Marlins to Extend Mattingly
Hot off the presses last night was the news that the Marlins are extending manager Don Mattingly for at least two more seasons. Mattingly is already the longest-tenured manager in franchise history as he wraps up his fourth full year on the job. While financial details are yet to emerge regarding the contract (more is set to be revealed in a press conference today), it seems as though the front office is happy with the progress that is being made despite the overall win-loss record.
RT if you’re happy about 2 more years of THIS pic.twitter.com/kCZ0FobXqK— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) September 20, 2019
This is sure to be a hotly debated topic here at Fish Stripes over the coming days given the skipper’s sometimes questionable strategies and game management decisions.
Prospects of the Year
MLB Pipeline has announced its picks for Marlins prospects of the year, both at the plate and on the mound. Seeing Isan Díaz's name should not be a surprise—the second baseman hit .305 at Triple-A with 26 homers and 70 RBIs before being promoted to the majors on August 5. Edward Cabrera was chosen on the pitching side after posting a 2.23 ERA with 116 strikeouts over 96 2⁄3 innings at High-A and Double-A. The 21-year-old Dominican was somewhat of a surprising pick considering the success that top prospect Sixto Sánchez enjoyed in 2019, but thoroughly deserving nonetheless.
Strong AFL Starts
The Arizona Fall League began play on Wednesday. The Salt River Rafters dropped their opening game despite strong performances from some of Miami's seven representatives. Nick Neidert, who is grateful for the extra innings after missing most of the regular season through injury, started and struck out three batters over 2 1⁄3 innings, and outfielder Jerar Encarnación homered as part of a 3-for-5 day.
#Marlins Jerar Encarnación crushes one to deep left center. Here’s a look at his first HR of the 2019 @MLBazFallLeague @TheAthleticMIA pic.twitter.com/bgBZEpnE5f— Andre Fernandez (@FernandezAndreC) September 19, 2019
Then on Thursday, the Rafters bounced back with a 4-1 victory. Encarnación went 1-for-3 with a walk while right-hander Alex Vesia struck out the side during his one inning of relief. According to Statcast, Vesia’s fastball topped out at 94.3 miles per hour.
They have yet to make their AFL debuts, but Víctor Víctor Mesa and José Devers each figure to see significant playing time as the season kicks into high gear.
Marlins Park Showcase
The Marlins Instructional League is in full swing for the prospects who did not get assigned to the AFL. They participated in a scrimmage game at Marlins Park this week. Víctor Mesa Jr. impressed with an RBI and a run scored, and Jordan Holloway baffled hitters for two innings, striking out four. Jazz Chisholm and Lewin Díaz—Miami's two big trade deadline acquisitions—both hit doubles, and 2019 draft pick Nasim Nuñez flashed the leather with two defensive gems. These are all names that we could be seeing regularly in Miami if the rebuild continues to move ahead as planned. (In fact, Nuñez is the next guest on the Fish Stripes podcast. Please leave any questions for him in the comments!)
The Marlins begin their final home series of 2019 tonight at 7:10pm ET against the Nationals. Robert Dugger (0-2, 3.95 ERA) will look to earn his first career win in front of the home crowd, but will have to out-pitch Aníbal Sánchez (9-8, 3.86 ERA) to do so.