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Marlins links, 8/31/18: September call-ups, Stanton gets No. 300, Austin Dean interview, 2018 AFL

Latest Marlins news and notes heading into their Labor Day weekend matchup with the Blue Jays.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Roster expansion predictions

Aram and I spent a few minutes discussing possible Marlins September call-ups on the latest Fish Bites episode, but I wanted to just lay out all the names in one place.

Locks: RHP Sandy Alcántara, RHP Jeff Brigham, OF Lewis Brinson, C Chad Wallach

Likely thanks to existing 40-man spots: OF Christopher Bostick, LHP Dillon Peters, RHP Nick Wittgren

Others in conversation: RHP Tyler Cloyd, RHP Jumbo Diaz, RHP Zac Gallen, IF Peter Mooney, RHP Merandy Gonzalez (currently on minor league DL), OF Braxton Lee (terrible .589 OPS in minors this season), LHP Dylan Lee (dominant, but not on 40-man), RHP Nick Neidert (ditto), OF/1B Peter O’Brien (ditto)

Big milestone for Big G

MLB: Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Giancarlo Stanton took one deep to Yankee Stadium’s short right-field porch for his 300th career home run. It took 1,119 games, making him the fifth-quickest to the milestone in MLB history.

Just for the occasion, here’s a collection of homer highlights from his Marlins years.

What to make of Mags?

MLB: Washington Nationals at Miami Marlins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

A thorough and fun analysis of the 22-year-old outfielder, who’s had the opportunity to make an impression during Brinson’s injury absence and failed to take advantage of it.

Magneuris Sierra has racked up 91 plate appearances, most of them batting directly in front of the pitcher’s spot, but he’s still unable to draw a walk. Zero! Mitch finds it mind-boggling, too, and offers this analogy:

I remember back in high school, there would always be one person who failed a class. Among hallway gossip, we would always ask, “How did [so and so] fail that class?” We would say, “You have to actually try to get an F in a class.” It was like an unspoken understanding between students and teachers; if a replacement-level student went to class, played on his phone every day, never did his homework, but still gave an earnest effort on an exam, he could probably only muster a C or D, but there was still no way he could fail. For someone to actually fail an exam, they had to try.

Swings and Mishes, Episode 2

Austin Dean made for a fun guest in this interview with Craig Mish and Jeremy Taché of the Five Reasons Sports Network. Dean describes the complicated relationship with his father, the emotional moment when Triple-A coaches told him he’d be going up to the majors, and how he became such a good piano player.

The rookie outfielder is batting .222/.271/.467 since debuting August 15. His three home runs since then are tied for the team lead.

Minor league scoreboard

Triple-A: Nashville 4, New Orleans 5

Double-A: Mississippi 4, Jacksonville 3 in Game 1; Mississippi 1, Jacksonville 0 in Game 2

High-A: Clearwater 3, Jupiter 4

Low-A: Lakewood 11, Greensboro 3

Short Season A: Batavia 1, Mahoning Valley 2 in Game 1; Batavia 1, Mahoning Valley 0 in Game 2

Thursday’s box scores courtesy of

State of baseball in Batavia

Amid severe financial struggles, the Batavia Muckdogs (Marlins NY-Penn League affiliate) hired Dave Chase to be their general manager last winter. There were no assurances that he’d be able to keep the affiliate from relocating, but at least for 2019, Chase insists the Muckdogs will stay where they are (h/t Howard B. Owens, The Batavian).

The consensus from Chase, field manager Mike Jacobs and Muckdogs players is that field conditions have improved dramatically. Credit the team and city for investing in renovations because previously, Dwyer Stadium seemed unfit for professional baseball.

Personally, I feel it’s premature to look toward next year. Home attendance has dropped (again) from an average of 806 fans in 2017 to 795 fans in 2018. Upon internal review, Muckdogs management might be disappointed in their bottom line.

More damningly, the Marlins organization continues to steer top prospects away from Batavia. For example, high school draft picks Connor Scott, Osiris Johnson and Will Banfield all made the unorthodox leap to full-season ball earlier this month. It’s extremely inefficient to run a farm system if there’s an affiliate you distrust.

Arizona Fall League roster

Minor League Baseball: Southern League-All Star Game
Monte Harrison is regarded as the Marlins top prospect.
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

The six-man delegation heading to the desert in October includes OF Monte Harrison, OF Brian Miller, RHP Jordan Yamamoto, IF Bryson Brigman, RHP Tommy Eveld and RHP Chad Smith. Harrison (No. 1), Miller (No. 11), Yamamoto (No. 16) and Brigman (No. 26) are ranked among the top Marlins prospects by MLB Pipeline. They will compete on the Salt River Rafters alongside players sent from several other MLB teams.

Harrison and Eveld, in particular, should become major leaguers at some point in 2019. Succeeding in the AFL would accelerate their timeline.