The Marlins continued to cut payroll and add new faces yesterday by executing their third major trade of the off-season. Although still unconfirmed, it has been reported that the Marlins will be getting Magneuris Sierra, Sandy Alcantara, Zac Gallen, and Daniel Castano in exchange for Marcell Ozuna.
What follows is a breakdown of the four prospects, and what they could bring to the Marlins a few years down the road.
Magneuris Sierra, OF, St. Louis’ #6 prospect
Although not the Tyler O’Neill or Harrison Bader that fans were hoping for when the news first broke that an outfield prospect would be included in the deal, Sierra still has a lot of upside and he showed some promise during his first major league at bats in 2017. Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2012, ‘Mags’ Sierra struggled at first to adapt to the minor leagues, but has since bounced-back and made the necessary adjustments, which is encouraging to see from a player who is now only 21.
He has blazing speed and a knack for making highlight reel plays in the outfield, and he couples that with consistent hard contact at the plate. While he needs to develop patience at the plate and draw more walks (20 base on balls in 81 Double-A games this past season) to become a true table-setter atop the lineup, Sierra should slot-in as the best outfield prospect the Marlins have and he is already a strong candidate to receive a September call-up in 2018, if not before. Some experts are already drawing comparisons to Jarrod Dyson.
Sandy Alcantara, RHP, St. Louis’ #9 prospect
Some have said that Alcantara was the Cardinals pitching prospect the Marlins wanted all along, even in the proposed Giancarlo Stanton deal. As it stands, he looks more like a high-risk, high-reward pitcher than a sure bet, as there are conflicting predictions on whether he will remain a starter for the rest of his career due to his current command issues. What we do know is that Alcantara has an overpowering fastball (just like Jorge Guzman, who was acquired from the Yankees earlier in the week), and he mixes it in with a solid changeup and a power curveball which, at times, can look like a slider due to the high velocity.
Hitting triple digits on the radar gun is commonplace, but the command is the wildcard in his whole development (3.7 BB/9 over 369 minor league innings for his career). If he can get a handle on his arm strength, then he can become an ace or number two starter (which is clearly what the Marlins are predicting). If not, then Miami has acquired a future closer, which would reduce the quality of this entire package. A September call-up will be likely for Alcantara as well.
Zac Gallen, RHP, St. Louis’ #15 prospect
Gallen made it all the way to Triple-A in his first season out of North Carolina (third round pick), and looked good while doing so, posting a 2.93 ERA and 1.17 WHIP over 26 starts. With above-average command and enough life in his fastball, many see him as a safe bet to make a major league rotation one day, although only as a number three or four pitcher. He can throw his cutter too often at times but, once his changeup is developed further, the two pitches could form a devious combination. Due to his dependability, Gallen could be competing for a starting role in Spring Training.
Daniel Castano, LHP, unranked in St. Louis’ system
With all due respect to Castano, it seems like he was just added to make up numbers and ensure that the deal went through. The former Baylor pitcher went 9-3 with a 2.57 ERA over 14 starts in the New York-Penn League in 2017, but profiles as a reliever moving forward. Time in Single-A and above will decide whether or not he will ever put on a Marlins uniform.
The Ozuna trade may not have included any premiere prospects, but it appears that the Marlins have made three additions to their top ten prospect list, which is another step in the right direction. As with the other trades thus far, there is an element of risk involved with the minor league players received, and only time will tell if that risk pays off.