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 (@cakesbaseball)
Record last week: 3-4
Season record: 7-11
There have been a few positive signs this week with Marlins pitching prospects making progress.
Sandy Alcantara had two excellent outings this week, and looking at his performance on Monday, he looks close to ready to be called up to the majors. With good movement and control of his breaking ball. In these two starts, Alcantara went eleven innings and gave up only 2 runs while striking out 11. He also crushed an RBI double to right-center that was the difference in the 3-2 win on Monday over Oklahoma City.
The tall and wiry Zac Gallen had an excellent bounce back outings, spotting his fast ball well through seven shut out innings to lower his season ERA to 2.25. Ben Meyer also tossed five shut out innings to lower his season ERA to 2.45.
At the plate, Magneuris Sierra has started to heat up, hitting .278 over his last 10 games.
Double-A: Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (@jaxshrimp)
Record last week: 2-5
Season record: 6-10
While Monte Harrison and Isan Diaz are hitting only marginally better (around .200 for their last 10 games) than their ice cold start, the Shrimp’s outfielder and Vanderbilt product John Norwood is impressing. Norwood is hitting .316 with an OPS of .807 in his last 10.
Jeff Brigham continues to do well, and now has 3 of the 6 wins for the Shrimp staff, and still sports a puny 0.80 ERA. The right-hander has tossed 15 innings, while walking only 3 while whiffing 20 batters.
Single-A (Advanced): Jupiter Hammerheads (@GoHammerheads)
Record last week: 6-0
Season record: 14-3
The Hammerheads continue to be the shining star of the Marlins system, and are currently on an 8-game win streak, and have won 13 of their last 14. They are also the destination for rehab starts for injured Marlins pitchers.
After a rough first rehab start, Dan Straily threw five strong innings last Wednesday. He’ll appear for them again during Tuesday’s doubleheader before rejoining the Marlins staff. Left-hander Wei-Yin Chen tossed five scoreless frames on Sunday.
Among the Hammerheads prospects, prowess at the plate has been the driving force behind Jupiter’s success. Joe Dunand has been mashing, as has been previously noted, but John Silviano continues to impress as DH with a 3 homers and 15 RBI with an OPS of .951.
Single-A: Greensboro Grasshoppers (@GSOHoppers)
Record last week: 5-2
Season record: 10-6
Dominican right-hander Edward Cabrera is arguably the most highly regarded prospect on the Hoppers, and has only given up 4 hits in his 16 1⁄3 innings pitched so far this season. To demonstrate to you how meaninglessness win-loss record is, Cabrera is 0-2 for the season. On the other hand, he has walked 10 and struck out 11 so far this season so he has been a tad lucky with his pitch-to-contact approach thus far.
Ryan Lillie has also impressed, and had a stellar start this week: seven innings of two hit, eight strikeout ball for the 2017 draftee out of UC Riverside.
Eric Gutierrez, an infielder out of Texas Tech, leads the team in total bases and RBI.