Outfielder Austin Dean, a 2012 fourth-round pick out of a Texas high school, hit .420 with power at Double-A Jacksonville to earn a promotion to Triple-A New Orleans in late April. The 24-year-old continued hitting in the Pacific Coast League to earn a mid-August callup to Miami.
In 109 minor league games this year, Dean hit .345/.410/.511 with 12 home runs, 20 doubles and five triples to go with a .922 OPS.
“We wanted to see how he responded to the challenge of Triple-A,” president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. “And he continued to have the same quality at-bats.”
Dean, who bats righthanded, hit his first big league homer in just his second game there on Aug. 17.
“The ball jumps off his bat,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “He is short to the ball. He has a chance to have success here.”
Drafted by the Mariners out of high school in the second round in 2015, righthander Nick Neidert continued his precocious pitching in his first year in the Marlins’ system.
Neidert mastered Double-A at the tender age of 21 by going 12-7, 3.24 in 26 starts for Jacksonville. He led the Southern League in wins (12) and innings (152.2) and ranked second in strikeouts (154) and third in ERA.
The Marlins acquired Neidert in the Dee Gordon trade last offseason, and the young righty’s mastery of the strike zone (1.8 walks per nine innings) and wide repertoire of average to above-above pitches have him ready to tackle Triple-A in 2019.
KEEP AN EYE ON
Outfielder Davis Bradshaw hit .376/.453/.484 in his pro debut in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. He stole 15 bases in 16 tries and drew 10 walks in 27 games before his promotion to short-season Batavia.
The 20-year-old Bradshaw, who was an 11th-round pick this year from Meridian (Miss.) JC, is typically the first player on his team in the batting cage. Though he doesn’t have much power yet—he hit no home runs in 46 games—his first pro manager believes the long ball can be in his future once he fills out his 6-foot-3, 175-pound frame.
“He has room to put on weight,” GCL Marlins manager John Pachot said. “Next year, he will be another type of man. He will have an offseason to put (on weight). His power right now is gap to gap, using the opposite field or up the middle. But he can barrel the ball and make hard contact.”
Pachot said Bradshaw turned in his team’s fastest sprint times, edging out Milton Smith, who was thought to be even faster. Scouts say the lefthanded hitter is a 70 runner on a 20-80 scouting scale, making it his carrying tool.
“He played left field for us,” Pachot said, “but I think eventually he will be a center fielder and leadoff hitter. I think he still needs to work on his jumps on defense, his routes to the ball. Even so, he covers a lot of ground with that speed.
“It’s about development. But when you hit like he has, you will get noticed.”