Note: This post was written after the August 26th Grasshoppers game.
I was finally able to check out the Greensboro Grasshoppers for a second time this year to see what some of the potential future faces of the Miami Marlins look like right now. What a season they are having; coming into the game their record sat at 82-51, which is a new franchise record for wins in a season. They won the first half of the South Atlantic League (guaranteeing them a playoff spot) and currently sit in second place of the second half standings.
Unfortunately, the game I saw was not up to their usual high standards. The Hoppers dropped the game to the Delmarva Shorebirds 5-3, only coming up with five hits and making three errors. Though things did get a bit interesting in the 9th inning when a Brian Anderson homerun brought them back into the game, that was all they would get. Now, I'm obviously not a professional scout so I won't get too technical with my evaluations. These are just brief observations of what I saw last night and how I feel about the player moving forward. I've mentioned most of these guys either in an article or in the comments section at various points throughout the season; let's see how they did last night.
Romero is the one guy in Greensboro I'm confident will make an impact for the Marlins at some point in his career. He's a smaller guy, only standing five feet eight inches tall, but he's strong. The scouting report on him is that he has a quick bat, decent hands at second base, and a good throwing arm. Romero got the start at second base, and made two errors. He booted one ball and misfired a throw on another. Not exactly what I was hoping to see, though he did start a nicely turned double-play at one point and handled the rest of his chances smoothly. Romero's calling card is his bat, but that was not on display last night either. He grounded out to short, struck out looking, grounded out to shortstop again, and then struck out once more in his last at-bat. I still love Romero as a player and won't let one bad viewing sully my thoughts on him.
Much to my pleasant surprise, before the game middle infielder Mason Davis was promoted from the Batavia Muckdogs. Davis started at designated hitter and led off. He's small, like Romero, but not quite as thick. He looked a bit nervous for his first game with Greensboro and it showed as he went 0 for 4 on the night. His first at-bat he grounded out to the pitcher, next he fouled out to the left-fielder before striking out looking in his third at-bat. His final at-bat he lined out on a hard hit ball to leftfield. Obviously I still like him as a player and hope he starts next season with the Grasshoppers so I can see him play again once he has gotten acclimated to the new league.
Anderson is naturally a middle infielder, but with Romero (and now Davis) also on the roster he has been getting more time at third base. Anderson is much taller than the other two, so he does not look out of place at third. He did not get much action at third last night, but he handled the few balls hit to him. Anderson was almost the entirety of the offense last night. His first at-bat was impressive as he lined an RBI single to right-field to tie the game in the first inning. He saved his best for his last at-bat when he would send a two-run homer out to left-field to give the Grasshoppers a bit of hope in the 9th inning. Needless to say I was impressed by Anderson.
Wallach got the start at catcher, as Chris Hoo took the night off. He has had a fantastic season between Greensboro and Jupiter. He's a tall athletic catcher who is absolutely raking this year. Coming into the game he was hitting .331/.436/.490 with seven homeruns, in 72 games with Greensboro. Catcher defense is hard to evaluate over such a small sample, but last night Wallach looked good behind the plate. Nothing jumped out at me negatively about his defense. At the plate he went 0 for 3 with a walk and a strikeout. He also grounded out and flew out. Wallach is another guy I'm high on. The best way to win me over is to post a sky high on base percentage and so far he has done that.
It's still tough for me to get a read on Carlos Lopez. He seemed to have a solid plate approach, and is having an outstanding season but he is old for this league at age 25. A four year college player should usually be in at least High-A by their second pro season. However, Lopez has performed well this year and that is still impressive. He added to his franchise record hit total with a single, he also drew a walk and reached on an error to get the 9th inning rally started. His batting line is now .318/.389/.427 for the season.
Dean got the start in left-field and went 1 for 4 at the plate, with a single. He is currently hitting .316/.378/.457 on the season. This has been a breakout season of sorts for Dean, as his first two professional seasons came with some struggles. He will likely start next season at Jupiter with Wallach, Romero, Anderson, and Lopez. Although, with the major league outfield situation a bit crowded, I would not be surprised if Dean was used in some sort of offseason trade.
One look at them in Low-A is not enough to get a real feel for whether or not these players will be able to help the Marlins at the big league level someday, but it is still nice to see them in person for a change. I have tickets to their first round playoff game on September 5th, so hopefully I catch them on a better day. If you happen to live within driving distance of Greensboro, I recommend attempting to make it out to one of their games this week, or a playoff game. NewBridge Bank Park is beautiful and a nice place to watch a ballgame.