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Top Marlins prospects making up for lost time in Florida Instructional League

The next waves of potential homegrown Marlins stars are getting much-needed development time in Jupiter.

Miami Marlins Summer Workouts Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

While the major league Marlins continue their improbable pursuit of the franchise’s third World Series title, many of the most talented young players in the organization have assembled in Jupiter, Florida, for five-plus weeks of development. Instructional camp is held at the complex annually at this point on the calendar, but in the absence of Minor League Baseball and the Arizona Fall League in 2020, the initiative has been expanded and rebranded.

Here are all of the players on the Marlins’ initial Florida Instructional League roster:

There’s roughly a 2-to-1 ratio between players (45) and staff (23).

The MLB Players’ Association will not allow players on major league 40-man rosters to participate, The Athletic reports.

Despite the inconvenience of COVID-19, it’s been a busy year for outfielder JJ Bleday. The 2019 former first-round draft pick participated in the Grapefruit League way back in February/March and spent the whole summer honing his craft at the Marlins’ alternate training site. Catchers Will Banfield and Nick Fortes, left-hander Dax Fulton, right-hander Max Meyer and outfielder Connor Scott are also sticking around for instructs after getting some alternate training site reps.

Five of Miami’s six MLB Draft picks are present (with the exception of right-hander Kyle Hurt). Highly touted 2019-20 international free agent signings José Salas, Junior Sánchez, Ian Lewis and Eury Pérez have been included. Like the draftees, they don’t have any official minor league game experience yet. Salas (17) is the youngest player in camp while catcher Santiago Chávez is the oldest (25).

Some other notables from a statistical perspective:

  • OF Griffin Conine—Acquired on trade deadline day in exchange for Jonathan Villar, Jeff Conine’s son had a strong 2019 campaign in the Low-A Midwest League (.283/.371/.576, 22 HR, 169 wRC+ in 348 PA). However, he did serve a 50-game suspension for use of a banned substance. The Marlins will attempt to shorten his swing to make Conine a viable big leaguer, as our own Spencer Morris explains.
  • 3B Nic Ready—The Air Force grad was an extra-base hit machine during his pro debut last summer in Batavia (.263/.311/.508, 10 HR, 140 wRC+ in 289 PA). Outside of lifting dead hogs, we aren’t entirely sure what he’s been up to so far in 2020. The Instructional League roster lists Ready as a third baseman, though the 239-pounder seems destined for first base/designated hitter as he ascends the player development ladder.
  • SS Angeudis Santos—Santos had a zany age-17 season in the Dominican Summer League, performing as a below-average hitter overall despite walking in one-quarter of his plate appearances. The Marlins were intrigued enough to accept him as compensation from the Red Sox in the Austin Brice trade.

Marlins prospects are scheduled to play Washington Nationals prospects 12 times this month, beginning Oct. 6. Fish Stripes hopes to attend several of those exhibitions.

At the very least, the intrasquad highlights are rolling in via Instagram. Here is some quality contact from outfielder Víctor Mesa Jr. against right-hander Chris Mokma:

Courtesy of Víctor Mesa Jr.

Enjoy another smooth left-handed swing courtesy of outfielder Diowill Burgos:

Courtesy of Diowill Burgos

More updates to come at fishstripes.com/prospects.