The most talked-about Marlins prospect on this date in 2019, outfielder Víctor Víctor Mesa saw his prospect stock crater following his first season in Minor League Baseball. By weighted runs created-plus (where 100 represents league average), he was the worst qualified batter in Miami’s farm system at 59 wRC+. Including his stint in the Arizona Fall League, Mesa competed in 133 official games last year with zero home runs to show for it. His speed, arm strength and overall instincts are major league-ready, but the inability to make quality contact overshadows all of that.
Of course, we would be foolish to give up on a 23-year-old who excelled in Cuba’s top professional league. The entire trajectory of a player’s career can turn around quickly with the right advice and the willingness to take it to heart and implement it.
Just like last January, Mesa is in Jupiter at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex participating in Marlins hitter’s camp. Fish Stripes has compared the footage of Mesa’s swing—2019 on the left, 2020 on the right—and spotted several mechanical adjustments:
The “load” has changed—Mesa now keeps his hands and bat closer to his body rather than having them lag behind him. Last year, he used a toe tap. That has been replaced by a moderate leg kick.
There were hints of a modified swing during the televised AFL Championship Game (his first at-bat begins at the 21-minute mark), but the hitter’s camp footage confirms it.
Víctor Víctor, the consensus top prospect during the 2018-19 international signing period, officially arrived in Miami in Oct. 2018 and received a $5.25 million bonus. Since then, the acquisitions of fellow outfielders JJ Bleday, Jesús Sánchez and Kameron Misner have taken some of the pressure off him to be the franchise’s “Cuban savior.” Even younger brother Víctor Mesa Jr. ($1 million bonus) impressed in his rookie league debut. However, the Marlins need as much depth as possible at the position.
Mesa spent the final month of the 2019 MiLB season at Double-A Jacksonville, slashing .178/.200/.196 (12 wRC+). He is expected to return there in April as the Jumbo Shrimp’s semi-regular center fielder. Hopefully, his prior experience and new mechanics will translate to better results.