Let’s check in with the short-season Class A Batavia Muckdogs. So far, the Marlins’ affiliate in the New York-Penn League is at 17-24 through Sunday, good for third place in the Pinckney Division. But to be honest, few Marlins fans care about the results—it’s really all about the maturation of the prospects that may one day land in the majors.
The one Batavia player on the updated MLB Pipeline Top 30 list is Brayan Hernandez, a 20-year-old outfielder from Venezuela who was acquired from Seattle in last year’s David Phelps trade. The 6-foot-2 outfielder is hitting .240 for the year, with a homer and 9 RBI with an OPS of .680, but has doing better lately; in his last ten games, he is hitting .294 with an OPS of .755.
Another Venezuelan making a difference so far is Manuel Rodriguez. In his last 30 2⁄3 innings of work, mostly from the pen, he has an ERA of 0.88 with 7 BB and 29 K.
Staying state-side, the 2017 22nd-round pick J.D. Osborne out of the University of Tampa is slugging his way up the stat sheet. He’s been hitting .333 with an OPS of .866. Meanwhile, the 30th-round pick from 2017 out of St. John’s, Michael Donadio, is hitting .295 and has contributed 4 homers and 20 RBI.
Leading in homers and RBIs, 2016’s 4th-round pick and California prep product Sean Reynolds has 8 homers and 26 RBI, though is only hitting .209. At least the hits are generally crushed.
Also helping on the mound is Oral Roberts righty Bryce Howe, who is continuing his solid year with Low-A Greensboro by sporting a 2.52 ERA with Batavia so far.
For the fifth straight season, attendance at Dwyer Stadium has dipped. The Muckdogs are averaging just 788 fans per home game. Without being able to witness their 2018 season in person, we hope the conditions are more hospitable to players than they used to be.
Short season baseball isn’t glamorous, but it is a place to hone your craft and get reps, particularly for the younger prospects in the Marlins system. Hopefully, upstate New York will serve as a springboard to Miami one day for some of these players.