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Along-time member of the Cardinals' stable of 100 mph Latin American arms, Alcantara had a breakout season in 2016 but experienced more of an up-and-down year in 2017, when his untamed arsenal yielded more hits and fewer strikeouts than his raw stuff would indicate. Even then, the 6-foot-4 righthander, who originally signed out of the Dominican Republic for $125,000 in 2013, earned a September callup and averaged 99 mph on his fastball in eight appearances as a reliever. Alcantara's big arm, tantalizing pure stuff and his proximity to the majors made him an intriguing, high-upside prospect for the Marlins to receive as the headliner in the return for outfielder Marcell Ozuna. Alcantara packs big velocity but has yet to fully harness it. His fastball sits 96-97 mph as a starter, touches 100 and has been clocked as high as 102. It's a big pitch, but Alcantara's command and control are below-average, resulting in too many hittable fastballs over the plate or well off. His preferred pitch is an upper-90s sinker, but it's taken a backseat as he's focused on his four-seam fastball command. Alcantara complements his fastball with flashes of promising secondaries, but they have yet to become consistent. Both his curveball and slider tend to run together into an 83-88 mph power breaking ball, but he is learning to separate them, and they both project as average. His 90-92 mph changeup is wildly inconsistent and rarely used but flashes above-average potential. Ultimately, Alcantara has the raw stuff to one day become a front-of-the-rotation starter, headlined by a fastball that is capable of sitting in the upper 90s for entire starts. He will, however, have to improve his command if he wants to reach that potential. If not––or if Alcantara never truly hones his breaking ball or changeup––then there is a chance the hard-throwing righthander will be forced to the role of a late-inning reliever. Despite receiving a handful of innings with the Cardinals in 2016, Alcantara will likely start in his first season with the Marlins at Triple-A New Orleans in 2018. If all goes well, Alcantara could be in the Marlins' rotation by season's end and for many years to come.
The Astros signed Guzman out of the Dominican Republic in 2014 on the strength of his lightning-quick arm and projection for a massive fastball. He was then traded to the Yankees in December 2016 for Brian McCann before spending his 2017 season improving his walk rate at short-season Staten Island. The Marlins acquired Guzman in December 2017 as the headline prospect in the trade that sent Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees, allowing the Marlins' new ownership to clear $265 million of the $295 left on Stanton's 10-year contract. Just as the Astros hoped back in 2014, Guzman has developed a big-time fastball, exceeding even the highest of expectations. He averaged 99 mph with his four-seamer in 2017. To put that in perspective, Yankees righthander Luis Severino was the hardest throwing starter in the majors in 2017 with an average fastball velocity of 97.6 mph. Guzman paired his top-of-the-scale fastball--which has peaked at 103 mph--with a developing slider and a third-pitch changeup. Guzman's slider, which sits in the high-80s, can be inconsistent but has flashed above-average potential. His 90-93 mph changeup is seldom used but can show true fading action. Guzman has had trouble keeping his slider in the zone early in games before finding his feel later, but overall his walk rate of 2.4 per nine innings in 2017 suggests he has above-average control. Guzman led the New York-Penn League with 88 strikeouts in 66.2 innings in 2017 and is ready for low Class A Greensboro in 2018. He could become a future No. 2 or No. 3 starter, though some Marlins officials believe he has front-of-the-rotation potential.
One of the oldest prep players in the 2017 draft class, Rogers was a top performer during the 2016 summer showcase circuit before producing inconsistent results as a senior against inferior New Mexico competition. Selected as the 13th overall pick, he signed with the Marlins for $3.4 million. Rogers, who is the cousin of former Marlins outfielder Cody Ross, did not pitch as a professional, though he did partake in several bullpen sessions. The Marlins contend that Rogers is healthy and that he was simply suffering from a bit of fatigue after his senior season. He would have likely pitched in instructional league if not for Hurricane Irma canceling instructs altogether. Pitching from a lean, but projectable, 6-foot-6, 185-pound frame, Rogers uses a low three-quarters arm slot and can easily reach 95 mph with his fastball. Plus control allows his fastball, which routinely sits in the low 90s and has reportedly topped out at 97 mph in bullpens, to play up. A 10-to-4 slider gives Rogers a true above-average secondary offering, and though it can come across as sweepy at times, it has a chance to be an effective swing-and-miss pitch if he can find a bit more consistency. Rogers also flashes an average-or-better changeup with late fade, as well as a solid-average curveball that gives him a true four-pitch arsenal. As he gains experience, Rogers has the feel to develop plus command. Rogers will get his first taste of pro action at the age of 20, nearly 10 months after being drafted. If the Marlins follow the same path they did with 2016 first-rounder Braxton Garrett, then Rogers could start at low Class A Greensboro in 2018.
The highest-drafted prep pitcher out of Alabama since righthander Rick James in 1965, Garrett went seventh overall in 2016 and signed for an above-slot deal worth $4,195,900 before the Marlins held him out for the rest of the year in anticipation for his pro-ball debut in 2017. Garrett made four starts at low Class A Greensboro in 2017 before having Tommy John Surgery in June. When healthy, his best pitch is a true north-to-south curveball, which was considered one of the best offspeed offerings in the 2016 draft class and features a hard, tight break. He commands both his high-70s curveball and his low-90s fastball well, while his changeup is coming along as a third pitch with late fade. Advanced command should help each of Garrett's three offerings continue to play up. Garrett will miss the entire 2018 season as he rehabs from surgery, which puts him on track to return in 2019, his age-21 season. Still, he projects to have three above-average or better pitches with above-average command, meaning, if he can return fully healthy, there still is a lot to recommend him as a potential No. 2 or 3 starter in the future.
The Mariners' first selection in 2015, Neidert claimed California League pitcher of the year honors in 2017 after going 10-3, 2.76 at high Class A Modesto. The Marlins acquired Neidert, shortstop Chris Torres and righthander Robert Dugger after the 2017 season in the deal that sent Dee Gordon and international bonus pool money to Seattle. Nediert advanced to Double-A Arkansas as a 20-year-old in 2017. He was adjusting to the level when he took a comebacker off his right forearm in mid-August, and he finished the year on the disabled list with a deep bone bruise. Neidert's aggressive approach allows him to excel. He goes right at hitters, has advanced feel for his secondary pitches and shows good poise on the mound. He effectively sequences his three pitches and throws strikes. Neidert's fastball sits 90-93 mph but plays up with carry through the zone due to a late hop in his delivery. Both of his secondary offerings--an average low-80s slider and future plus changeup at 78-81 mph with deception and fade--play up because of how well he commands them. He repeats his high three-quarters delivery, keeping hitters off balance. Neidert has a high aptitude for his craft with the ability to quickly make adjustments. Some observers don't see a true out pitch in Nediert's arsenal, but he succeeds because of his competitive nature and advanced pitchabilty. He projects as a No. 4 starter and will likely return Double-A in 2018.
Anderson began to access his raw power more consistently in 2017, when he hit 22 home runs at Double-A Jacksonville and Triple-A New Orleans to earn a September callup. The Marlins like his solid righthanded swing and defensive versatility, though he has found a home at third base after playing first base, second base and outfield in the past. Working from a strong, 6-foot-3 frame, Anderson has a smooth, line-drive swing and is able to go gap-to-gap with solid power. Though he shows plus power to his pull side in batting practice, he is at his best when he's spraying line drives to the right-center field gap. Defensively, Anderson possess a plus arm at third base, where his range has improved. He is excellent at coming in on the ball and making bare-handed plays. On the basepaths, Anderson shows above-average speed and instincts, but will never be known as a basestealer. Anderson will turn 25 early in 2018 and will be looking to nail down the third base job out of spring training. Some observers believe he has the potential for 15-20 home runs.
A touted international signing out of the Dominican Republic in 2012, Sierra slowly advanced before making the massive jump from high Class A straight to the majors in May 2017 when a rash of injuries left the Cardinals short of outfielders. He showed very well before returning to the minors at Double-A Springfield, and then rejoined the Cardinals in September. Sierra was then traded to the Marlins in December 2017, when he joined minor league righthanders Sandy Alcantara and Zac Gallen as headliners in the deal for outfielder Marcell Ozuna. Sierra fits the mold of an old-school leadoff hitter. Lithe and athletic, he has a compact lefthanded swing and slaps the ball gap to gap. He excels playing small ball and using his plus-plus speed to beat out infield singles and put pressure on opposing defenses. His speed plays up even more with tight turns on the bases. Sierra is an aggressive hitter who doesn't walk much, but his improving pitch recognition has led to a reduction in strikeouts. He is adding strength but does not project to ever be a home run hitter. Center field is where Sierra shines defensively, with top-flight tracking ability, elite instincts, efficient routes and a plus, accurate arm. Sierra's athleticism, elite speed and center field defense provide a solid baseline for a big league career, generally in the vein of a player like Jarrod Dyson.
An 18th-round pick out of high school by the Red Sox in 2015, Nelson didn't sign and instead went to Cisco (Texas) JC for one season before signing with the Marlins as a 15th-round pick in 2016. Nelson is the nephew of 2004 first-round pick and ex-big leaguer Chris Nelson and spent the entire 2017 season at low Class A Greensboro. Nelson has tremendous bat speed and keeps his bat through the hitting zone, which has helped him hit an impressive 41 doubles in 145 career games. His approach at the plate is still evolving and needs maturing, but that is largely to be expected from a 19-year old in his first full season. His bat speed suggests above-average power, especially as he continues to fill out his 6-foot-2, 180-pound frame and those doubles should eventually turn into home runs. Nelson displays average or better speed but isn't a stolen base threat. A shortstop in high school, Nelson made a smooth move to third base and showcases the tools necessary to be an above-average defender there. He has good range and at least above-average arm strength, but has been error-prone with a .907 fielding percentage. Described as having an above-average baseball IQ, Nelson should continue his steady ascent at high Class A Jupiter. He profiles as an everyday third baseman in two or three years.
Signed by the Mariners in 2014 for $375,000, Torres started his pro career with promising seasons in the Dominican Summer League in 2015 and the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2016. An injury to Torres' non-throwing shoulder hampered him early in 2017, but he took off in the second half of the short-season Northwest League season with a .798 OPS. The Marlins acquired him after the 2017 season--along with Nick Neidert and Robert Dugger--for Dee Gordon. Torres has a strong, physical frame and impressive athleticism. He has a solid approach at the plate and posted an 11 percent walk rate at short-season Everett. While his numbers so far don't support it, he projects to be an average hitter because of his pure swing and how he well uses his hands. He considered giving up switch-hitting and batting lefthanded only, but just needs to trust his righthanded swing. Torre is a plus runner and projects to have fringe-average power as he grows, but his glove should carry him regardless. He has the potential to be a plus shortstop with a plus-plus arm, though he loses concentration at times and needs to learn better angles on his throws. Torres is a long way from the majors, but could be an everyday shortstop with 15 home runs if everything comes together. Low Class A Greensboro likely awaits in 2018.
Gallen served as North Carolina's Friday starter for two years in a rotation that included future first-rounder J.B. Bukauskas. A cutter he picked up as a sophomore helped Gallen blossom into that role, and the Cardinals drafted him in the third round in 2016 and signed him for $563,100. Gallen provided instant value, zooming up three levels in his first full season and finishing 2017 at Triple-A Memphis. After the 2017 season, Gallen was traded to the Marlins with Sandy Alcantara, Magneuris Sierra and Daniel Castano for outfielder Marcell Ozuna. Gallen's stuff is average across the board, but all four of his pitches play up with superb control and deception out of his slight crossfire delivery. He mows through lineups by attacking the strike zone with all of his offerings and getting early-count grounders for quick outs. He pounds the bottom of the zone with his 89-93 mph fastball, backs it up with an 86-88 mph cutter that stays low and on the black, and mixes in an 82-85 mph changeup to keep hitters off balance. He also has a 77-79 mph curveball, but it can get loopy and hang on him at times. Gallen is athletic and repeats his delivery, fields his position well and has top-flight makeup. Gallen likely will start at Triple-A New Orleans in 2018 and fits as a potential back-end starter or swingman in the majors.
A highly-regarded prep lefthander out of Indianapolis in 2011, Peters turned down several big-money offers to pitch at Texas for three seasons. Listed at just 5-foot-9, Peters was highly successful at Texas, where he went 17-7, 2.26 in 50 appearances (38 starts). Despite a strong college pedigree, he fell to the 10th round in 2014 after he required Tommy John surgery. Peters eventually signed with the Marlins for $175,000 and made 48 minor league starts over three years before making his big league debut as a September callup in 2017. Peters' height can be a bit deceiving, because he throws a lively fastball that can reach the mid-90s with sink. Pitching mostly in the 91-94 mph range, he maintains his velocity and his command was consistently praised in the minors. Peters' curveball has a tight rotation and can flash above-average at times, while his changeup has some depth and is considered at least average. His command allows his stuff to play up. After making six starts for the Marlins in 2017, Peters will contend for a big league rotation spot in 2018. But with just 68 innings above high Class A, he could open the season at Triple-A New Orleans. He projects as a No. 4 starter.
Miller started at North Carolina as a DH known for his plus speed but without any natural position. He moved to center field by his junior year and had a strong wood-bat track record, hitting .327 in the 2016 Cape Cod League, which led to him being the first hitter selected by the Marlins in 2017. Miller spent his entire pro debut season with low Class A Greensboro. It was there that he showed off his natural feel for hitting by using his plus speed and strong contact ability, ending his 2017 season with the third-best average (.322) in the South Atlantic League from July 1 to season's end. With a slight 6-foot-1 frame, Miller projects to have fringe-average power at best. Defensively, he has shown improved range and instincts as he gets more time in center and projects as an above-average defender there, even if his arm strength may never be more than average. After a successful pro debut, Miller should start 2018 at high Class A Jupiter, with a chance to move quickly. His makeup suggests he has a great chance to maximize his potential as a high-average, low-power, everyday center fielder.
One of five international players the Marlins signed for $100,000 in 2015, Cabrera is on track to outperform his signing bonus. At short-season Batavia in 2017, he stuck out 32 batters in 35.2 innings as an 18-year old. After throwing several innings in extended spring training, Cabrera pitched just 35 innings, which included several relief appearances to monitor his innings. The tall, lean Cabrera reached the mid-90s in 2016, then took a big step forward in 2017, when he topped out at 101 mph. His typical fastball range is 94-96 mph as a starter. His plus fastball is paired with a hard slider that flashes plus at times and showcases good tilt. Cabrera has also been working on a changeup, which currently comes across a tad firm but shows the potential to be at least average. He shows above-average control. In a system that has taken high school pitchers in the first round in recent years, it's Cabrera who might have the most upside. He should see his first action in full-season ball in 2018.
Better known as Alex Rodriguez's nephew as an amateur, Dunand was a three-year starter at North Carolina State, where he played third base as a freshman before taking over at shortstop during his final two years. He hit .326 in the 2016 Cape Cod League. Dunand's 6-foot-2, 205-pound frame would seemingly profile better at third base, but the Marlins intend to keep him at shortstop. Initial reports of his defense were encouraging, though he doesn't project to have much more than average range. Soft hands and an above-average arm will play at short or third, however, he has plus defensive potential at the hot corner. At the plate, Dunand's plus raw power grades well above his hit tool, but as long as he shrinks his strike zone and stays committed to using the whole field he could be projected as an above-average hitter. Dunand is an at least average runner. Dealing with a finger injury in 2017, Dunand returned to play just eight pro games in 2017, and he should begin 2018 at high Class A Jupiter.
Acquired from the Mets as part of the A.J. Ramos trade, Gonzalez produced a stellar season in 2017. At two Class A levels, he pitched to a 1.66 ERA that ranked second in the minors. His 0.97 WHIP ranked 10th. Gonzalez is listed at just 6 feet, but he has a solid lower half and possesses a strong, yet high-effort delivery that helps him top out at 97 mph with his fastball. Working mostly in the 93-95 mph range, he also has an above-average curveball that will come across the plate hard with a tight, north-to-south spin in the high 70s or low 80s. He also has feel for a third-pitch changeup. Gonzalez's control has never been his strongest asset, but he took a step forward in 2017 by walking just 26 batters, against 103 strikeouts in a career-high 130 innings. In his full-season debut Gonzalez proved durable and effective, though he still faces questions about his future role. Developing his command and changeup will be key to staying in the rotation. If he can't, his power repertoire should play as a high-leverage reliever.
Hernandez was one of the more sought-after international prospects in 2014, when he signed with the Mariners for $1.85 million. He struggled in the Dominican Summer League in 2015, which led the Mariners to end his switch-hitting experiment. Seattle traded him and three others to the Marlins in July 2017 for David Phelps. A career .260 hitter with a 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, Hernandez must continue to improve at the plate, especially when it comes to using the entire field and making solid contact against quality offspeed pitches. He has a level swing and generates solid bat speed with a knack for making contact, but he hasn't produced much power in his career. That power could still materialize for Hernandez, who is 20 years old and still has projection left in his athletic frame. He could become a plus defensive center fielder with a strong arm. He shows good natural defensive instincts, while his plus speed plays up in the outfield and on the basepaths. Hernandez should get his first extended look in full-season ball in 2018, where he will flash all five tools but requires significant refinement.
The No. 2 overall pick in 2014, Kolek signed for $6,000,000, which is the highest draft bonus in franchise history. After signing, he struggled for two seasons and then missed the entire 2016 season after having Tommy John surgery. He briefly returned in 2017, making five appearances in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, but he walked or hit 17 of the 31 batters he faced. Kolek is a physically imposing righthander whose fastball can regularly sit between 96-98 mph. After routinely hitting triple digits as an amateur and topping out at 102 during his senior year, his fastball hasn't reached those levels as a pro, though it still plays as plus with heavy, downward tilt. During his only full season at low Class A Greensboro in 2015, Kolek's slider and changeup both showed below-average, which allowed hitters to sit fastball. More concerning than his lackluster offspeed offerings is Kolek's control, which is below-average. He has walked 5.9 per nine innings for his career. Improving his slider and changeup would help Kolek realize his ceiling as a No. 3 starter. The Marlins worked with him during his rehab to refine his mechanics and improve his command, which at times went haywire because of a side-to-side, cross-arm delivery.
Instead of signing with the Giants as a 40th-round pick out of high school in 2014, Mahan ended up at Kentucky, where he established himself as one of the most productive college bats in the 2017 draft. While his defensive ability has caused some concern, Mahan has continuously been lauded for his bat. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Mahan posseses a smooth lefthanded swing and shows good barrel control with the ability to use the entire field against both righthanders and lefthanders. Though his swing most often results in line drives, there is some untapped power in his frame that should continue to develop as he matures physically. Defensively, Mahan should be able to reach a ceiling of an at least average second baseman, though it will likely never be the strongest aspect of his game. Overall, Mahan is a good athlete and above-average runner, leading many to believe he could move to a corner outfield spot. He also possesses an above-average arm. Mahan will continue proving himself at second base for now, as his bat profiles better on the dirt. Mahan played in just six games--all with low Class A Greensboro--after signing with the Marlins in 2017 and could start 2018 there. He has a chance to move up the Marlins system relatively quickly, due mostly to his pedigree as an advanced college bat.
Committed to play baseball at Xavier, where he would have joined his older brother Chris, Matt instead signed with the Marlins in 2017 as a 20th-round pick for an over-slot deal of $458,000. In fact, Givin's signing bonus was one of just six bonuses the Marlins handed out in 2017 that were $350,000 or higher. Though Givin was regarded as a Colorado righthander with a short track record, he made seven successful starts in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2017, pitching to an 0.39 ERA and 0.94 WHIP in 23.1 innings. Working from a slim, 6-foot-3, 180-pound build, Givin has plenty of room to fill out his frame as he gets older, which is an encouraging sign considering the 18-year-old's fastball is already sitting in the low 90s. Though his fastball should add a tick or two as he matures, Givin's control already shows ahead of schedule, as seen by his 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Givin's changeup is currently ahead of his low-80s curveball, though both pitches have a chance to become above-average offerings with plus control in the future. If Givin can continue to build on his first-year success in 2018 and beyond, then he would have a chance to be the Marlins' steal of the 2017 draft.
A standout reliever at Stanford for three years, Hock was the Marlins' fourth-round pick in 2017 and signed with the club for an above-slot $500,000. In college, he recorded a team-best 22 saves and an ERA just above 2.00 over his final two seasons. The Marlins selected Hock with the idea he could become a starter at the pro level, but that transition didn't go as smooth as hoped in 2017, when Hock recorded a 6.75 ERA in 26.2 innings. At his best, Hock's mid-90s fastball features a late, heavy sink and pairs nicely with a tight, potentially plus curveball that gives him a dangerous one-two punch to attack opposing hitters. Improving his third-pitch changeup, which currently flashes fringe-average, would go a long way in boosting Hock's starter profile. Effort in his delivery would suggest a long-term role as a reliever. Hock showed plus control at Stanford, but his control wavered in pro ball with 6.1 walks per nine innings. The Marlins are not giving up on the idea that Hock could still transition into a starter, though he has a fallback option of high-leverage reliever.
A junior college transfer who spent one year at Mississippi, Lee was selected by the Rays in the 12th round in 2014. He then joined the Marlins organization in the June 2017 trade that sent shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria to Tampa Bay. After a dismal 2016 in which Lee hit just .209 in the Double-A Southern League, Lee bounced back in a big way in 2017, winning the SL batting title with a .309 average. Standing at 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, Lee is a plus defender who can play all three outfield positions with plus-plus speed. Though center field is his natural position, and where his bat profiles best, Lee's arm is strong enough that he could also play the corners, giving him solid value as a fourth outfielder. He has a contact-first swing and possesses well below-average power. He still needs to work on his instincts on the basepaths, which helps explain his career stolen base success rate being barely north of 60 percent. Lee will begin 2018 with his first taste of the Triple-A level. Lee's floor is a speedy, defense-first fourth outfielder, which could give him immediate value at the big league level.
Undrafted out of Drury (Mo.), Richards spent nearly two seasons pitching for Gateway in the independent Frontier League before signing with the Marlins as a free agent in July 2016. Since joining the organization, Richards has proved he belongs. During the 2017 season he made 25 starts at high Class A Jupiter and Double-A Jacksonville and finished 12-11, 2.53 with 158 strikeouts in 146 innings. He claimed the organization's pitcher of the year award. Line one with Richards is his stellar changeup, which at least one evaluator proclaimed to be a plus-plus pitch and the best in the organization. He can use his changeup as a true swing-and-miss pitch against both righthanded and lefthanded hitters, which has led him to a career strikeout rate of 9.5 per nine innings. Richards' fastball sits mostly 90-91 mph but can touch 94 at times. His fastball also plays up, in part due to the threat of his changeup, but also because of a deceptive delivery that can mess with hitters. Richards uses a fringe-average curveball as a third pitch. He shows above-average command, working his fastball to both sides of the plate and spotting his changeup down in the zone consistently. Richards should see time at Triple-A New Orleans om 2018. He turns 25 in 2018, but if he can improve his curveball then he has a chance to become a back-of-the-rotation starter. If not, he could excel as a long reliever, relying on his fastball-changeup combination to navigate a big league lineup.
Dugger relieved at both Cisco (Texas) JC and Texas Tech before the Mariners drafted him in the 18th round in 2016 and signed him for $70,000. He was largely just another nondescript minor league reliever until the Mariners shifted him to the rotation midway through 2017. The Marlins acquired him with Nick Neidert and Chris Torres in the trade of Dee Gordon after the 2017 season. Dugger thrived in a starting role at low Class A Clinton, posting a 1.18 ERA as a starter compared to 3.42 out of the bullpen, and that continued with nine more starts at high Class A Modesto. Dugger comes at hitters with both a four-seam and two-seam fastball. His two-seamer sits 92-93 mph and touches 95 with sink, though he has started relying more on his slightly harder four-seamer. His best secondary is a 76-79 mph curveball that misses bats, and he also mixes in a low- to mid-80s slider and changeup. Dugger is athletic and works quickly, pounding the strike zone using a repeatable three-quarters delivery and a firm, but somewhat violent, cross-body finish. Dugger's rapid ascent after moving to the rotation makes him an intriguing arm to watch in 2018 when he takes the next step to Double-A Jacksonville.
The second-highest paid player in the Marlins' 2013 international signing class, Soto signed for $310,000. He missed much of the 2015 season with a torn meniscus in his left knee and then--after hitting .261 in 113 games at low Class A Greensboro in 2016--he missed the entire 2017 season due to a fractured foot suffered during spring training. The 6-foot Soto has some of the best raw power of any hitter in the Marlins organization, with short but strong arms that help produce above-average bat speed. A lefthanded hitter, Soto hit .262/.336/.434 against righthanders in 2016 but struggled against lefties, hitting .209 in 115 at-bats. If Soto can improve his pitch recognition and his platoon splits, he has the potential to be an above-average right fielder with a strong arm. Soto has never been much of a threat on the basepaths, stealing just four bases from 2014-16. Soto resumed playing in the Dominican instructional league in 2107 and should be fully healthy for spring training. Assuming all goes well, an early-season assignment to high Class A Jupiter is likely.
Lopez signed as an international free agent with the Mariners in 2012 for $280,000 and was then traded to the Marlins in July 2017, along with Brayan Hernadnez and two others, for righthander David Phelps. Three years before the trade, Lopez had Tommy John surgery, missed the entire 2014 season and pitched just 37 innings in 2015. Over the last two seasons Lopez has bounced back strong, throwing nearly 230 innings with an ERA of 3.41. He is not an overpowering pitcher, though his low-90s fastball can touch 95 mph and features heavy sink. Neither Lopez's slider nor changeup grade out as much more than average, though his plus command helps all three of his pitches play up. In 2017, he walked just 20 batters in more than 145 innings--good for a walk rate of 1.2 per nine innings. That would have led the Florida State League had he pitched enough innings to qualify. Lopez will turn 22 in March and will likely be headed for Double-A Jacksonville. He needs either his slider or changeup to take a step forward if he wants to continue to succeed at the upper levels and reach his ceiling as a back-of-the-rotation starter thanks to plus command and strong competitive makeup.
Holloway was a raw but projectable Colorado high school righthander in 2014 whom the Marlins took in the 20th round and signed to an over-slot deal. He signed for $400,000 but has since had an up-and-down career, despite having some of the best stuff in the organization. Holloway had Tommy John surgery in June 2017, putting his 2018 season in doubt. When healthy, Holloway's electric stuff is highlighted by an upper-90s fastball that can touch 98 mph along with a hammer curveball that can flash plus. Holloway's changeup is still a work in progress, but it shows the velocity difference and movement necessary to be a potential above-average pitch down the road. Though he made just 11 starts in 2017, Holloway showed slightly improved command, but that is still the area of his game that needs the most polish. At best, Holloway will make his mound return late in 2018, but even then his workload should be in a controlled environment. With that, Holloway's 2019 season becomes crucial to his development.
After drawing interest from high-profile football programs such as Clemson, Notre Dame and South Carolina as a dual-sport star at Laurens (S.C.) High, Jones eventually committed to Vanderbilt's baseball program before the Marlins snagged him with the 84th overall pick in 2016. Jones signed with the Marlins for $1 million, but he hit just .181/.315/.282 in 68 games at short-season Batavia in 2017. Jones is a tantalizing athlete with five-tool potential, but he remains very raw. It seems obvious that he is going to be a slow burner, especially at the plate where he struggles to make consistent contact. The bat speed is there, however. So is Jones' foot speed, which makes him a threat on the basepaths and gives him plus range in center field. He also has an above-average arm, which could also be said for his power potential if he ever hits enough to tap into the raw strength he possesses. Jones turned 20 in December, so there is still plenty of time for him to reach his potential. Jones could see his first action in full-season ball at low Class A Greensboro in 2018, but it would not be surprising to see him receive more seasoning in extended spring training and short-season ball.
Brigham was a fourth-round pick by the Dodgers in 2014, only a year after he missed his entire junior season at Washington recovering from Tommy John surgery. Brigham was eventually traded to the Marlins in July 2015, when righthanders Mat Latos and Michael Morse were sent to the Dodgers for Brigham and three other players. The 6-foot Brigham struggled with lingering injuries in 2017, when he spent most of the season on the disabled list and made just 11 starts at high Class A Jupiter. Brigham's best pitch is a mid- to upper-90s fastball that can touch 98 mph and also shows late armside run. He also uses a low-80s slider that flashes plus potential and shows feel for a changeup that's a clear third pitch. Brigham's control is just average, limiting his ceiling as a starter and making a switch to a relief role possible. Proving he can stay healthy will be vital for Brigham, who has experienced a shoulder injury, oblique strain and other relatively minor injuries throughout the last year. Brigham will be 26 in 2018 and should begin the year at Double-A Jacksonville. If healthy, he could be pushed quickly and might make an early impact for the Marlins sooner rather than later.
Marinez was the Marlins' biggest signee of the 2017 international free agent class. The native of the Dominican Republic signed with the club for $1.2 million. At 6 feet and 170 pounds, Marinez isn't the biggest, but he has a thick lower half that could necessitate a move to third base in the future. He has soft hands and solid range that would play at either shortstop or third base. Though he doesn't have a quick first step, Marinez has a plus arm that gives him value as an above-average defender. He displays a compact swing and could develop above-average power as he matures, but his approach at the plate and ability to recognize offspeed pitches needs work. He projects as an average runner, at best. Marinez will make his U.S. debut in 2018 in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League.
A talented prospect who signed with the Yankees out of the Dominican Republic for $250,000 in 2016, Devers is a much different prospect than his cousin, Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers. Having just turned 18, Devers is a defense-first shortstop who was traded from the Yankees to the Marlins as the second of two prospects in the Giancarlo Stanton trade. Before the trade, Devers ended his 2017 season in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, where he was ranked as the league's No. 19 prospect. He stood out for his defensive skills and athleticism. A wiry shortstop at 6 feet, 160 pounds, Devers showed above-average speed, good hands and good footwork while also showing an improved arm action and arm strength as a result of added strength. Devers' glove is clearly ahead of his bat, though he did hold his own against older competition in the GCL and flashed a sound swing and contact skills. Devers may never display above-average power, though that should improve as he continues to add strength. Devers should see time at short-season Batavia in 2018.
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