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Miami Marlins 2021 MLB Prospects Chat

Our Marlins Top 10 for 2021 is here. 

Logan (Mi):

     This is an awesome list. Who was your favorite pick the Marlins made this past draft? Also, I know the Marlins had a competitive balance round b pick this past year. Does that mean they will have a competitive balance round a pick this year? I thought a and b alternated each year. Thanks!

Andre Fernandez: Thanks Logan. Max Meyer could become a future rotation piece, but I'll say Dax Fulton. I like his upside as a potential lefty starter who projects well with that tall 6-6, 225-pound frame. Assuming he bounces back well from TJ, of course, which all indications are that he's looked good so far in his rehab. He's got a 93-ish mph FB that should add velo as he gets stronger, a plus curveball and a changeup that projects around a 50-55 as of now. If he develops a strong 3-pitch mix, scouts think he could be the most promising lefty in their system even ahead of Rogers/Garrett. And about the supplemental picks, yes it tracks for them to have it next draft since these are for the 10 lower revenue franchises. Kameron Misner was a solid pick in that round in 2019 and I also like Kyle Nicolas (61st in 2020). While he could still develop into a starter, he also has the tools to become an above average closer.

Fish Stripes (FL):

     Three of your top 10 prospects (Díaz, J. Sánchez and Devers) will be playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic. How much weight will you put on those performances vs. some very high-level competition?

Andre Fernandez: Fish Stripes! What's up guys. I'd say any in-game experience is only going to help these days after losing the minor league season last year. Devers made a big jump in our rankings and looked strong at the alternate training site this year. continuing to show his skills as a contact hitter and seeing the ball well. With his recent injury history, playing in the DR will be good to see how he plays against other competition. Sanchez struggled in his major league debut so this also will be helpful as he prepares for another shot to get back. Same with Diaz who scouts think defensively is ready to be an everyday major league first baseman right now.

Bill B (Glen Allen, VA):

     Along with many others, shocked to see the Marlins in the playoffs last season. Kudos to Mattingly and the staff for a great year, given COVID and the significant numbers of players they had up and down throughout the year. Given the state of the NL East (Phillies and Nationals especially), and the possibility of the DH in the NL going forward, does this mean the Marlins add a veteran bat or two from the FA list for DH or give those at bats to Diaz, Sanchez, or another young player? Also wondering the same about a veteran SP or two. Will be interesting to see if there is another year of magic for the Marlins before many of their top prospects arrive in Miami and stay there for good. Thanks

Andre Fernandez: Hi Bill, I think they would. They can bring back Jesus Aguilar though and make him more of a DH and that would facilitate more ABs for Diaz, same with Garrett Cooper as they clear space for their surplus of OF prospects. I think 2021 will be exciting with the chance to see more hitting prospects like JJ Bleday potentially make their debuts.

Jacob (Wilmington, NC):

     How excited should we be about Eury Perez? 6'9" hitting 95mph in instructs w/command, body control, and just 17 years old.

Andre Fernandez: Hey Jacob, I think fairly excited since there's always some risk when you talk about prospects that are so young. That said, I like his velocity and control with that tall frame. It's tantalizing if he can gradually fill out and add strength. He also throws a curveball and changeup that would add to the package if they develop into above average or even plus pitches with time.

Al (Bal Harbour):

     How would you grade Jeter’s tenure so far, particularly on trades? He did well acquiring Sixto and Sandy, plus getting Stanton off the books was a win, then Guzman and Devers on top were gravy. I also liked attaching a prospect to Romo for Diaz. But I was never high on the Yelich return and Gallen for Jazz straight up was highly questionable at the time, now factor in Gallen’s 2020 season and it looks quite lopsided.

Andre Fernandez: Hi Al, I'd say it's a mixed bag but improving with their most recent moves like the Realmuto deal and the Romo for Lewin trades you mentioned. Even though Brinson seemed to finally figure things out a bit at the plate this year, the jury is still out on Diaz and Harrison has still raised concerns as a hitter and we saw Yamamoto lose his spot so the Yelich trade clearly hasn't been good for them. But I think the Realmuto deal has definitely produced with not only Sixto's emergence, but Alfaro still has time to develop into a better hitter. The Ozuna trade looked even better this year after seeing Sandy become the team's ace, Sierra improving and even Daniel Castano surprising many by becoming a regular contributor in the majors. Plus Jazz looks promising even though it meant losing Gallen. Stanton was good clearly from a financial standpoint and I think Devers has a chance to become a top of the order contributor. Beyond trades, I like the moves they've made. Today's hire of Kim Ng as GM is a great one and I'd say DJ Svihlik in recent years too which has led to a pair of strong drafts.

Matt (Midwest):

     Thoughts on where Jerar Encarnacion might start given all the changes in minor league teams etc... Is he a candidate for a DH role or is his defense good enough to be an everyday big leaguer? Also, do he changes in minor league ball limit players like him making it to the show?

Andre Fernandez: Hi Matt, I do like him as a DH down the road if he can continue to improve his plate discipline. The power is tremendous, and among the best they have in the system and he's got the strongest arm of any OF they have. If he can become an average enough defender he can play some corner OF but I'm a believer the DH is here to stay which would help Jerar's career path.

Craig Grebeck (Second base):

     Peyton Burdick has a lot of loud tools. Could you see him jumping into the top 10 in the next couple years?

Andre Fernandez: It's possible. He continues to impress with those hitting and defensive tools you mention. Right now, after Bleday I have him firmly in the group of next OFs coming up with Misner and Connor Scott. He could be a guy that jumps the line and makes his way up after Bleday.

Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware):

     So what's your prognosis for the Mesa brothers (Victor Victor, Victor) for the future? Good, I'm hoping, as they cost the Marlins millions of dollars.

Andre Fernandez: Hi Karl, the Marlins believe so although I have my concerns about Victor Victor since he hasn't shown the ability to impact the baseball so far and struggled so badly at Double-A. What makes it frustrating is that he does make contact consistently and possesses plus speed when he actually does get on base and he's a plus defender that can play CF. I think Mesa Jr. is ahead of him in terms of hitting and projects more as a corner OF but the experience he's getting from playing in the minors since age 17 is something Victor Victor didn't get to do and it's going to benefit Jr. tremendously.

Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware):

     The Marlins farm system is spread out all over the eastern United States. With major league contraction, it seems proximity to the major league club would dictate big changes. Of course this would just be a guess, but what is your prediction on how contraction shakes out for Miami?

Andre Fernandez: Hey Karl, I believe you meant minor league contraction. If so, yeah I'm concerned for the lower levels far from Miami like low A Clinton although I know the Marlins and VP of Player Development and Scouting Gary Denbo love the Midwest League for prospect development. It's a shame if they are contracted because minor league baseball is so vital for those towns and for the prospects it helps many of them gradually work their way up to avoid elevating guys before they're ready.

Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware):

     Former 1st rounder Brian Miller is slowly progressing through the Marlin's system - do you think he will ever live up to his high draft status?

Andre Fernandez: Brian has been progressing but my concern for him is getting passed by all these OF prospects the Marlins have acquired over the past year or so through trades and the draft. Miller is a good contact hitter with decent speed but not really a major power threat and scouts think he projects as a 4th OF at best. That hurts when the org has other prospects with higher ceilings like Bleday, Sanchez, Misner, Scott, Burdick, Encarnacion, Conine, etc.

Steve (Miami):

     JJ Bleday's report states it's possible he could fast-track his way to a corner OF spot by the end of the season. Could you put a percentage on how likely you think it is that happens?

Andre Fernandez: Hi Steve, I'd say close to 50 percent depending on whether MLB and the minor leagues are able to start a traditional season as planned. I could see him having a chance to come up by mid-late summer and could retain a spot if he impresses. I think he's a very high percentage to at least debut in 2021 like so many did in 2020.

Vinny (NY):

     It seemed like Edward Cabrera was closing the gap on Sixto a bit last year, but that momentum has stalled. How big of a gap is there between the two in terms of what their ceilings could be?

Andre Fernandez: Hi Vinny, unfortunately for Cabrera injuries got in the way but I wouldn't say the gap is that big. Cabrera has the similar double plus high-velo FB like Sixto and a plus changeup, which scouts still rate arguably the best in their system like Sixto's. Cabrera should get a call to the majors quickly in 2021 if healthy. I like him projecting as 2-4 starter or maybe elite closer potential if not.

Jerry (FL):

     Is there any reason to believe Lewis Brinson can be the long-term everyday CF?

Andre Fernandez: Hi Jerry, Marlins are bringing back Starling Marte but I think Brinson showed some encouraging signs finally by lowering his strikeout rate and making more consistent contact with impact at the plate last year. Defensively and speed-wise the package is there. He's got good range and good instincts to play the position. It seems we say this every year but I think 2021 will be telling for Brinson but this time as a year where we will see if the results he's been hoping to produce for such a long time are legit or not.

Kim NG (Miami):

     They say the good GMs know which prospects to keep and which ones to trade. What prospects in the Marlins system could you see me dangling as trade bait?

Andre Fernandez: Congrats on the job, Kim!! ;) I would say that with the surplus of pitching prospects on this team, any moves Kim and the Marlins FO can make that would add more impact hitters to the major league squad to balance things out would help. Our projected 2024 rotation has Sandy Alcantara, Sixto Sanchez, Pablo Lopez, Max Meyer and Trevor Rogers. And that left out Edward Cabrera, who I still think can be a No. 2 starter minimum if his career takes him that route...and Braxton Garrett, Nick Neidert, Dax Fulton, Kyle Nicolas, Evan Fitterer and several others that still project as possible future starters.

Chamaco (Mexico):

     Who is more likely to be a starter long-term — Cabrera or Meyer? What are their respective ETAs?

Andre Fernandez: Hi Chamaco, that's a tough one because I think both have the upside to be high-end starters but both could also profile as high-leverage relievers/closers depending on how their pitching arsenals develop. I like them both as starters for now although I recognize the potential for Cabrera with the high velo to be a closer. You could see both make it to the majors in 2021, but I'd say Cabrera is more likely as of now to get there first.

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