Realmuto, Mattingly announced to All-Star Tour
We had been anticipating this for more than a month, but Major League Baseball made the roster officially on Monday morning. Marlins manager Don Mattingly will lead a group of 29 elite MLB players for an exhibition series in Japan beginning next weekend. Stud catcher J.T. Realmuto is participating, too.
Hopefully, the past month of rest has revitalized J.T., whose production tailed off during the second half of the season. He nonetheless established himself as the best overall player at his position (.277/.340/.484, 126 wRC+, 4.8 fWAR).
Víctor Víctor vs. his countrymen
As with any player who has yet to play pro ball in the United States, there are a variety of opinions about new Marlins acquisition Víctor Víctor Mesa.
Ralph Lifshitz of Prospects Live is more bullish than most.
“Mesa has the makings, at least statistically speaking of a dynamic leadoff hitter with developing power and plus plus speed,” Lifshitz says after analyzing his production in Cuba.
He also provides this comparison between Mesa and other high-profile Cuban imports by using scouting grades at the time of their signings.
The main takeaway is that the 22-year-old’s hit tool gives him a relatively high floor at the major league level.
Marlins sending two to Fall Stars Game
Two prospects acquired from the Brewers in the Christian Yelich trade are producing in the Arizona Fall League. On Monday, outfielder Monte Harrison and right-hander Jordan Yamamoto were both named to the East roster for Saturday’s Fall Stars Game.
Harrison is slashing .295/.404/.318 through 12 games. Yamamoto has emerged as one of the most effective pitchers in the AFL with a 1.69 earned run average and 20 strikeouts through 16 innings. MLB Pipeline ranks them as Miami’s No. 2 and No. 17 prospects, respectively (though Yamamoto seems like a safe bet to move up between now and spring training).
Had the exhibition been pushed back a week, Brian Miller would’ve been in the conversation, too. As I highlighted here in the weekly update, he’s getting on base constantly and wreaking havoc once he does.
Marlins’ biggest need
Our own Mitch Custer arrived at the same conclusion in his season review on Thursday: the Marlins must figure out their present and future at first base.
MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand describes it as the organization’s top priority heading into the offseason. His “stopgap” candidates who could be had cheaply in free agency include Lucas Duda, Mark Reynolds and old friend Logan Morrison.
As much as I’d like to see Peter O’Brien seize the job, we should expect somebody with more major league experience to be brought into spring training camp as competition.
2019 fantasy assets
You should have ample opportunities to own Marlins players in your 2019 fantasy baseball leagues. That’s because nobody—including Joe Gentile of Fake Teams—knows exactly what to expect from guys with such limited MLB track records.
Only five Marlins crack his top 300 rotisserie league rankings: J.T. Realmuto at No. 85 (No. 1 catcher), Brian Anderson at No. 260 (No. 24 third baseman), Caleb Smith at No. 278 (No. 76 starting pitcher), Trevor Richards at No. 288 (No. 82 starting pitcher) and Peter O’Brien at No. 289 (No. 23 first baseman).
No José Ureña? Seems like a big omission considering how he finished strong last summer. Lewis Brinson should also be an intriguing bounce-back candidate, especially from a fantasy perspective because of his home run/stolen base potential.