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Fish Food: New prospects, 2018 minor league coaching staffs, Re2pect The Process

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Take a deep breath as we digest a busy week in Marlins world.

Al Diaz/Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images

Lewis Brinson wants to be here

Photo by @FadeMartins/Twitter

Plenty of Marlins fans felt discouraged by the players acquired earlier this offseason in exchange for Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon. Nine total prospects—plus Starlin Castro! Remember him?—who certainly strengthened the farm system, but didn’t project as surefire core pieces.

We tried to tell you—Christian Yelich was always the Fish’s most valuable trade asset. It finally showed on Thursday night, when they received an impressive haul from the Milwaukee Brewers:

  • OF Lewis Brinson
  • OF Monte Harrison
  • 2B/SS Isan Diaz
  • RHP Jordan Yamamoto

Fish Stripes will cover all four of them in greater depth headed into spring training, but let’s focus on Brinson right here. In some brief MLB action with the Brewers in 2017, he was a highlight machine.

Beginning his age-23 season in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, he slashed .331/.400/.562 in 76 games to earn a promotion. Milwaukee used Brinson primarily in center field, and he’s capable of sticking at that premium position in the big leagues.

There are concerns about his durability and contact skills, as expressed by ESPN’s Keith Law (Insider subscription required). Even so, he takes over as the top young player in the organization. Legitimate Mike Cameron potential here.

Another fun angle to this: Brinson was born and raised in Broward county! He excelled at Coral Springs High School and even rooted for the Marlins as a kid (h/t Clark Spencer, Miami Herald).

Considering that South Florida is such a hotbed of amateur baseball talent, you would expect the front office to invest more heavily in local products. For the time being, Brinson seems just as excited to play for the Marlins as fans are to watch him succeed.


Stable leadership at all MiLB levels

The Fish have famously lacked continuity—in any role—throughout their existence.

The minor league coaching ranks are especially prone to turnover, so credit them for making it a priority to retain all seven managers from 2017:

Courtesy of Marlins Communications

A few notables include former catcher Todd Pratt, who just led Single-A Greensboro to a division title (75-61 record), and Ray Nuñez, the longest-tenured skipper (entering 12th season in Dominican Summer League).

This will be a pivotal year for the Marlins’ affiliates. It’s been half a decade since we’ve seen so much upside in the farm system (back when Yelich, Ozuna and Jose Fernandez still had rookie eligibility).

All of the offseason acquisitions need to get acclimated to their new surroundings, then find a way to harness their immense talents. Despite the roles awaiting them on the active roster, most will spend some length of time in the minors.

These mentors have a big job to do.


New Marlins ownership still polarizing

Source: FanGraphs

Numbers never lie, but they can certainly mislead when presented without context.

The above chart visualizes the data collected by the FanGraphs “What Do You Think of Your Team’s Ownership?” polls. To the far right, receiving the lowest average score from readers, are Bruce Sherman, Derek Jeter and their fellow investors.

However, it’s worth noting that there were separate polls created for all 30 MLB teams. Miami’s had the fifth-highest vote total, surprisingly—and suspiciously—on par with rivals who compete in much larger markets. With new ownership dominating the headlines in recent months for a variety of reasons, it would seem that most of this feedback did not come from actual Marlins fans.

So Fish Stripes’ Andrew Meyer wrote an article inviting feedback from our lovely audience. The promotional tweet was met with a variety of reactions:

Very mixed, yet not overwhelmingly negative.

One group that’s understandably unhappy with them? The Players’ Association.

Spokesman Greg Bouris confirms to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald that they’ve filed a complaint with commissioner Rob Manfred. Specifically, it alleges the Marlins are pocketing their revenue sharing payouts, rather than allocating them toward payroll.

At least in a few individual cases, that relationship will get more contentious before it gets better. An arbitration panel is set to decide on 2018 salaries for J.T. Realmuto, Justin Bour and Dan Straily, with the Marlins attempting to save a few hundred thousand dollars on each of them. Those hearings have been scheduled for Wednesday (Jan. 31), Thursday (Feb. 1) and Feb. 14, respectively.