Talented Teens Buoy Lower Levels Of Marlins' System
The Marlins are determined to flood their previously dormant farm system with young talent, and they can point to a pair of 18-year-olds as signs of progress: lefthander Luis Palacios and shortstop Jose Devers.
The Marlins signed Palacios out of Venezuela in 2016 and he has spent the past two seasons in the Dominican Summer League. He went 8-0, 0.85 with 62 strikeouts in 63.2 innings this season to lead the DSL in wins. He ranked second in ERA and first in opponent average (.155).
While Palacios never lost on the mound, he took a defeat of sorts shortly after the season when he got lost inside the spacious Miami International Airport.
Palacios was making his first trip to the U.S., and by the next day had found his way to Marlins Park, where he was among nine players honored by the organization.
"I was surprised—everything here is big,” said Palacios of his airport adventure. "I didn’t know what to do.”
Palacios had no such problem on the mound. He was named co-pitcher of the year in the DSL this year, and during one seven-game stretch he tallied 33 consecutive scoreless innings.
Palacios said he hopes to one day move his family to the U.S., but for the moment his parents and three siblings are back home in Venezuela.
The Marlins acquired Devers last December in the trade that sent Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees. Miami also fetched prospect righthander Jorge Guzman and veteran Starlin Castro in the deal.
The Yankees signed Devers, who is a cousin of Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers, out of the Dominican Republic in 2016. He advanced to low Class A Greensboro in 2018 and claimed the organization's player of the year award for that affiliate.
A glove-first shortstop, Devers continues to rise up Miami’s prospect ranking. He hit .273/.313/.332 with 13 stolen bases in 85 games, earning all-star status in the South Atlantic League.
But Devers, who is listed at 6 feet and 155 pounds, did not go deep this year and has only one career home run in 139 games.
"I’m working to get stronger,” Devers said in Spanish. "My workouts will be more intense in the offseason.”
Devers said it was a "big emotion” to take batting practice at Marlins Park before a Sept. 21 game against the Reds.
Asked about the distance of the fences, Devers smiled and said, "Far—no, super far.”