For much of 2020, COVID-19 brought baseball to a halt for players within the Marlins organization. Some of them are now making up for that lost time. Just like in previous years, Fish Stripes will be consistently updating the whereabouts of your favorite Fish during the offseason. At FishStripes.com/offseason, you can find weekly news, stats, highlights and (small sample size) analysis.
LIDOM (Dominican Republic)
2020-21 season stats
- Lewin Díaz (Estrellas Orientales)—.200/.333/.300, 3 K, 138 wRC+ in 12 PA
- Jesús Sánchez (Toros del Este)—.000/.000/.000, 3 K, -150 wRC+ in 7 PA
- Joe Dunand (Leones del Escogido)—.318/.429/.545, 1 HR, 6 K, 244 wRC+ in 28 PA
Joe Dunand go-ahead HR!— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) November 22, 2020
Good week for him in winter ball pic.twitter.com/EYnCFtPohK
Two of the six Dominican teams, Tigres del Licey and Gigantes del Cibao, have been derailed by positive COVID-19 tests. That has limited them to three and four games played, respectively (the league planned for a 30-game regular season). Marlins prospects José Devers, Jerar Encarnación and Jorge Guzman are all on the Gigantes—none of them have appeared in any games yet.
As you can see above, Sánchez has gotten off to a slow start on the heels of going 1-for-25 at the plate during his Marlins debut. It doesn’t seem like he’ll get the everyday reps to find his groove—former MLB All-Star and fellow right fielder Yasiel Puig is reportedly joining the Toros in the coming weeks.
The bright spot from a Marlins perspective has definitely been Dunand. He’s among the league’s most productive hitters, quite a turnaround from his 11 mediocre games with the 2019-20 Leones. The nephew of Alex Rodriguez (yes, that Alex Rodriguez) is currently the club’s everyday third baseman.
Last week, the Marlins assigned Dunand to their Triple-A roster, protecting him from being snatched away in the Triple-A phase of the upcoming MLB Rule 5 Draft. However, teams can still select him in the regular phase of the draft if they’re sold on his pedigree and LIDOM hot streak. The odds of that happening are slim.
The Caimanes de Barranquilla begin their new campaign on Saturday at estadio Édgar Rentería, a ballpark named after the Colombian shortstop whose Game 7 walk-off single in 1997 clinched the Marlins’ first-ever World Series title.
Outfielder Harold Ramirez is, from what I can tell, the face of their franchise. After a good rookie performance with the 2019 Marlins, he was active for only three games this year due to the virus and a hamstring injury. Catcher Jorge Alfaro is also under contract with the Caimanes, though I have not seen any indications that he’ll be ready for their season opener.
LPB played a 40-game regular season in 2019-20. That’s been shortened to 24 this winter.
Shortstop prospect José Salas could wind up playing his first official professional games in Venezuela, rather than in Minor League Baseball. Highly unconventional, but that’s 2020 in a nutshell.
The switch-hitting 17-year-old has been on the preseason roster for Águilas del Zulia. Their first real game will be Friday. The club also owns the LVBP rights to Marlins right-handers Pablo López and Elieser Hernandez, who won’t be participating this year.
Given his youth and lack of experience, expect sporadic playing time for Salas. Hopefully, he can at least get on the field before next week’s update.
LBPRC (Puerto Rico)
The Puerto Rican Winter League announced Wednesday that their season opener will be Dec. 8. The schedule has been shortened to 18 games.
Left-hander Antonio Velez, who signed with the Marlins in June as an undrafted free agent, is part of the Indios de Mayagüez organization. It’s unclear whether he will make the trip over there under these circumstances, but he previously told Fish Stripes that he wanted to give it a try.