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Marlins Park hosts instructional league game between Marlins and Nationals top prospects

In all seriousness, this was more important than the major league game played between these teams in DC.

Photo by @FlaSmitty/Twitter

Marlins Park isn’t hosting any more MLB games in 2018, but the club is getting plenty of use out of the venue this week. It’s open on Saturday to prospective season ticket-holders, and on Wednesday afternoon, Marlins and Nationals prospects brought their instructional league matchup down to Miami.

Both rosters are stacked with future big leaguers, many of whom saw action during the 1:10 p.m. game.

Representing Fish Stripes, Ian Smith was in the building through it all (the event was not open to the public).

Why did the Marlins set this up in the first place? Let Gary Denbo, VP of player development and scouting, explain:

“It’s important for us from a player development perspective to get these guys out here, get comfortable with where you come in the gate, where you go to get to the clubhouse, the feel of the dugout, the feel of the mound and the batter’s box, how you see the ball here and all those things. A lot of these guys over the next couple years will be playing here for the first time for real, and we feel like this is a good experience for them and it’s good for their development.”

Early-round draft picks Connor Scott (foot) and Will Banfield (toe) were kept out of the starting lineup as a precaution, according to Andre Fernandez of The Athletic. (Scott entered in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter.) Tristan Pompey also had his mind on the future:

They still went through pre-game warmups:

And addressed the media:

Some additional news from Denbo (h/t Craig Mish, SiriusXM):

Monte Harrison and Isan Diaz spent most of this past summer as teammates with Double-A Jacksonville. Diaz earned a promotion to Triple-A New Orleans for his final 36 games, while Harrison battled swing-and-miss issues. Neither is participating in instructionals.

Regardless of where Harrison and Diaz are developmentally on Opening Day, it would be prudent for the Marlins to send them to the minors, delaying the clock on their MLB service time.

Now, let’s get to the game itself! The Marlins starting lineup included five of the organization’s top 30 prospects (per MLB Pipeline):

1) DH Jose Devers

2) 2B Christopher Torres

3) 3B James Nelson

4) 1B Sean Reynolds

5) CF Thomas Jones

6) SS Marcos Rivera

7) LF Corey Bird

8) C Nick Fortes

9) RF Davis Bradshaw

P Jorge Guzman

The 22-year-old Guzman impressed the scouts in attendance with three perfect innings. Somebody who struggled with control during much of the regular season (64 BB in 96.0 IP at High-A Jupiter), he had no such issues against the Nats.

Guzman’s final line: 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 34 pitches/23 strikes

The Marlins jumped in front 1-0 on a defensive miscue. Washington answered back with a run against right-hander Brady Puckett in the top of the fourth. Despite a few opportunities with runners on base, neither team tacked on from there. The game ended in a 1-1 tie after 10 innings.

Here’s the Marlins’ remaining instructional league schedule. Home games will be at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium in Jupiter (open to the public):

Marlins 2018 Instructional League Schedule

Date Time Opponent
Date Time Opponent
Sept. 27 1:00 p.m. vs. Astros
Sept. 29 10:00 a.m. at Nationals
Oct. 2 12:00 p.m. vs. Nationals
Marlins Communications