One would likely forgive most Marlins fans for having one eye on the minor leagues this season, given the low expectations for the Fish in 2018. Several highly regarded prospects will be opening their seasons down on the farm, after all.
This season, every week I will give a weekly brief recap of each level of the week’s action for each Marlins farm affiliate, focusing on the top prospects (per MLB Pipeline) and whoever else may be making an impact or turning heads.
Beginning this season, Pipeline makes it easy for you to monitor the recent performances of those top prospects.
Triple-A: New Orleans Baby Cakes
Record last week: 1-6
Season record: 4-7
It’s been a rough week for the Cakes, and a six game losing streak has put a damper to their excellent start. Particularly concerning so far has been Adam Conley, who is now 0-2 with an ERA of 19.84 over three starts. In 7.1 innings he has given up 20 hits and 8 walks for a WHIP of 3.82. Something is clearly off with Conley, and hopefully there’s not an injury going on.
Also having a rough week, Sandy Alcántara gave up 4 runs in 4.1 innings in his start, and Ben Meyer gave up 10 hits and 4 runs in 4.2 innings.
On a positive note, Zac Gallen and Joe Gunkel had good outings. Gunkel, a D2 product out of West Chester did particularly well, going five shut out innings in a no-decision.
At the plate, Scott Van Slyke continues to lead the way for New Orleans with a .400 batting average and a 1.105 OPS so far this season.
Austin Nola has done well while sharing catching duties, and has gone 4 for 7 to raise his batting average to .353 for the season.
Double-A: Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp
Record last week: 3-2
Season record: 4-5
Outfielder Austin Dean has been red hot, with 11 hits in his last 14 at bats to raise his average to .548 over the first nine games.
First baseman Eric Jagielo leads the team with two home runs so far this season while Outfielders Kyle Barrett and Monte Harrison each have four hits over their past four games.
Second baseman Isan Diaz continues to start slowly, and is now 1-24 for the season.
Jeff Brigham, out of the University of Washington, has had two excellent starts on the mound: each five shutout inning starts. He had 18 Ks in those ten innings as well, which bodes well for a call up to New Orleans should Brigham stay on this path.
The defense has also been making an impact
Single-A (Advanced): Jupiter Hammerheads
Record last week: 6-1
Season record: 8-3
Boy, the Hammerheads have been hot. Why?
A lot of the credit can be given to Joe Dunand; in fact he has been named the MLB Pipeline Prospect of the Week:
Joe Dunand, a power-hitting shortstop like Uncle @AROD, leads the FSL in total bases and hits and represents the #Marlins on the Prospect Team of the Week: https://t.co/DpRVobJLIn pic.twitter.com/2HAD5evjBY— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) April 16, 2018
J.T. Realmuto had a terrific rehab stint: one game, three at bats, three hits including a homer and a double. It looks like he will be with the Marlins on Tuesday.
J.T. Realmuto played ONE official rehab game—not even all 9 innings of that game!—and he's already in NY with the Marlins, per @CraigMish. Almost unheard of for a position player to progress that quickly.— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) April 16, 2018
But, overall, the big factor for the Hammerheads’ offense has been the long ball. Thirteen homers in eleven games is rather impressive, and Stone Garrett and John Silviano lead the team with three each.
Single-A: Greensboro Grasshoppers
Record last week: 2-4
Season record: 5-4
On the mound, twenty year-old Dominican right-hander Edward Cabrera enjoyed an excellent start against Lakewood, tossing six no-hit innings in a tough luck 1-0 loss for the Hoppers.
Taylor Braley had a solid six inning start as well this week, in a no-decision.