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Who is next? (May 2019 edition)

A farm system already loaded in the starting pitching department is now seeing positive strides from several up-the-middle bats.

Via Minor League Baseball

“Who is next?” continues to provide updates on Marlins prospects whose big league promotions may be on the horizon. Particularly for a fanbase in a rebuild, these monthly articles provide a glimpse of where the hope for the future lies.

Prospects are divided into three groups, each including one pitcher and one position player—and several honorable mentions—who fit the following descriptions:

Almost here—Prospects who fans can comfortably anticipate seeing at Marlins Park within this season.

More time needed—Prospects who have a chance at getting a call-up within the campaign, but are more likely to be 2020 promotions.

Past the horizon—Prospects who are unlikely to get promoted this year, but remain worth monitoring due to performance or roster variables.

Almost Here

An “honorable mention” in last month’s article, Harold Ramírez was recently called up and is showing early signs of belonging. Who makes the cut this month?

SP Zac Gallen (8 GS, 54.1 IP, 1.16 ERA, 64 K, 9 BB, and 0.55 WHIP)

We begin with a repeat selection, as Gallen has continued his elite level of performance in the Marlins farm system and deserves the praise. Posting those numbers in the notoriously hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League is simply unbelievable. The only things keeping Gallen away are the health of the Marlins starting staff and a currently full 40-man roster.

Look for Gallen to be the first man up when needed.

OF Monte Harrison (.295/.376/.482, 6 HR, 12 XBH, 16 SB, 30.9 K%, and 10.0 BB%)

Harrison’s start to his 2019 campaign is exactly what many fans and scouts were hopeful of following his offseason adjustments at the plate. Aside from a sub-par strikeout rate, Harrison has become one of the more complete hitters in the minor leagues. He has shown impressive power, an incredible ability to barrel the baseball, electric baserunning, an above-average walk rate, and has continued playing elite defense in CF.

Similar to Gallen, this “version” of Monte Harrison is who the Marlins internally thought they were acquiring from Milwaukee. For some skeptics, the strides have come later than expected, but in Triple-A at age 23, he is right on time with his developmental path.

Harrison is already on the 40-man roster, and should be a candidate for a call-up prior to the end of this year.

Honorable Mentions: OF Lewis Brinson*, SS/CF JT Riddle*, OF/1B Austin Dean*, 2B Isan Díaz, P Jeff Brigham, P Jordan Milbrath, P Elieser Hernandez*

*Graduated from prospect eligibility

More Time Needed

SP Jordan Yamamoto (43 IP, 3.98 ERA, 41 K, 18 BB, and 1.16 WHIP)

The figurative “fourth piece” in the Christian Yelich trade, Yamamoto shined as the hidden gem of Miami’s farm system in 2018 (1.83 ERA in 68.2 IP across three MiLB levels). He has followed that up with somewhat mixed results at Double-A. However, the undersized right-hander is trending up with three consecutive quality starts (18 IP, 6 H, 4 BB, 16 K), beginning to resemble his 2018 form.

Yamamoto is in line for a midseason promotion to Triple-A; with a loaded supply of pitching ahead of him, it allows the newly turned 23 year-old (Happy Birthday) to not be rushed. A September call-up candidate, “Yams” is someone to closely monitor throughout the year.

INF Justin Twine (.283/.331/.384, 9 XBH, 4 SB, 24.5 K%, and 5.3 BB%)

Drafted in the same 2014 class as Brian Anderson, Twine (23) is often overlooked when discussing Marlins prospects. For years in the low minors, he showed limited potential at the plate, but in 2018, his promotion to Double-A Jacksonville unlocked the best version of himself. Since then, Twine has slashed .336/.376/.468, with 19 extra-base hits and 37 RBI (55 games).

Twine needs to continue showing his ability in order to merit consideration for an eventual major league opportunity. Health continues to be a big question—he hasn’t topped 100 games in a single season since 2015. That being said, in an organization with limited upper-level talent in the infield (Isan Díaz), it is a welcome sight to see Twine settling in.

Honorable Mentions: OF Brian Miller, OF Victor Victor Mesa, 1B, Lazaro Alonso, SP Jorge Guzman, SP Robert Dugger

Past the Horizon

SP Edward Cabrera (6 G, 29.0 IP, 2.17 ERA, 42 K, 9 BB, and 0.86 WHIP)

Cabrera allowed four runs in his High-A debut on Apr. 5 and three more on Friday night...and nothing in between. His 28-inning scoreless streak was the longest by any pitcher in the Marlins organization this season.

With improved command of his electric pitching repertoire, it’s time to begin discussing Cabrera as arguably the top arm in the Marlins system outside of Sixto Sánchez.

Overall, the Marlins have a staggering fifteen (15) minor league starters with a sub-4 ERA, 12 of them sporting an ERA lower than 3.30. For those still asking why to feel hopeful about the rebuild, look no further than the embarrassment of pitching riches.

SS José Devers (.342/.405/.386, 39 H, 4 SB, 13.5 K%, and 6.3 BB%)

The 19-year-old phenom was a bonus selection in our first installment of “who is next” but is more than deserving of his own slot this month. Since returning from his brief 7-day IL stint mid-April, Devers has improved his slash and BB/K compared to his already-great production.

Devers’ age and slight frame will require one to two years of maturing and development before making the leap to Marlins Park. But one thing is becoming clear: Devers is developing into a top-tier prospect. Not bad for a player pegged by trolls as a worthless “peanut/bag of baseballs” when initially acquired in the Stanton deal.

Honorable Mentions: INF Bubba Hollins, C Will Banfield, SS Demetrius Sims, OF Jerar Encarnacion, SP Sixto Sánchez, SP Braxton Garrett, SP Chris Vallimont, and SP Jordan Holloway (and basically every pitcher in the minor league system below the age of 23).