ethan (Pistolvania): 

    Isan Diaz going to figure it out next year? traded keibert ruiz for him during year

Kegan Lowe: I’m mildly surprised by the wording of this question. Diaz was the Marlins’ minor league player of the year in 2019 and absolutely tore up the Triple-A Pacific Coast League before making his MLB debut in August. Sure, his 50-game sample in Miami wasn’t pretty, but I wouldn’t jump off—or on—any bandwagon based on 49 games at the end of a long season on a team that wasn’t competing for anything other than a top pick in next year’s draft. Will Diaz ever match his Triple-A numbers while in Miami? That’s doubtful. I don’t see many second basemen posting a .973 OPS in the majors. But do I think he could be a .250ish hitter—which is good by today’s major league standards—with 20-plus home runs for the Marlins? Sure. I would hold onto to my Diaz stock for now. He would have ranked somewhere in the 3-6 range had he still been eligible for this list.

Greg (Miami): 

    How close is Lewin Diaz to the Majors?

Kegan Lowe: I think Diaz will start 2020 in Triple-A, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he was in Miami by August or September. He’s only played 64 games above high Class A, so getting a few more months of seasoning in Triple-A to start next season should be welcomed. If you were asking me who will be the Marlins’ Opening Day first baseman in 2021, I’d take Diaz.

Derek Jeter (Miami): 

    Was the Victor Victor Mesa signing a mistake?

Kegan Lowe: I’ll never criticize teams for going out and spending money on players who they (and numerous others) think are going to help them in the future. So no, I wouldn’t classify signing Victor Victor Mesa as a mistake. With that being said, it’s clear—based solely off this year’s one-season sample—that my expectations (and the expectations of others who’d previously seen Mesa play) were too high. Sure, there was always going to be a re-adjustment period after Mesa didn’t play a lot of baseball leading up to his signing, but that doesn’t fully account for his complete and utter lack of power. 2020 will be a big year for Mesa. He needs to show he has at least some ability to impact the ball, and he also needs to show an improved hit tool. I would by no means give up on Mesa after just one season, but, as I talked about in the Encarnacion answer, there’s suddenly a lot of outfielders in the Marlins’ system who I feel better about than Mesa at this point.

Chris (Miami): 

    When does Jorge Guzman graduate from the prospect list

Kegan Lowe: Pitching prospects do not graduate from prospects list until they’ve completed more than 50 innings at the major league level or made more than 30 MLB relief appearances. So, I wouldn’t anticipate Guzman graduating from the Marlins prospect list until 2021. I guess the Marlins could convert him to a reliever and he could make 30 relief appearances for Miami in 2020, but that seems unlikely at this exact moment.

Jeff (Idaho): 

    How does Guzman compare to Alcantara? Both big fastball guys with spotty command. Alcantara seemed to turn a corner this year, any hope Guzman follows suit, or is he destined for a pen role?

Kegan Lowe: While we’re talking Guzman, let’s expand. I think Alcantara was always viewed more positively than Guzman, at least since they’ve both joined the Marlins’ system. But yes, I understand your comparison as hard-throwing righthanders who’ve battled control issues in the past. If I had to guess, I’d bet Guzman ultimately ends up in a major league bullpen. That’s why I slotted him in as the Marlins’ future closer in our projected 2023 lineup. But I don’t think the Marlins have decided that’s 100 percent his future role, and I’d expect him to continue as a starter at Triple-A in 2020. It’s obvious he has to improve his control if he wants to stick as a starter, but he did make some minor improvements in that area in 2019.

Alex (Miami): 

    I have read Connor Scott comps to Kyle Tucker since before he was drafted. Is this due to more both being 6’4″ lanky lefties from the same HS and less about actual a true comp? Do any scouts really think my FV hit/power is better than average for both?

Kegan Lowe: Yes, I think the Kyle Tucker comparisons have a lot to do with the characteristics you mentioned. But he was also a well-regarded first-round pick who signed for more than $4 million just 16 months ago, so it’s not like those were the only reasons Scott has been compared to Tucker. The Astros started Tucker out with 63 games at the Rookie-level in his draft year, and then he posted a .750 OPS in his first full season in low Class A. The Marlins have been more aggressive with Scott, and his full-season .680 OPS with Clinton doesn’t look great, but I think adding some overall muscle and strength would go a long way in helping Scott, who played the entire season as a 19-year-old against much older competition. I think average hitter and average power are fine grades for now, but let’s see how Scott develops in the next year or two before saying he can never be more than that.

Mike R (Lockport, NY): 

    Does Lewis Brinson get another chance in 2020, or has that ship sailed ? Jerar Encarnacion; does he make the book ?

Kegan Lowe: Yes, Encarnacion will make the Prospect Handbook, as we’ve established. And I see no reason why Brinson doesn’t get every reason to stick again in 2020. I don’t think anyone anticipates the Marlins competing for a division title next season, so let’s give Brinson every chance to carve out a role. I’d anticipate both Harrison and Sanchez making their major league debuts sometime in 2020, and maybe there’s a chance all three of them are playing in the same outfield sometime next summer. That’d be fun.

Deiter (Pensacola, FL): 

    Tyler Kolek, Riley Pint, Brady Aiken, …. Any hope left for Kolek? Can he at least become a Bullpen Arm ?

Kegan Lowe: Kolek has pitched a combined 33 innings over the last four seasons, walking or hitting 55 (!!) batters while striking out 35. He’s never pitched above low Class A, and his only experience at that level was back in 2015. Could he become a bullpen arm? Anything is possible. Would I bet on it? No.

Muck (Batavia): 

    Thanks for chatting! I watched Nic Ready all year in Batavia and was really impressed with him. He looks the part of a big leaguer! How far off was he from top 10? Is he getting any top 30 consideration?

Kegan Lowe: As a 23rd-round pick in his draft year, there’s almost nothing Nic Ready could have done in 67 games in the short-season New York-Penn League to rank inside the Marlins’ Top 10 at this point. If scouts thought that highly of him, he would have never lasted until the 23rd round. However, that’s not to take away from Ready’s pro debut. His offensive numbers, especially his power output, were impressive. He struck out too much, but evaluators rave about his makeup and work ethic. Not surprising given his Air Force background. If you wanted to bet on someone to reach his maximum potential, Ready wouldn’t be a bad bet. I’d imagine he’ll be in consideration for the back-half of the Top 30, but it’s still too early for me to say he definitely is or is not making the final list.

Tommy (Florence, AL): 

    What are your thoughts on Trevor Rogers? In the past there was talk of him ending up in the bullpen however he seemed to take a huge step forward as a starter last year.

Kegan Lowe: I’m a fan of Rogers. I haven’t heard any of this bullpen talk. I think his role is more likely that of a No. 4 or No. 5 starter on a good staff. Rogers doesn’t really have that prototypical wipeout stuff you see in high-leverage relievers, but I think you might be selling him short if you think his only future role is a long reliever or some type of lefty specialist. I put him as the Marlins’ No. 5 starter in 2023, behind Sixto, Alcantara, Cabrera and Garrett. Of course it won’t actually work out that way, and I’m sure at least one or two of those guys will bust or get traded, etc., but I think all of those five guys fit well in those potential roles as it stands right now.

Greg (Miami): 

    Who is the best sleeper prospect in the Marlins system?

Kegan Lowe: I’ve seen a lot of these questions. I’m not trying to avoid them, but rather my reporting up until this point has been very Top 10-focused. We don’t really start nailing down the last few spots on the Top 30 and “sleepers,” which we define as guys outside the Top 30, until closer to December. For example, guys like Encarnacion and Peyton Burdick are good under-the-radar (I’m not even sure they’re under the radar anymore) names to know, but they’re both players who are going to rank in the Marlins’ Top 20. That’s not going to qualify as a sleeper, but I haven’t really nailed down prospects in the 30-40 range for the Marlins quite yet. I still have to finish my Giants Top 10 before I get to those conversations.

Steve Stevens (Over Here): 

    How long until the Marlins move to a city where the fans actually care about them?

Kegan Lowe: Jeez. This seems harsh, but it was the first question in the queue, so let’s feed the trolls. The Marlins actually saw an increase in attendance from 2018 to 2019, despite winning fewer games. Way to go, Miami!! But seriously. Fans care when management puts a product on the field that’s worthy of fans’ time, energy and, most importantly, hard-earned money. That isn’t restricted to only Miami. The Marlins seem to be headed in the right direction, with a farm system that currently ranks inside our Top 10, but they’ve done nothing over the past two years to get anyone excited about major league baseball in Miami. This rebuild was never going to be quick. And I still think you’re still a few years away from the Marlins truly competing among the NL’s best. Maybe in 2022? 2023? I’m not sure. But I also don’t anticipate the Marlins moving anywhere anytime soon.

Kegan Lowe: Alright, y’all. I’m out of here. Thanks to everyone who asked questions! It looks like the Mets’ Top 10 will be the next prospects list to drop, and that should be coming on Friday. Hope everyone enjoys the rest of their week.

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