A full month before any major league veterans hit free agency, the Miami Marlins got an intimate look at three of the best available players. Outfielders Víctor Víctor Mesa and Víctor Mesa Jr. and right-hander Sandy Gastón—all originally from Cuba—spent Friday at Marlins Park, showcasing their skills for all 30 MLB teams.
Víctor Víctor, 22, is the consensus No. 1 prospect in the 2018-19 international amateur class. Gastón was ranked No. 16 by MLB Pipeline, but he’s widely coveted because everybody else ranked above him in the class has already signed. It’s believed that the 17-year-old Víctor Jr. will sign with his brother in a “package deal.”
The Marlins did their best to take advantage of the home-field advantage. We don’t have full details because the showcase was closed to the press, as requested by the Mesa brothers’ representatives at Magnus Sports. That means leaning on social media posts from the field and clubhouse.
Many of Miami’s top prospects were in the building including Will Banfield, Tristan Pompey and Brady Puckett, according to each player’s Instagram story.
Based on a report from Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald, it seems that some of those minor leaguers faced Gastón in a simulated game. The Marlins were impressed to see him go two innings and record four strikeouts, Ebro adds.
CEO Derek Jeter was also in attendance, seated next to singer/producer Marc Anthony. Magnus Sports is a division of Magnus Media, the talent agency founded by Anthony, which is conveniently based in South Florida.
Following their showcase, the Mesas and Gastón were brought into the home clubhouse. Television monitors welcomed them by name. They also found personalized lockers and Miami Marlins uniforms with their names on the back. Gastón even tried his on:
Víctor Víctor received a No. 32 uniform. He wore that number while playing in the Cuban National Series.
It’s currently being used on the Fish by Derek Dietrich, though Andre Fernandez identified Dietrich as a potential non-tender candidate this offseason in a chat with The Athletic subscribers on Thursday.
The Marlins are believed to be among the favorites to sign the Mesas, and they were reportedly nearing an agreement with Gastón this summer before a failed PED test. There’s about $4.3 million remaining in the club’s international bonus pool with the possibility of adding to that by trading productive veterans.
However, the Baltimore Orioles have a significant advantage ($6.5 million international bonus pool) and the same urgency to stock up controllable young talent. Five high-ranking members of the organization made the trip to Miami, according to MASN’s Roch Kubatko, including scouts and front office executives.
On the other hand, Víctor Mesa Sr.—himself a longtime professional baseball player—conducted a recent interview with Jorge Ebro. Mesa was clear that, all things being equal, Miami is the best environment for his sons.
Interview of Victor Mesa (father). He was a legendary Cuban baseball player. At the end he said he’s certain his life will be shared between Cuba and Miami. This is probably the most definitive sign of the Marlins being a front runner for the Mesa Bros.https://t.co/NOyX2cSTux— Luis Davila (@luisrdavi) October 4, 2018
Beyond that he explains how much sense it makes for Miami to sign both his sons. This is honestly looking like a done deal to me. Mike Hill was named dropped. Wow. I think it’s time we get excited.— Luis Davila (@luisrdavi) October 4, 2018
With spring training still more than four months away, strap in for a rollercoaster of rumors. We’ll keep you updated on Fish Stripes.