It has been a hectic couple of weeks for me but I am finally settled and ready to get back to writing. As usual there were plenty of exciting things going on with Marlins prospects, so let’s get caught up on what’s been going on since I last wrote.
Trevor Richards and Pablo Lopez Continue to Impress
This pair of Marlins pitching prospects earned their chance on the biggest stage with great performances on the farm this year, and have continued to pitch well in the show over the past couple weeks.
Last week in Philly, the pair of youngsters pitched back-to-back nights for the Marlins and both were very impressive. Richards went five innings allowing only four hits and one run with seven strikeouts, but fell victim to a quiet night at the plate from the Marlins and ended up taking the loss. Richards’ changeup has shown to be an elite pitch and has helped to really improve his strikeout numbers, racking up 21 Ks in his last three starts.
López pitched the night before and went six innings allowing only five hits and one run on a homer. Lopez didn’t walk a soul and struck out five, but took a no decision due to a walk-off homer allowed by Kyle Barraclough in the 9th. Both Richards and López continue to prove they can pitch and do well at the major league level, earning themselves a spot in the starting rotation for the rest of the year.
Trevor Richards, Disgusting Changeups. pic.twitter.com/UkmlAKddAu— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 4, 2018
New Orleans Baby Cakes
Isan Diaz is Shining in AAA
We’ve talked a lot about how Diaz was one of the hottest hitters in AA after coming off the DL in June, which earned him the promotion to AAA a little over two weeks ago. In 15 games since Diaz has continued to impress and showed that not only can he hit, he can draw walks and slug as well with a tremendous .294/.400/.627 slash line in his first 15 games. He has nine extra base hits (3 doubles, 4 triples, 2 homers) since his promotion, including his last two games in which he’s 6-9 (nice) with a homer five RBI three walks and only one strikeout. Diaz continues to shine in the Marlins system and is well on his way to making an appearance with the big squad in September.
That's breaking though at the plate. #Marlins No. 8 prospect Isan Diaz (@diaz_isan) homered, tripled twice and collected five RBIs for @cakesbaseball. https://t.co/68VyCRmAyh pic.twitter.com/r4UH78CTeE— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) August 5, 2018
Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp
Monte Harrison is Finally Striking Out Less
Harrison’s struggles with the strikeout have been well documented all year, but he has slowly made improvements, especially within the past couple weeks. Harrison has only struck out three or more times twice since July 12, and since July 19 has struck out twice in a game only three times. Harrison has his K% down to 36.6 and while obviously this still isn’t good, it’s much better than the nearly 40% rate he was flirting with around the time of the All-Star break. These small strides bode well for Harrison going forward as he has been a guy in the past that’s shown he can adjust to new pitching and bring the strikeouts down. It would be awesome to see Harrison finish out the season with a K% at or below 35 considering where he started the year.
Nick Neidert May be the Marlins Best Pitching Prospect
I’m beginning to run out of things to say about Neidert because he continues to pitch so damn well. When the new Top 30 was released for the Marlins he found himself at #3, and has started to pop up on the fringe of Top 100 lists on multiple different scouting websites. In his two starts since I last wrote Neidert has gone a combined 14.2 innings allowing 10 hits, three runs, two walks and piling up 18 strikeouts, including his 8-inning, 13-strikeout performance last time out.
There’s no reason we shouldn’t see Neidert crack the big league roster when it expands in September, and a strong finish and good spring very well could mean a spot on the Opening Day roster in 2019.
Sandy Alcántara Moves from Rehab to Refining
Alcántara (armpit infection) made three rehab starts with Jupiter and pitched into the 5th the last two outings, but the peripherals numbers were uninspiring. After throwing a bullpen session in Miami on Monday afternoon, the team decided to option him to Triple-A.
Marlins Manager Don Mattingly said Alcantara needs to work on his fastball command in New Orleans. Seems to be the underlying factor in his optioning.— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) August 6, 2018
Expect Alcántara back in the bigs next month, or perhaps sooner if somebody in the Marlins rotation suffers an injury.
Jose Devers Gets Promoted
In the process of writing this article, we received some great news out of Jupiter: shortstop Jose Devers (recently named as the Marlins #12 Prospect) has been promoted from Greensboro. The 18-year-old hit .273 for Greensboro this year and has been one of the fastest risers in the Marlins system. He gets the start tonight for Jupiter in a game where Jorge Guzman takes the mound, so definitely look for that on Things We Love to See tomorrow. Congrats to Jose and his whole family.
Trevor Rogers Gets Better Every Start He Makes
I’ve never reversed a stance on a player as quickly as I have with Rogers, so much so that I’m planning a focus piece on him coming soon ( ). He gives me good reason to do so also, especially when he goes 7.2 IP before allowing a singular hit and strikes out 12 like he did in his second-to-last start.
His last time out was cut short after just 3 IP because of what I believe was a pitch limit he reached (there is a rule in the lower levels that if a pitcher throws 30 pitches in an inning they are pulled automatically) because we haven’t heard any news about an injury from Greensboro. He was still solid in the start even though it was cut short, so it should not be considered too much of a setback.
Christopher Torres Can’t Stop Hitting and Tristan Pompey Can’t Stop Drawing Walks
Two of the more intriguing middle-of-the-pack guys in the Marlins Top 30 have really shined at the plate since their relative promotions to Greensboro. Torres was a guy that was supposed to trend towards a glove-first guy at shortstop, but he’s hitting .440 in his first seven games with Greensboro which comes after hitting .348 with a .429 on-base % in Batavia. His numbers at the plate have made him an incredibly intriguing prospect going forward for the Marlins.
Pompey, on the other hand, is doing his work with his eyes. Yes, Pompey does have a .314 batting average, but look at his last 3 games: he hasn’t recorded a hit but he’s walked four times and only struck out once, raising his OBP to .422 which is tremendous for a rookie. His fast start makes him a guy that could tear through the Marlins system, because he could very well see some time in Jupiter towards the end of the year. The start these guys have had to their Marlins careers are without a doubt things we absolutely LOVE to see.
Connor Scott and Will Banfield Off to Solid Starts
The Marlins rookies have been shining in the GCL lately, but let’s start with their first rounder Connor Scott. Scott struggled real hard early but has been working out the kinks at the plate recently. Over the last 28 days, Scott has hit .250 with a .337 OBP and has added four triples and 11 walks. While these numbers are pretty average, they are much improved from when we saw Scott hitting below .100 to start his career. It also shows that Scott is making adjustments to pro pitching and has been able to work things out at the plate which bodes well for him going forward. Banfield has already proven that he is an elite prospect defensively behind the plate in his short time as a pro, which at the very least proves he can be at least a serviceable major league player i.e. Jeff Mathis. The thing that will turn Banfield from a good prospect to a great one is how he performs at the plate in his minor league career. He’s off to a .253 start which is solid, and has shown the ability to drive the baseball and put together multi-hit games. He’s going to do have to do it more consistently, but he’s definitely shown us some things we love to see recently.
Osiris Johnson May Have the Highest Ceiling in the System
Osiris Johnson will not be legally considered an adult until October 18th but he has already shown he can be an elite prospect one day. Johnson is hitting .301 in his pro-ball debut at just SEVENTEEN years old and already has 11 extra base hits, 13 RBI, and seven stolen bases. Over the last week Johnson is hitting .400/.478/.650 including five of his eight doubles on the season. He has insane bat speed which allows him to drive the baseball and hit for great power, his slugging % sits at .447 on the year, and makes him an incredibly intriguing prospect at the plate. The start he is off to has caught the eyes of many and has them thinking he could develop into one of the best prospects the Marlins have.
Osiris Johnson is getting more comfortable and letting his talent take over. Hitting .291 in the GCL now, Johnson's second hit of the game is a blistered double over the centerfielder with over 100 mph exit velo. He is 17 years old #Marlins pic.twitter.com/kdMGyXzIEv— JT Baseball Scouting (@JTScouting) July 31, 2018