Miami Marlins 2024 International Review


The Marlins signed righthander Eury Perez out of the Dominican Republic in 2019 and he developed into one of the game’s elite pitching prospects, reaching the majors as a 20-year-old in 2023 before having Tommy John surgery this year. In 2022 they signed righthander Santiago Suarez out of Venezuela and he has become one of the more promising international pitching prospects in the lower levels, now with the Rays in Low-A after getting traded in 2022 in the deal for infielder Xavier Edwards.

While the Marlins’ big signing this year was a center fielder, they were more aggressive than most teams investing six-figure bonuses in pitching, coming away with an array of pitchers who have a chance to break out in the next couple years. 

Top Of The Class

Outfielder Luis Cova had one of the best combinations of athleticism, tools and skills in the 2024 class, signing for $1.4 million. Like Jackson Chourio of the Brewers, Cova is a premium athlete who spent time at shortstop but moved to center field, where he played for Venezuela at the U-15 World Cup in 2022. He’s 17 with a lean, high-waist frame (6-foot-1, 160 pounds) and quick-twitch athleticism.

Cova has fast hands, good bat speed and a mix of hitting ability and power, with scouts split on whether he will end up a hit-over-power type or a more power-driven offensive game. He has good bat-to-ball skills and a line-drive approach, but his power has jumped to where he’s now showing more home run juice, so with his bat speed and physical projection, he could end up a bigger power threat once he fills out. Cova has a quick first step in center field with the range and solid-average arm strength that should enable him to stay there. 

Names To Know

Jose Castro, OF, Dominican Republic: Castro, signed for $450,000, has a chance for two outstanding tools between his power and arm strength. He’s 6-foot-3, 180 pounds at 17 with the ability to put on an explosive power show in batting practice. He’s a likely corner outfielder who is athletic for his size with fast bat speed and more strength projection remaining. Castro will have to prove he can make enough contact to tap into that power, but it’s a chance for 60 and potentially 70 raw power on the 20-80 scale in his prime. Castro has a plus arm that also looks like it could jump another grade as he fills out.

Jose Paulino, RHP, Dominican Republic: When teams were scouting Paulino as an amateur player, he stood out for his physical projection, arm speed and a fastball that reached the low-90s. By the time Jan. 15 arrived and he signed for $350,000, his velocity had spiked to touch 96 mph at 17. Now he’s the hardest throwing pitcher any team signed in 2024, running his fastball up to 99 mph in preseason games leading into the Dominican Summer League season. At 6-foot-3, 175 pounds, Paulino has electric arm speed and an elite fastball, sitting mid-to-upper 90s in short windows and looks like he should eclipse 100 mph. Paulino isn’t a raw, wild thrower, but he will need to tighten his fastball control. It is a starter look with solid feel for his offspeed stuff, including a slider with slurve action and a changeup. 

Angel Garcia, RHP, Dominican Republic: Signed for $225,000, Garcia has the physical prototype scouts look for in a young pitcher. He’s 6-foot-3, 165 pounds at 17, touching 92 mph now with a frame that screams projection and a chance to be throwing in the mid-90s or better once he packs on more size. He has a starter look as well, pitching with his fastball to both sides of the plate and showing feel for both his curveball and changeup. 

Gerinton Mendez, RHP, Dominican Republic: Mendez, 17, signed for $200,000. He’s 6 feet, 180 pounds and checks a lot of boxes with his operation on the mound as a flexible, athletic righthander with sound mechanics. He’s able to repeat his delivery fairly well for his age, mixing a fastball that has ticked up to touch 92 mph with feel for a curveball that has three-quarters action and a changeup that could end up being his best secondary pitch. 

Gregory Arias, SS, Dominican Republic: Arias has a skill set that should translate to immediate success. A 17-year-old switch-hitter signed for $180,000, Arias is 6 feet, 160 pounds with a knack for maneuvering the barrel to cover the strike zone, making frequent contact with consistent quality at-bats. His offensive value should come more from his on-base skills than his gap power. He’s an intelligent player on the field with a plus arm from shortstop. He should get a chance to develop there, though he could end up moving around the infield. 

Eiver Mosquera, RHP, Venezuela: Mosquera, 17, has been trending in the right direction. He’s 6-foot-2, 175 pounds and was throwing in the upper-80s as an amateur and has climbed to touch 92 mph. It’s a wiry build with more room to layer on strength and projection to throw in the mid-90s. Signed for $180,000, Mosquera is a solid strike-thrower for his age with good action on a slider that’s ahead of his changeup. 

Estarlin Francisco, RHP, Dominican Republic: Francisco is a 17-year-old listed at 6-foot-3, 155 pounds with a good mix of stuff and projection. He’s athletic and explosive in his operation, firing his fastball up to 94 mph with what should be more velocity coming. Francisco, who signed for $170,000, has good life on his fastball, though he’s still learning to repeat his delivery to be able to command that pitch. If he can throw enough strikes, the stuff is there to develop as a starter, with good shape on his curveball and feel for a changeup.

Kifraidy Encarnacion, LHP, Dominican Republic: Encarnacion became eligible to sign last year, but he signed this year for $165,000. That’s a relatively bigger bonus for a previously eligible international pitcher, in part a testament to Encarnacion’s stuff from the left side. He’s 6-foot-4, 185 pounds at 18 and touches 97 mph, which is a jump from the 94 mph he was hitting when he signed. He’s uncomfortable at-bat, in part because he doesn’t always know where his fastball is going, but his fastball from a low release height and potentially above-average slider makes him especially tough on lefties. He should develop as a starter but could be a power lefty reliever. 

Eric Gutierrez, LHP, Dominican Republic: Similar to Encarnacion, Gutierrez is a big 18-year-old lefty (6-foot-5, 170 pounds) with a power fastball that he’s still learning to corral in the strike zone. Signed for $160,000, Gutierrez is up to 95 mph with feel for a slider that should be a swing-and-miss pitch for him. 

Carlos Ochoa, RHP, Venezuela: The Marlins signed Ochoa for $150,000. He’s 6-foot-2, 185 pounds with good pitchability for 17, a solid athlete on the mound with a three-pitch mix. There’s no one standout pitch in his mix, with a fastball that sits in the upper-80s, a slider and changeup, but there’s physical projection and feel for pitching to develop as a starter. 

Sleeper Watch

At 5-foot-7, 170 pounds, Dominican shortstop Yordani Martinez is small, but his game instincts and bat control should translate to immediate success in the lower levels. A $150,000 signing, Martinez is a 17-year-old switch-hitter with good barrel awareness, using his small strike zone to his advantage and making contact at a high clip with line drives all around the field and gap power. Players his size typically get moved off shortstop, and while that could still happen down the road, Martinez has good actions and body control to defend his position well. 

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