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Does Joe Frisaro have a good eye?

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The longtime Marlins beat reporter frequently highlights young players with a signature phrase. Can his judgement be trusted?

There have been few constants about the Marlins franchise through the years. Owners change, baseball executives change, players change, stadiums change, color schemes change...but Joe Frisaro doesn’t! He’s been on the beat for MLB.com since 2002, making connections with industry evaluators and honing his own eye impact talent. Frisaro is not shy about letting the world know—and by “the world,” I mean his 21,000 Twitter followers—when he thinks highly of a particular Miami player.

But how often do Frisaro’s favorites pan out?

My methodology revolves around one of his most frequently used phrases: “keep an eye on...” When Frisaro tweets that, it’s typically followed by the names of player(s) within the Marlins organization who have intriguing potential but little to no major league experience.

These examples date back to the arrival of Derek Jeter as Marlins CEO following the 2017 MLB regular season.


Right-hander Jordan Yamamoto was universally considered the least significant prospect that the Marlins received in the Christian Yelich trade package. Underwhelming size and fastball velocity, mixed minor league results while in the Brewers system.

But instead of writing off Yamamoto as a “throw-in” piece, Frisaro left the door open for him to contribute. Fast-forward to 2020, the Hawaiian starter is coming off a solid half-season in the Marlins rotation (4.46 ERA/4.51 FIP/4.89 xFIP in 78.2 IP).

Pablo López used to have some of the same red flags as Yamamoto in terms of quality stuff and durability. Then he showed up for 2018 Spring Training with some extra sauce on his heater and shot up the MiLB ladder from there.

Health permitting, López is poised for a breakout year in the Fish rotation.

The Jeffrey Loria regime seldom made investments in international amateur free agency, but props to them for landing Edward Cabrera out of the Dominican Republic. He was moved up to full-season ball after the ownership transition and has since entered the conversation for top arm in the entire farm system.

Frisaro was casting a wide net here by dropping four names in a single tweet.

Both Isan Díaz and Monte Harrison had uneven performances with Double-A Jacksonville, then boosted their prospect stock last season. You’ll be seeing plenty of them on the 2020 Marlins. Right-hander Merandy Gonzalez made his final, underwhelming stand as a possible starter in 2018 and is questionable to make it back to the majors in any capacity. Things look promising for Nick Neidert, who possesses a filthy changeup and pinpoint command.

Big swing and a miss on John Silviano. Released by the organization in June 2019, he has since signed on to play independent ball.

Within a year of this tweet, Esmerling De La Rosa hung up his cleats and entered the coaching ranks. He is on the staff at Triple-A Wichita for this upcoming season.

Frisaro hopped on the Jerar Encarnación bandwagon long before you and I did. Still too soon to take a victory lap, but the powerful outfielder is clearly trending up:

Elite power and arm strength.

Through parts of two seasons, Will Banfield has demonstrated a knack for blocking errant pitches while throwing out nearly 43% of would-be base-stealers. He’s also been given aggressive assignments that expose his offensive flaws (career .209/.266/.328, 12 HR in 579 PA). Overall, though, the most promising catcher in the Marlins pipeline.

Through July 4, 2018, Walner Espinal owned an extraordinary .422/.481/.600 slash line in the Gulf Coast League. Since then? A sub-.600 OPS.

As anticipated, Jeff Brigham was indeed a call-up in September 2018. He faltered in his brief audition for a rotation spot and is now viewed strictly as a ‘pen option. Lots to like about his fastball and slider.

The jury is still out on Jordan Holloway. His dominant pure stuff can only carry him so far if he continues falling behind in the count.

José Quijada had ample opportunities to prove his worth in a shaky 2019 Marlins bullpen. Instead, he allowed more than 20 percent of his total batters faced to reach base safely on walks and hit by pitches. The Angels claimed Quijada off waivers after he was designated for assignment.

Garrett Cooper edged out Peter O’Brien for a 2019 Opening Day roster spot and emerged as the superior all-around player. Useful as he was for long stretches, the Marlins’ offseason acquisitions of several veteran position players suggest that they’re skeptical of Cooper sticking in an everyday role.

This is cheating a little bit here, hyping up Nick Anderson once the regular season was already underway. Safe to say, Anderson’s ascension to untouchable high-leverage weapon surpassed even Frisaro’s expectations (and everybody else’s).

Harold Ramirez broke through to The Show shortly afterwards and raked immediately. Good call, Joe.


All in all, Joe Frisaro has a high hit rate!

Buckle up for his 2020 edition of “keep an eye on...”