This has been a year of growth so far for the Marlins. With no pressure to win games in 2018, Miami has had a chance to give prospects a longer leash than in previous seasons.
The results are exciting to say the least. New acquisitions like Sandy Alcántara (Ozuna trade, Marlins No. 1 prospect per Baseball America) and Pablo López (Dee Gordon trade) are getting opportunities to stick in the rotation. Lewis Brinson (Yelich trade) struggled at the plate the first half of the year, but makes up for it in the field along with solid power numbers.
It isn’t just the new guys making noise—Brian Anderson is turning himself into a budding superstar while Trevor Richards continues to take full advantage of pitching at the highest level. It’s a great time to be alive if you’re a Marlins prospect.
Get those shades on because the future's looking bright Another day, another Marlins rookie starter dominates. This time, it was Trevor Richards.— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) July 22, 2018
6.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K (102 pitches) pic.twitter.com/oJ3CHYVoNN
That being said, Miami still has a wide array of talent in the minor leagues at all levels as Ethan covers daily in his amazing “Things We Love to See” report.
Today, I’m going to give you three more names currently in Marlins farm that you should get a chance to see this year.
Stats updated entering July 22
Austin Dean, OF (Triple-A New Orleans)
Dean has now been a bit of a conundrum in the Marlins organization. Drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 draft out of high school, he stalled at Double-A Jacksonville for the past few seasons.
Showing tremendous ability to put the bat on the ball recently (11.4% strikeout rate Double-A/Triple-A combined in 2018) and slashing .357/.416/.530 in his last 325 plate appearances, it appears his time is near. Dean has gained confidence in all aspects of his game by seeing his game translate to the Pacific Coast League since a late-April promotion.
With Lewis Brinson currently on the DL and a lack of true outfielders on the Marlins roster, we could be seeing Austin Dean very soon.
Zac Gallen, RHP (Triple-A New Orleans)
Now Gallen is a kid I just don’t think gets the kind of love he deserves. Acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals in the Marcell Ozuna trade last year, Zac Gallen is a complete pitcher. While he isn’t going to throw 100mph, he’s commands a fastball that he turns into three different pitches—a four-seam fastball that I’ve witnessed touch 95, plus a cutter and two-seamer that are dotting corners. His secondary stuff might be move impressive featuring a curveball, changeup and in my opinion his best pitch, a slider. All three being able to find the zone and produce strikes.
After three years at the University of North Carolina with two Cape Cod league appearances, Gallen was poised to fly through the minors, and that’s certainly what he’s done. Since being drafted in 2016, he’s advanced from Rookie ball to Triple-A in 47 starts. That’s impressive in its own right, along with a modest 3.22 ERA and 0.72 HR/9. His abilities to control himself and the game while only being 22 years old offers the Marlins a lot of upside.
The opinions of most experts say he’s a fourth starter at best, but I believe he could come into that clubhouse tomorrow and be a multi-inning reliever out of bullpen. If he continues to perform at a high level in New Orleans, don’t be surprised to see the name “Gallen” getting outs in Marlins Park.
Jose Quijada, LHP (Triple-A New Orleans)
If Quijada has been sneaking under your radar, you’re not alone. Signed out of Venezuela as an international free agent in 2014, Quijada is a stocky 6-foot-1 lefty who has just been lights out since being signed. In 123 games as a reliever, he’s posted a 1.08 WHIP and 10.2 K/9, proving to be far more than the lefty specialist that many scouts projected.
After being lights out to start the 2018 season for Jacksonville, he earned his way to an All-Star Game appearance and his first taste of Triple-A ball. While it’s been a bit of a struggle since the promotion, Quijada is still maintaining a 13.5 K/9(!) while getting groundouts over 32% of the time. The ERA being a little higher then you’d like right, but his FIP is 2.75, which accounts for performance over luck. It’s been a hell of breakout for my sleeper on this list, and Jose Quijada has gained my attention.
What a difference a year makes. The once-barren farm is now full of quality ballplayers. The future might be now for these three prospects, if not following the July 31 trade deadline, then most likely when MLB active rosters expand in September.