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Batavia, GCL and DSL Marlins off to hot starts

The three short-season Marlins minor league affiliates have a combined 36-21 record thus far. This suggests that—beyond the established top prospects—even more help is on the way for Miami.

Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

When it comes to minor league coverage for the Miami Marlins concerning the future of the franchise, almost all of the attention focuses on Triple-A New Orleans, Double-A Jacksonville, High-A Jupiter, and Low-A Clinton. This is understandable—almost all of Miami’s most exciting and most developed prospects play for one of these squads, and they will impact the major league level the soonest.

The Baby Cakes (48-39) and the LumberKings (42-41) have performed well this season, while the Jumbo Shrimp (38-47) and the Hammerheads (29-50) both have a mountain to climb to have a playoff berth in 2019. While overall record does not mean much in the minors considering that the best players at any given level are consistently promoted, a strong overall winning percentage signifies a talented and deep farm system.

With that in mind, the Marlins seemingly have a bright future ahead of them, especially when looking at the affiliates on the lowest rungs on the development ladder.

The Batavia Muckdogs, GCL Marlins, and DSL Marlins are all off to their best starts in the Miami Marlins era (i.e. since 2012).

Led by 2019 MLB Draft picks J.D. Orr (10th round) and Nic Ready (23rd round), who have hit .392 and .343, respectively, the Muckdogs are sitting at 12-7 and lead their division in the New York-Penn League. Milton Smith II also deserves a shout-out as he has racked up 21 hits and collected 23 total bases, which are both second on the team to Ready, as the 2018 22nd round pick continues to display a high contact rate in his second season in the minors. On the pitching side, 2016 sixth-rounder Remey Reed has a 1.23 ERA over four starts.

For the 7-2 GCL Marlins, Nasim Nuñez, drafted in the second round last month primarily for his defense, has been seeing the ball well, as evident by his .323/.421/.387 slash line, as has Ynmanol Marinez (batting .313 over five games), Miami’s top international signing in 2017. Sample size and level of competition aside, Victor Mesa Jr. has made a better start to his baseball career in America than his older brother, Victor Victor Mesa, and some scouts are still saying that he may be the better offensive player out of the two in the long run.

The DSL Marlins have been consistently getting big hits from a number of players up and down the lineup on their way to a 17-12 record Outfielder Jandel Paulino (1.004 OPS) and catcher Arquimedes Cumana (18 RBIs) are leading the way. Josan Mendez has been setting the standard on the mound, with a 1.57 ERA over 23 innings, which includes three starts and three saves.

Aside from Mesa and Marinez, none of the other players have appeared on Miami’s Top 30 Prospects list (MLB Pipeline), but they are all flashing potential which will have the player development staff rubbing their hands together in delight.

Miami’s minor league affiliates have a combined winning percentage of .494 entering play on Friday, a noteworthy increase from the .465 mark posted a year ago, which was 26th among MLB franchises. A significant chunk of that is due to how well the Batavia Muckdogs, GCL Marlins, and DSL Marlins are playing right now. Hopefully their great individual numbers translate to higher levels of competition as they gradually earn promotions later in the season.

We are talking about players who may not reach the big leagues for a number of years, if at all, but they are all an important part of the plan which is designed to return Miami to prominence.